A new exhibition titled Sounding the Void, Imaging the Orchestra V.1 will open on 6 June 2019 at the A4 Arts Foundation in Cape Town. Curated by Bhavisha Panchia, the show features works by internationally acclaimed artists Vivian Caccuri, Chris Chafe, Nick Cave, Andrew Pekler, Robin Rhode, Sahel Sounds, and Jenna Sutela, in addition to a selection of podcasts from Phantom Power and audio media from the collection of Nothing to Commit Records.

Sounding the Void, Imaging the Orchestra V.1

“A key question that the exhibition asks is: what kind of generative opportunity lies in the act of tactful listening?” says Panchia. “I started from the proposition: how we listen determines what we hear.”

The artworks in Sounding the Void, Imaging the Orchestra V.1 utilise audio phenomena that vary in medium from vinyl records, video and installation to podcasts, web releases and performance lectures. According to Panchia, “The works demonstrate the potential of audio to reconstruct narratives. I want to foster an assembly of voices and positions.”

Intersection of contemporary art, literature and music

A significant part of Panchia’s curatorial practise centres on auditory media’s relationship to geopolitical paradigms. She founded Nothing to Commit Records as a means to nurture practices operating at the intersection of contemporary art, literature and music that engages with the global South.

The exhibition includes artists Sahel Sounds, a recording project and vinyl record label dedicated to music and culture from the Sahel region of north-western Africa. Sahel Sounds charts music of the region through reissues, new releases and compilations.

Sounding the Void, Imaging the Orchestra V.1 attempts to trace cultural memory, excavate historical accounts and attitudes, and sound the inaudible. From the auditory mapping of phantom islands to using machine learning to generate a new written and spoken language, the exhibition gives precedence to the act of listening as a form of world-making, and a basis for critical engagement and alternate understandings.

Accompanying the exhibition will be a public programme of talks, workshops and seminars. These exchanges will feature practitioners working in various disciplines, probing the poetic, speculative and critical capacity of sound and listening. The programme and schedule will be released following the opening of the exhibition.

What: Sounding the Void, Imaging the Orchestra V.1

Where and when: A4 Arts Foundation, 23 Buitenkant Street, District Six, Cape Town from 7 June to 22 August 2019

Times: Tuesday to Friday from 10am to 5pm and on Saturday from 10am to 2pm

Featured art: Robin Rhode: Piano Chair, 2011