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Institute of Contemporary Arts presents the UK premiere of Bruce Nauman's Days, a sound installation
Installation view of the exhibition, "Bruce Nauman: 'Days'" The Museum of Modern Art, New York. © The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Photo: Thomas Griesel.

LONDON.- From 19 June 2012 the ICA presents the UK premiere of Bruce Nauman’s Days, a sound installation consisting of a continuous stream of seven voices reciting the days of the week in random order. Fourteen flat panel speakers will be installed with one voice emanating from each pair of speakers as the visitor passes between them. The work invokes both the banality and the profundity of the passing of each day and invites reflection on how we measure, differentiate and commemorate time.

In conjunction with the exhibition of Nauman’s Days, the ICA presents a series of sound commissions by over a hundred international artists. Selected by the ICA and institutions worldwide, the artists have been invited to submit a sound work taking its stimulus from the themes evoked in Nauman’s Days. SOUNDWORKS aims to take a broader look at the range of work being produced in audio arts today.

From acoustic environments to audio fiction, commentary, found sounds, field recordings, minimal composition, and experiments in music, the medium of sound is attractive to artists coming from a wide array of practices. SOUNDWORKS aims to show this diversity and embrace the ephemeral and peripatetic nature of sound through the creation of an online platform that doubles as a virtual exhibition space.

The online presentation of the project makes the sound works internationally accessible, providing a place to explore sound as a medium which is simultaneously inclusive, interactive, and subversive. The exhibition includes a wide range of audible approaches by artists who have been working with the medium for many years, as well as artists taking their first venture into sonic arts. Parallel to the online presentation, the project will also be accessible in the ICA galleries.

The genre of sound itself is not a new phenomenon but goes back to the early 20th century to the experiments by artist movements such as the Dadaist and Futurist groups led by protagonists like Kurt Schwitters and Luigi Russolo, and composers such as Eric Satie, Arthur Honegger, and later artists such as John Cage, La Monte Young and Steve Reich.

However, with the readily available technology of sound recording equipment, specialized training is no longer required in order to work with audio. Sound has become an artistic tool openly accessible to artists in the same way as photography, filming, drawing, and other media.

Nauman’s Days and SOUNDWORKS will be accompanied by an events programme comprised of talks, screenings, and performances. Former Add N to (X) band member Steven Claydon, Scottish artist Ruth Ewan and Venice Biennale Silver Lion recipient Haroon Mirza will discuss the labelling of ‘Sound Art’ in The Trouble with Sound Art on 4 July. Audio Arts founder William Furlong will talk about the audio cassette-magazine Audio Arts, the world’s most comprehensive sound archive of artists’ voices and sound art on 5 September. Gavin Bryars will discuss his work in relation to the development of sound arts on 11 September. The forthcoming editions of the Artists Film Club will focus on sound-related works during this period. The sound season will culminate in a weekend, 14 – 15 September, exploring the sound contributions that were produced as part of SOUNDWORKS.

In addition Luke Fowler, ICA Artist in Residence and Turner Prize nominee, will be contributing to the SOUNDWORKS project, and producing a piece in response to the ICA Archive.

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