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'Audible Spaces: Tristan Perich, Zarouhie Abdalian, and [The User]' opens at Brown University's Bell Gallery
Tristan Perich, Microtonal Wall: 1,500 divisions of four octaves from C3 to C7, 2011. Electronic circuit, 15x100 speakers, aluminum. Photo: Courtesy bitforms gallery nyc.
PROVIDENCE, RI.- The David Winton Bell Gallery presents Audible Spaces: Tristan Perich, Zarouhie Abdlian, and [The User], an exhibition of contemporary sound art, on view at the Bell Gallery Saturday, Aug. 30, through Sunday, Oct. 12, 2014, and at the Cohen Gallery in the Perry and Marty Granoff Center for Creative Arts, Saturday, Aug. 23 to Sunday, Oct. 12. An evening of artist talks, followed by a reception, will take place Friday, Sept. 5, from 5:30 to 8 p.m. in the lobby of List Art Center, 64 College St.

Audible Spaces presents three sound installations that encourage participants to explore the subtleties of listening. Tristan Perich, Zarouhie Abdalian, and [The User] have each created immersive environments using seemingly uniform sounds that dissolve into tonal, tactile, and temporal variations as participants engage with them.

Perich’s Microtonal Wall (2011), on view in the Cohen Gallery, demonstrates the extraordinary complexity that can be generated using the most basic electronic tools. Drone-like from a distance, this twenty-five-foot long sound field of 1-bit noise dissolves into 1,500 unique frequencies.

Abdalian’s In Unison (2014) draws attention to each individual’s singularly embodied experience of listening. Parametric speakers embedded in the Bell Gallery’s ceiling project sonic avenues of equal frequencies. Movement through the space modulates the effect of binaural beating, which is felt as rhythmic pulses between the ears.

[The User]’s Coincidence Engine One: Universal People’s Republic Time (2008) makes the entropy of time audible. On display in the Bell Gallery, this amphitheater-like space filled with more than one thousand ticking clocks provokes questions about homogeny, loss, and the spaces of public address. Unified by a shared economy of means, all three projects prompt participants to consider the dynamic relationship between sound, space, and personal subjectivity, while addressing a distinct set of historical, social, and sonic concerns.

Sound artists often explore both the formal properties of singular sounds and the conditional nature of listening. In the 1960s, minimalist musicians in particular took up this cause. They developed radically simplified compositional structures to experiment with the spatial and temporal apperception of sound, in the hopes of expanding the horizons of aesthetic experience. Drawing on the critical strategies of minimalism, the artists in Audible Spaces use monotony, seriality, and repetition — both visually and sonically — as they consider both what and how we hear.





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