Aura Satz “Dial Tone Operator” and “Glissolalia” @ “Mirrorcity” Hayward Gallery, London

( Aura Satz profile on Wire // profile on Southbank )

“Dial Tone Operator” (excerpt ) was a binaural sound sculpture exhibited among other “Mirrorcity” works at Hayward Gallery in London. One which left my imagination activated.

It comprised a display of vintage telephone handsets on a wall at the end of a narrow intimate corridor with just one pair of headphones hanging from a ceiling. To put them on was to tune into a passing frequency just like a Telephone Operator. Aura Satz mixed vintage recordings of telephone sounds with a dial tone, spoken word and electric hun, which also bring to mind all sorts of frequencies that pass through us, whether we are able of picking them up consciously or not.

More information can be found here http://www.iamanagram.com/DialToneOperator.php
[On a side note she also put up a “sister” display called “Dial Tone Drone” outside The Royal Academy in London, outside Picadilly, commissioned by Measure. http://measure.org.uk/exhibitions/telephone/]

“Glissolalia”  (excerpt )played on the acoustic illusion known as the Shepard Scale, a ‘sonic barber’s pole’ (or endless spiral) in which a tone continually rises or falls yet at the same time appears to get no higher or lower. I followed the “exhibition continuous” sign and went down a spiral staircase which soon I discovered led to nowhere. It however tempted the visitor to stay and walk up and down to a very subtle background sound coming out from a very small speakers fitted on the hand-rails. It was composed in collaboration with a musician Aleks Kolkowski. Here is how the piece was described ”
The score starting point is a series of vintage test-tone recordings. These are layered with two other non-human instruments suggestive of vocal quantities – a musical saw and a theremin- and a female Barbershop quartet in which the singing produces overtones that seem to take the human voice beyond itself. The sound layout has been composed as an acoustic spiral, reconfigured to fit the Hayward’s one-way corkscrew staircase. This leads down to the fire-exit, and out into the street.”

“Mirrorcity” theme explores fiction and reality and shows recent works of artists based in London today. Haven’t managed to see all the works before the gallery closed, 2 hours is not enough and the tickets are sadly not transferable to another day.

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