Visual arts

Review: Beyond the Sound combines sound art installations and visual element

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 26 May, 2015, 6:03am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 26 May, 2015, 6:03am

This excellent exhibition, funded largely by the Hong Kong Jockey Club, is well timed.

As French curator Anne-Laure Chamboissier explains: "In Hong Kong, where our ears are constantly bombarded by sound, which goes mostly unnoticed, and personal listening devices have become ubiquitous, shared aural spaces are increasingly rare."

Choices of media are expanding while fixed-location cultural venues must be innovative with programming strategies. So it is ironic that "Beyond the Sound" is being held at Comix Home Base, an outpost of the Hong Kong Arts Centre, in a heritage-listed Wan Chai tong lau. It was to be a dedicated venue for comics and animation, but this narrow remit and the building's limitations have necessitated the featuring of exhibitions in a wider variety of media.

"Beyond the Sound" has the listening experience or "sound art" at the exhibition's core, but each artwork by participating French and local artists is also beautifully visual.

Eddie Ladoire's Intimity 4 is a recording of snatched sounds and conversations from the city, which have been "electro-acoustically" composed. Participants listen on headphones while walking around the space; it is an ethereal experience.

Pierre Bastien's kinetic Paper Orchestra features automated drums, flutes and organs built from paper that whirl, flutter and rhythmically perform a Bastien composition aligned with atmospheric lighting.

In contrast, Pierre Jean Giloux's Invisible Cities (Shrinking Cities-Part III) is technically challenging: a filmed tracking shot of a train journey through Tokyo's suburbs that welds composite images, graphics and synthetic imagery into a mesmerising video and soundtrack.

Pierre Laurent Cassiere's TACT2 is a sensory installation of low frequency transducers and amplifiers housed behind a wall. These produce a sound below the threshold of hearing. In a neat twist, the audience must feel the wall to "hear" it.

Beyond the Sound, Comix Home Base, Wan Chai. Until June 8