Stephan von Huene
Scanner and Katarina Matiasek
Curated by David Toop, Sonic Boom takes 1990s postâ€“techno, postâ€“rave, postâ€“ambient sound art out of a restrictive club context and liberates it in a gallery environment. The largest group exhibition of sound art ever stages in this country, Sonic Boom fills the Hayward with a series of sound installations in which the visitor encounters the mechanical and the organic, the electronic and the acoustic, the sculptural and the intangible. The exhibition creates both subtle and intense sensory experiences, offering a soundscape for the imagination.Sonic Boom
Disinformation, â€˜chosen to encourage scepticismâ€™, is the name under which the artist Joe Banks makes his electromagnetic noise events, installations and performances. Since 1995 he has been interested in exploring the creative possibilities of noise produced by alternating electric currents from their most primeval forms â€“ lightning strikes â€“ to their most domestic â€“ mains electricity. Artificial Lightning is an installation for five camera flash units, oscillators and a radio. Listening in to the usually electric currents emitted by the flash units, it converts them into a visually and sonically impressive sound field.
Angela Bulloch is an artist known for works which transform aspects of the environment into switching systems, activating music programmes that question many issues, including received notions of authorship and the role of the viewer in the creation of the artwork. For Sonic Boom, she will make a new work based on audioâ€“visual pixellation and the splitting of the spectrums of sound and light.
With Bow Gamelan, Paul Burwell applied his skills as an improvising percussionist to the staging of largeâ€“scale, pyrotechnic events that courted danger. Many of the instruments created for Bow Gamelan performances were inspired by 19th century engineering, creating a sense of surrealist anachronism. For Sonic Boom, the artist is reworking Bow Gamelanâ€™s bicycle driven record player so that it may be operated by visitors to the exhibition. In the digital age, the record player, amplified by a giant horn, seems like a monster of Jurassic Park proportions.
Heri Dono was born in Jakarta, Indonesia in 1960 and now lives in Yogyakarta. Having trained in the Wayang Kulit puppet theatre, he began making automatic machine art and performance art in the 1990s. His work binds together disparate trends of the late 20th century: machines, electronics and information systems, contrasted with the marginalisation of the worldâ€™s poor and an unbreakable belief in the supernatural.
Max Eastley and Thomas KÃ¶ner
Max Eastleyâ€™s mechanised sound sculptures reveal microscopic variations in the complex cycles of machines and nature, their sculptural form, visual effect and soundâ€“making processes closely integrated. For Sonic Boom, as well as showing severally speciallyâ€“constructed sound sculptures, Eastley will collaborate with Thomas KÃ¶ner to make List of Japanese Winds, an installation using large electronic gongs, their sound processed and attenuated, the effect transformed from musical composition into an environment close to colour, smell or changing weather conditions.
Brian Enoâ€™s installation work with video and sound has explored behaviour and perception, creating environments in which the participant can discover alternative ways of absorbing the atmosphere of a place and the subtle changes that take place within it. For Sonic Boom, he is making a new work which will develop his current interest in the potential of what he has termed â€˜quiet clubsâ€™.
Greyworld are a group of Londonâ€“based sound artists whose siteâ€“specific installations invite the participation of their audience. For Sonic Boom they have converted the staircase from Waterloo Bridge to the Hayward Gallery and the ramp leading to the Gallery from the Queen Elisabeth Hall into footâ€“sensitive sound environments, activated as a visitor approaches.
Stephan von Huene
Stephan von Huene is an Americanâ€“born sound artist who moved to Hamburg in 1980. Since the 1960s, he has been working with sound, music and human speech, making machines which often interact with their audience. His Extended Schwitters is a homeâ€“made, hiâ€“tech robot. As a visitor approaches, the robot launches into a version of Kurt Schwittersâ€™ Ursonate, a nonsense poem from the 1920s, specially processed by the artist.
A young Tokyo based musician who collaborates with the Japanese performance group Dumb Type, Ryoji Ikeda has introduced an extreme, minimalistic and palpably physical type of electronic music into the context of techno clubs. His new installation for Sonic Boom, A, is an exercise in pure, intense minimalism using white light and very high frequency sounds generated by sine tones.
Philip Jeckâ€™s Off the Record is a hymn to obsolete technology â€“ a project for a vast number of old record players. Timing them to play at intervals, each record sticking at a chosen groove, Jeck makes a visually impressive display, and a multiâ€“textured sound collage which transforms the familiar into an atmosphere of great emotional force.
Christina Kubisch, a sound artist based in Berlin, makes siteâ€“specific installations which use existing conditions to determine the nature of the work. For Sonic Boom, she will install a forest of electric cables on one of the outside sculpture courts. The cables transmit the sounds of the last acoustic paradises, audible only through magnetic, cableless headphones. The visitor is invited to wear some headphones and mix their own soundscape from a choice including the sounds of the Brazilian rainforest, rare birds, brooks in springtime, waterfalls, crickets, lions, elephants and rare sounds from all over the world.
