Art Division
Excellence Award

The sound of empty space

Media installation
The sound of empty space
Photo: Emily Gan ©Adam Basanta
The sound of empty space explores relationships between microphones, speakers, and surrounding acoustic environments through controlled, self-generating microphone feed- back【. xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx】Amplifying the acoustic inactivity between techno- logical inputs and outputs – stand- ins for their corporeal correlates, the ear and mouth – the notion of a causal sound producing object is challenged, and questions are posed as to the status of the amplified. By building flawed technological sys- tems and nullifying their intended potential for communication, the ear is turned towards the “empty space” between components; to the unique configurations of each amplifying as- semblage. Through pieces which are equal parts banal, inventive, and ab- surd, sound is revealed not as a distinct object or autonomous event, but rather as a mutable product of interdependent networks of physical, cultural and economic relations.
Reason for Award
Air is invisible to the naked eye. This explains why we tend to overlook its existence, but it is actually the most important medium in hearing. In The sound of empty space, the artist employs a visual form to examine how rich the sound in an “empty room” can be. Sound passes through the air at a speed of ap- proximately 330 meters per second, and because it is so much faster than the speed of light, we hear things differently depending on the conditions of the space. In other words, our ears are not only hearing sound, they are hearing the space. A number of submissions in this year’s competition made use of sound, but as this work focuses on the space that conveys sound, it urges us to reexamine the nature of sound, and by transcending hearing, the nature of media itself.