VARIOUS ARTISTS- INCIDENTAL AMPLIFICATIONS
For most of us, our every waking moment (and even those where we are unconscious) is surrounded by sound. From the obnoxiously pitched alarm tone that raises us from slumber to the muted sounds of night-time traffic that merge with natural nocturnal transmissions; there is always sound.
As a society we have increasingly sought to augment and indeed control the environments around us. All manner of tools have been utilised in this ongoing war against the unfamiliar, the unexpected and the ‘undesirable’. As well as a variety of visuals cues, sound is progressively used to colour our surroundings with a variety of aural hues.
The Twentieth Century brought with it an unparalleled use of artificial sound in the form of George Squier’s Muzak – a creation designed to enhance (and perhaps determine) amongst other things our ‘urban/social/shopping’ experience. For decades, no mall or place of substantial commerce was complete without the dulcet tones of Muzak. To many it would seem that there is a world of difference between the bleating high frequency sounds of an Indian marketplace and multiple channels of mid-tempo instrumental music filling our shopping malls; however the ability for sound to draw and focus our attention is universal and well documented.
But what of the remaining sounds? The incidental sounds that Muzak tries (and often fails) to mask. It’s within these sound fields that curators Lawrence English + Lloyd Barrett sought to collect artists who were working with and celebrating these incidental aspects of our sound world.