Chico MacMurtrie is based in San Fransisco. In 1992, he formed his â€˜Anamorphic Robot Worksâ€™, to develop a tribe of distressed, postâ€“apocalyptic, musicâ€“making robots. These the artist exhibits as kinetic sculpture, and they also form the basis for performance and interactive work. His Yoyo is a postâ€“apocalyptic, distressed robot who plays a drum and bows a single string.
For Sonic Boom, Newâ€“York based artist Christian Marclay is making a new video work showing an electric guitar being dragged along behind a pickâ€“up truck. The guitar is tied to a rope and plugged into an amp which is set behind the truck and driven over different terrains on Texas back roads and dirt paths. The resultant sound is loud, rich and dense.
Russell Mills and Ian Walton
Both based in Ambleside in the Lake District, both strongly influenced by Kurt Schwitters, who lived in Ambleside for a period of his life, Russell Mills and Ian Walton produce installations that envelope the viewer in a sense of memory, the textures and atmospheres of nature and the impact of human activity on landscape. For Sonic Boom, they are making a new installation using ash, sheep fleece, X rays and the sounds of the body at work. Mariko MoriBorn in Tokyo in 1967, Mariko Mori uses sound as an element in the creation of iconic images that capture the essence of the chaotic present. In her video installation, Miko no Inori , sciâ€“fi spirituality, an intoxicated image of synthetic shamanism, is fused with the iconography of virtual pop idols and the overâ€“designed trance spaces of the modern airport.
Rafael Toral and Paulo Feliciano
Rafael Toral and Paulo Feliciano are both Lisbonâ€“based guitarists who create installations, visual art works and mixed media club events. For Sonic Boom they are creating a new installation of electronic toys. The sounds the toys make are modified and manipulated, the installation linking the loâ€“fi noises now associated with electronic play with the sophisticated processing of generative feedback systems. John OswaldToronto based musician, composer and artist John Oswald has become notorious for his soâ€“called Plunderphonics â€“ audio works that sample and electronically manipulate the music and speech of familiar artists. In Sonic Boom he exhibits a shifting portrait of a composite pop singer, displayed on a 50 inch plasma screen.
Pan Sonic is the Finnish duo of Mika Vainio and Ilpo Vaisanen, now living in Barcelona. Their recordings and installations are minimalist celebrations of the materiality of electronic sound generation and electrical contact. Created with custom made, uncomplicated technology, their music is shaped by a rigorous aesthetic that evokes the primitive dawn of electronic music, yet epitomises the ultraâ€“modernity of late 20th century sound design, a balancing act of dance club forcefulness, cinematic landscaping and intellectual curiosity. For Sonic Boom, they are making a new work which exploits the particular sonic effects of the old Leslie speakers developed for the Hamond organ.
Project Dark is a trio of young London based artists â€“ Kirsten Reynolds, Ashley Davies and Tony Pattinson â€“ whose work explores the potentialities of the record turntable. They began by creating and releasing â€˜recordsâ€™ from materials such as biscuit, tree trunk sections, human hair, glasspaper and etched glass. Their performances and installations expand upon the notion of the DJ, playing the records on old record player turntables in combination with a 10,000 volt spark generator and pyrotechnics.
Lee Ranaldo is a New York based guitarist, writer and artist. Best known for being a founder member of Sonic Youth, the New York guitar noise band that has been recording and performing successfully since 1982, Ranaldo has published a significant body of work as a solo artist, ranging from spoken word recordings and readings, solo guitar albums to memoirs and art gallery installations. His HWY SONG is a 1920s Stella guitar fitted with a red monochrome TV monitor in its soundhole, playing a silent cutâ€“up loop of a stretch of highway.
Scanner and Katarina Matiasek
Robin Rimbaud, aka Scanner, is a musician and sound artist who became notorious for his creative use of the handâ€“held scanner, a device that enabled him to overhear and record the telephone conversations of unsuspecting callers. These conversations were then montaged into atmospheric electronic compositions, some turned into dance tracks by the addition of beats, some floating in the ghostly ambience created by artful use of room sounds and telephone silence captured by the scanner. More recently, his work has broadened into a reflection of the city, its intangible structures and interconnections. Katarina Matiasek is an Austrian artist who has studied anthropology and visual communication. Her work is concerned with human perception, memory and personal imagery.
For Sonic Boom, the two artists are collaborating on a work which combines footage of fluttering butterflies with a threatening sound track made from the amplified beating of butterfly wings and the insistent banging of a hammer.
Once a film composer and prolific recording artist in Australia, Paul SchÃ¼tze is now based in London, from where he creates multiâ€“media work that plays upon aspects of memory and place. Third Site is a musical evocation of Peter Zumthorâ€™s Thermal Baths at Vals, Switzerland, a sound and video installation which appears to freeze time like a aural photograph, conjuring the spirit of the building.