15 June 2021

Safe house

Well, the Drill Hall Gallery is not likely to be an unsafe space so the reference fits.  But the reference is not just to the space, but to Richard Johnson's soundscape that he prepared to accompany an exhibition at the Drill Hall.  I caught it on Sunday.  It's a soundscape, so a mix of various sounds and noises and clips, ie, recordings (we'd probably say samples, now).  Richard had gone out to collect sounds.  Llewellyn Hall provided some noise (not music this time), aircon or the like.  He used voice clips from the film Safe, thus that reference.  (Richard's more complete list: "a montage of field recordings, textural drones and sounds from the real world ... sources include industrial machinery, welding, work sites, singing air conditioning systems, crowds, walking, doors, stone rubbing, sounds for the opening night of the exhibition and excerpts from the film Safe (1995)").  Miro was there, too, and it interested me when he said that the brain finds order from these collections of otherwise unrelated sounds.  That's something the composer does in the first instance as s/he collects and mixes, but also what we do when we listen to it.  I sat with eyes closed for a while, taking it in, and was intrigued and entertained.  Now, I'm a rational type and I didn't easily  see relationships with the art, despite also enjoying that, but I was intrigued and pleased with the sounds.  And there was art, too, this being an exhibition.  Some doors with locks; some prints of house and office spaces; some photos of oldish furniture used outdoors; some colour surfaces on glass; some intriguing 3D reformations of red dirt country (interestingly, borrowed from the collection of the NGA); some splotches and neon and curtains and glass and more.  Nice outing, this one.

Richard Johnson (sound artist) created a soundscape to accompany the Out of Place exhibition at the Drill Hall Gallery.

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