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Hearing Voices

Creators:Wynne, John

'Hearing Voices' is a body of work developed from recordings of speakers of five endangered Khosian click-languages in the Kalahari Desert. The installation consists of and 8-channel photographic sound installation with flat speakers. Also part of this body of work is a 30-minute radio piece commissioned by BBC Radio 3 (Between the Ears), in 2004, and an interactive CDRom developed to accompany the installation.

The recordings themselves - supervised by Dr Andrew Chebanne of the University of Botswana - have made a significant contribution to the documentation and study of these disappearing languages.

The Hearing Voices installation has made a unique contribution to sound installation practice and to the relationship between sound and image through its use of bespoke ‘flat speakers’ which allow the photographs themselves to be the actual source of the sounds.

Other Contributors:
Recording engineerChebanne, Andrew
Type of Research:Art/Design Item
Additional Information (Publicly available):

John Wynne has a PhD in Sound Art from Goldsmiths College, University of London. His work, which is most often research-based, is made for museums, galleries and public spaces, as well as for radio. In 2009 he became the first sound artist to be represented in the Saatchi collection: his untitled installation for 300 recycled speakers, player piano and vacuum cleaner was developed with assistance from the AHRC and will be shown for the second time at the Saatchi Gallery in 2010.

John recently undertook a project co-funded by the Canada Council for the Arts and the Hans Rausing Endangered Languages Project to work with members of the indigenous Gitxsan community in northern British Columbia, whose language is threatened with extinction. The resulting installation will premiere at the Museum of Anthropology in Vancouver before showing at the 'Ksan gallery in Gitxsan territory. He is also compiling an archive of the materials he recorded with linguist Tyler Peterson which will be kept at 'Ksan for community use.

His work with endangered click-languages in the Kalahari Desert in Botswana, in collaboration with linguist Dr Andy Chebanne and photographer Denise Hawrysio, resulted in an award-winning 'composed documentary' for BBC Radio 3 as well as a photographic sound installation which showed at the Botswana National Museum, the National Art Gallery of Namibia and the Brunei Gallery in London: "Impressive sound sculpture," according to the Wire magazine.

John was artist-in-residence, along with photographer Tim Wainwright, for one year at the Harefield Hospital in Middlesex, one of the world's leading centres for heart and lung transplants. He recorded patients, the devices attached to or implanted in them, and the hospital environment itself. The project resulted in a collaborative 24-channel installation shown at the Nunnery in London and at the Beldam Gallery, Brunel University. Other outcomes include an award-winning radio piece for the BBC, a book and DVD publication and a surround sound video piece which premiered at Tate Britain.

John has created large-scale multi-speaker installations in public squares in Copenhagen and Toronto: one was banned by the City Council of Copenhagen for allegedly "frightening and confusing the public" and the other was described in MusicWorks magazine as "an ambient, ghost-like presence". He has also created large-scale installations using discarded but working hi-fi speakers in Berlin (Fallender ton für 207 lautsprecher boxen) and Hull (230 Unwanted Speakers): according to one writer, the Berlin piece "sounded like heaven . and hell."

He has had articles published in Autumn Leaves: Sound and the environment in artistic practice, Playing with Words: The spoken word in artistic practice, Sonic Geography: Imagined and Remembered, Leonardo Music Journal and Organised Sound. Upcoming publications include contributions to Between Art and Anthropology, The Art of Immersive Soundscapes and Beyond Text.

He has created soundtracks for films selected for the London Film Festival, the BBC Short Film Festival, the Whitechapel Open, the European Media Art Festival and the Rotterdam International Film Festival.

Your affiliations with UAL:Colleges > London College of Communication
Research Centres/Networks > Creative Research into Sound Arts Practice (CRiSAP)
Date:29 June 2005
Related Websites:http://www.sensitivebrigade.com/Hearing_Voices.htm, http://www.sensitivebrigade.com/HV_installation.htm, http://www.sensitivebrigade.com/HV_CD-ROM.htm
Locations / Venues:
LocationFrom DateTo Date
Botswana National Museum, Gaborone, Botswana.2005UNSPECIFIED
National Art Gallery of Namibia, Windhoek, Namibia.2005UNSPECIFIED
Brunei Gallery at SOAS, London, U.K.2005UNSPECIFIED
P3 Gallery, London, U.K.2008UNSPECIFIED
ID Code:1435
Deposited On:03 Dec 2009 23:44
Last Modified:02 Sep 2010 11:08
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