Gordon Monahan

Gordon Monahan: Sound Escaping

Exhibition: July 19 to October 4

This exhibition presents four major sound art installations, including the outdoor piece A Piano Listening To Itself, which is comprised of piano wires suspended from the Gallery’s chimney stack connected to a piano below. Audio recordings derived from piano compositions by Frédéric Chopin and Henry Cowell are transmitted into the strings causing them to vibrate. These vibrations are transmitted down the wires and amplified by the piano soundboard, essentially creating a substitute for a loudspeaker and deconstructing traditional audio systems. A Very Large Vinyl LP Constructed in Acoustic Space incorporates eight loudspeakers that project sounds of vinyl surface scratches and vintage easy listening records that fade in and out, spinning clockwise or counterclockwise, or in both directions simultaneously, creating an illusion of a virtual vinyl LP spinning in acoustic space. Sounds Objectified presents a series of works that take the form of ordinary appliances through which Monahan plays recordings of the sounds of these devices in operation. Pointing to rapid changes in technology and the subsequent obsolescence of the device, Monahan preserves the essence of the object while creating a new audio packaging format where the object becomes the package of its own sound. The new work, Kinetic Audio Transmissions, uses audio signals to create kinetic movements in motors which transmit into resonant objects that amplify the audio recordings. Simultaneously, signals also cause other motors to tremble and shake in kinetic gestures. These result in percussion events that create an overall experience of an immersive kinetic audio environment.

Gordon Monahan's works for piano, loudspeakers, video, kinetic sculpture, and computer-controlled sound environments, span genres from avant-garde concert music to multi-media installation and sound art. As a composer and sound artist, he juxtaposes natural acoustical phenomena with elements of media technology, environment, architecture, popular culture, and live performance. Monahan is the recipient of the 2013 Governor General's Award in Visual and Media Arts.

Curated by Aidan Ware.