Sonia Leber & David Chesworth Space-Shifter

PICA Performance Space Sonia Leber and David Chesworth will create a psychogeography of voice and space at PICA, using sound, vibration and metallic constructions.

Art Exhibition previously on at Perth Institute of Contemporary Arts (PICA) in Perth precinct, Western Australia, Australia.
From Thursday 15 September 2011 to Tuesday 27 September 2011

Space-Shifter (detail) image

Published by anonymous on Wednesday 28 September 2011.
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Human voices will resonate throughout the space: babbling and uttering absurdities. Detached from their originating sources, the voices are launched like missiles, careering around and acting directly on the materials of the space.

This is an encounter with the voice as an object in itself, where it has become detached from the unseen soundmakers. It is as if the voices have an excess of energy, an unfettered ‘self-enjoying’ jouissance, which can be uncanny and unnerving, but also thrilling and liberating.

The elusive entity of the trickster is evoked. Here it is imagined as a noisy, mischievous interloper, an agent-provocateur, able to change and move about without restraint. The trickster’s voice twists and turns: hatching, splitting and multiplying, delighting in its own excess, making mock, creating damage and disorder.

This installation features the voices of Deborah Kayser and Jerzy Kozlowski, supported by the Royal Melbourne Philharmonic Choir.

Each singer was selected for a willingness to use and explore a range of extended-voice techniques, including unusual timbral qualities, breath-sounds and expressive mouth-sounds. The installation also includes fragments of idiosyncratic voices that the artists recorded in the real world, selected for their familiar and unfamiliar qualities.

In his book A Voice and Nothing More, the philosopher Mladen Dolar notes a recurrent metaphysical concern from Plato to Saint Augustine, that lawlessness results when the voice deviates from the safe haven of the word. According to Dolar, it was often feared that the voice ‘should not stray away from words which endow it with sense; as soon as it departs from its textual anchorage, the voice becomes senseless and threatening – all the more because of its seductive and intoxicating powers…Up to a point, [the voice] is sublime and elevates the spirit; beyond a certain limit, however, it brings about decay…the voice is both the subtlest and the most perfidious form of flesh.’

The artists gratefully acknowledge the support of the Australian Government through the Australia Council for the Arts, its arts funding and advisory body. Space-Shifter is presented by Tura New Music in association with PICA for the 10th Totally Huge New Music Festival and supported by IASKA. Tura New Music’s annual program is supported by the government of Western Australia through the Department of Culture and the Arts in association with Lotterywest and the Australia Council the federal government’s arts advisory and funding body. The Totally Huge New Music Festival is sponsored by the City of Perth.