[ISEA95] Panel: Nigel Helyer – Sound: architecture and catastrophe

Panel Statement

Panel: Sound in Space

Sound, Architecture and Catastrophe examines the nexus of historical relationships between sound-power and ideology by exploring the metaphoric structures of two sound-sculpture installations (one recent and one which I am currently developing).

“Oracle” (exhibited at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney 1995) inhabits the nexus between the body and architectural space by proposing the voice as the carrier of both prophesy and of ideological imperative. In this fusion of corpus and polis the soundfield simultaneously operates as actuality, as virtuality and as metaphor, to create an architecture un-frozen! The second installation; “Silent Forest” (to be mounted at the San Francisco Art Institute as part of “SoundCulture 96”) proposes that we listen to a silence decreed by political and military power. The work is constructed as a tracing of colonial and (neo) colonial relationships linking cultural form with political force. The installation (& its accompanying Radio broadcast) weave a sonic web between a natural environment under chemical siege – to metaphorically link the creation of an Ecological silence (by the massive deployment of dioxin de-foliants in VietNam) with the High culture of Western Opera exemplified by the French built Ha Noi Opera House – here Opera is employed as both a sign and transmitter of the colonial process.

  • Nigel Helyer, Australia. sound-sculptor specializing in the production of large scale, multi-disciplinary projects for public sites, architectural installation, and gallery contexts, as well as works for radio and CD ROM, he is a senior Iecturer in sculpture, performance ond installations of the University of Sydney ond co-founder and internationol commissioner for “Sound Culture”.

Full text p.118-120