Steel with 2-pack enamel paint, 14 channel audio, audio transducers, speakers
Sonia Leber and David Chesworth create a psychogeography of voice and space, using sound, vibration, and metallic constructions. Human voices 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, and creating damage and disorder.
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.'
Solo exhibitions at Conical Inc, Melbourne (2009); Perth Institute for Contemporary Arts (2011); and Detached, Hobart in association with MONA FOMA (2012)
Voices: Deborah Kayser, Jerzy Kozlowski, Maria Lurighi, Royal Melbourne Philharmonic Choir.
The artists gratefully acknowledge the support of the Australia Council, Adrien Allen at Conical Inc. and Penny Clive and Craig Judd at Detached.
'The work recreates the cacophony of the mind, recalling extreme emotional states...Overall, Space-Shifter functions as an audio-visual Rorschach inkblot in 3D. This is conceptual art that works in cycles of evaluative and experiential contemplation, testing the pull of our own subjectivity...The human voice is the central element in this work, mimicking the tones of your own internal dialogue with all of its fears, desires, laughter and grief.'
- Chris Reid, RealTime Magazine No. 92, 2009
'It wasn't difficult to become immersed in [Space-Shifter]... the site was filled with the sounds of recorded, bodiless voices. Guttural growls, blowing noises, gasps, hisses; all worked to create a sense of energy that, upon entering the gallery, was impossible to feel physically disconnected from. Conical's floor vibrated, sheets of steel rattled, sound filled the walls... It was an intriguing physical event, one that left me wanting to know more...'
- Jared Davis, un Magazine 3.2, December 2009
'Human voices stalk you as you make your way about the space; cackles, giggles and nonsensical grunts ring out, bouncing off the sculptural structures and vibrating the floorboards...Leber and Chesworth have outwardly succeeded in forging such a cheeky, uncomfortable and exhilarating space.'
- Dan Rule, 'Around the Galleries', The Age, Melbourne, 6 June 2009