What I See When I Look At Sound


12 July – 31 August 2014
Central Galleries, PICA
Curated by Leigh Robb

11th July 2014 – Opening night performances and DJs

What I See When I Look at Sound is an exhibition of sound that launches new pieces by five outstanding Australian artists. Each artist has designed a work for extended play within PICA’s galleries, speculating on what it means to visualise and encounter sound art today. The works are each systems unto themselves, often manipulating the creative process of improvisation while relying on graphic notations, code, algorithms and applications to generate or imagine new compositions.

Matthew Gingold has created an extraordinary self-playing orchestra in which the instruments are light bulbs, radios and relays, creating a symphony of signals, shadows and electronic chatter. Cat Hope’s sound sculpture of seven bass guitars and amps is a reverb tower of feedback which stands in dialogue with Lauren Brown’s silent catalogue of sounds meditating on the way we listen to, see, transcribe and share sound. Kynan Tan’s double projection and multi-screen work creates isolated and controlled sonic and visual chambers, a counterpoint to Lyndon Blue’s interactive installation is a strange mystical and malleable music video in which found film footage and a soundtrack composed by the artist is manipulated by visitors via a theremin.

What I See When I Look at Sound is a response to the rise of sound art practices and international sound art shows in galleries, and the need to create a platform with a focus for Australian artists who are working dynamically across thresholds of music, sound and visual art. PICA has long been engaged with experimental music and interdisciplinary practices and is always seeking to create exciting and defining moments for artforms, artists and to connect audiences directly with these.

The exhibition was also informed by phonograph, an exhibition at ddd gallery in Osaka in 2011, curated by artist and musicologist Yukio Fujimoto and his comment that “people today hear sounds with their eyes and see pictures with their ears”. What I See When I Look at Sound deliberately confuses those registers and invites a selection of Australia’s most interesting and experimental artists and musicians to both visualise and sonorise this idea.

The exhibition title is inspired by What I Talk About When I Talk About Running by Haruki Murakami, itself a play on Raymond Carver’s collection of short stories What We Talk About When We Talk About Love. Both are very human responses, memoirs of sorts of about personal experiences of running and romance. Deliberately playing with the logic and singular focus of these popular books, What I See When I Look at Sound asks artists and visitors to the show to really question the relationship between looking and hearing; between our eyes and ears and the interplay of our senses in how we make sense of the world today. This exhibition unites radically different manifestations and improvisations on the theme of seeing and shaping sound. The works in the exhibition are synaesthetic offerings for our senses, profoundly shifting the registers that we usually associate with sound.

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hyperthymesia at the State of the Art Festival


co-presented by WAM and the State Library WA for the State of the Art Festival on 31/5/2014

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Kynan Tan
hyperthymesia (25 years of non-linear western australian history)
5 screens / 5 channels video, 2 channels sound

Kynan Tan has created a new audio-visual artwork for exhibition at the State Library in conjunction with the State of the Art Festival. The new work, titled hyperthymesia, utilises 5 screens of video and accompanying sound, creating a new representation of Western Australian music through rearranging and reforming the archives of material. The work creates a hyper-synaesthetic overload of the senses as thousands of moments in time are rapidly overlaid and recombined.


interview for cut common

Kynan Tan is a Perth-based audio visual artist whose work asks compelling questions about the data-filled world we live in today. Working with a glitch based idiom, his music focuses on the sonification of the unseen structures that underpin our existence. He is currently working on a new exhibition that will round out his perspectives series later this year, and discusses his work with us in greater detail.

by Sam Gillies

full article http://www.cutcommonmag.com/computer-talk-composer-kynan-tan/


studio night talk

9pm, Thursday 17 April 2014

Kynan Tan and Sam Fox will talk about their collaborative project, ‘Didactic Tools’, which involves the repurposing of teaching aides, and educational structures to probe the problematic area where art meets accumulated knowledge and/or resolution.

Hosted by Miik Green.


sand stems

remix EP

Sand Stems 1-7 is an EP of remixes using material from Austin Buckett’s Grain Loops. Buckett asked for new perspectives on the archival-esque material from 7 different artists: Andrew Pekler (Germany), Giuseppe Ielasi (Italy), Delofi (Leaving Records, USA), sought-after footworker DJ Earl (Teklife, Chicago) alongside Australian artists Te’ (Kynan Tan+Andrew Brooks), Thomas William, and Scissorlock (Marcus Whale).

Available from Room40



safARI exhibition sydney

metronymy will be exhibited alongside Benjamin Forster’s work at DNA Projects in Chippendale, Sydney as part of SafARI.

Opens Friday 14th March
runs until 4th April
more information

4-channel audio, micro-computers, speakers, amplifiers

metronymy explores language in relation to sound, communication and meaning. The work attempts to break down and recombine the particles of the sound of speech as derived from readings of thesauruses, which are then reformed into speech-imitating patterns.

DNA Projects
Benjamin Forster

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current projects

Postdoctoral Fellow – UNSW Art & Design – 2019


review: partial durations

Published in Partial Durations (Realtime)

Kynan Tan
Perspectives [macro]
Free Range Gallery
9 December, 2013
By Steve Paraskos

Kynan Tan’s first solo exhibition, perspectives [macro] explores the concept of a massive network of points as viewed from a singular perspective. Tan’s idea is that each individual point within a network or system is constantly and unendingly exerting and receiving a gravitational force in space-time on and from each other point within the system. Tan uses self-constructed computer programs to create vivid, non-linear, synaesthetic audio-visual works derived from data sets found within the collective unconscious sphere of the internet. He also projects repurposed archived footage in company with his computer-generated imagery and synthesised sounds.

Inspired by the generally-held notion that “the internet is a repository and library for outsourced thoughts and memories” and Italo Calvino’s Invisible Cities where “imaginary, impossible and dystopian structures are simultaneously fictitious and vivid representations of subconscious constructions”, Tan has created 3D printed sculptures rendering the data of sleeping brain activity, which sit atop an irregular plinth standing near the centre of the Free Range Gallery in Perth’s CBD. Each appears as its own city; the physical manifestation of the collective unconscious of dreaming ideas. These intricate dream-like structures are surreal models of the most audacious modern architecture and are as wondrous as they are varied.

The accompanying sound work begins as a projection of nodes massing and connecting with each other in interactive networks that betoken clicking grains. The growing network resets and builds to the call of an increasing number of beeps. Sweeping cities, colonies of ants, swarms of bees and war planes cover the projection and four screens on the side walls, reinforcing the status of the macro perspective over the negligible individual points. The harmonious phasing swamp of traffic on the busy street of Perth’s CBD just outside the door of the gallery ensures there is never a moment of silence as the wooden floor rumbles to the timed passing of trucks, buses and trains like a surround sound sub.

Microscopic particular static crackles like the communiqués of distant sirens. Moaning modems and granular glass orchestras whir into life as quickly as they cease. This is a truly immersive experience where the sounds and visuals are inseparable. The eyes and ears can only discern the art and ground themselves by referencing the other sense.

Drawing upon Einstein’s conception of gravity that “each individual object exerts forces in both space and time, and that perception of time is relative to the surrounding forces”, Tan explains that the weight of the structure affects the movement of the form through time. This computer generated form is constituted by infinitesimal saw teeth that snake as a whole in all dimensions like the lines of a multidimensional, macrocosmic polygraph. Soon after, flocking particles slowly coalesce as a heavenly choir via Einsteinian algorithmic processes.

This is the astounding and original work. One hopes that Tan’s phenomenal and prescient installation is seen the world over.

Steve Paraskos

Partial Durations is a Matthew Lorenzon/RealTime joint project.