Sound Offering VIII: Robert Curgenven

14th March, 5:00 - 6:00pm

Institute of Modern Art

Join Ireland-based, Australian-born artist Robert Curgenven for the eighth edition of ‘Sound Offering’, Boxcopy’s monthly program that invites sound artists and experimental musicians to produce an evening of listening.

“upon a threshold, where bodies corporate stand, Spectres’ vapours stood”

[Ein Gespenst geht um in Europa (1) . Alles Ständische und Stehende verdampft (2) …]

From an inception as a ‘Spectre haunting Europe’ (1) whose actions are often poetically translated as one where ‘all that is solid melts into air’ (2) , it could be more literally said to make ‘all that is Standing and has Stood vapourise/evaporate’. Moreover, these ‘Standing entities’ translate to incorporate Standing Bodies and, among them, corporations: in physical terms their architectures, along with the utopian sociocultural visions which these architectures frame.

What better way to interrogate these ideas – their movement from a ‘Spectre’ through to post-War realisations and their present post-Communist eastern European realities – than through drawing the surrounding air and current manifestation of contemporary society into these buildings, these volumes – the very monuments of those that stood and are standing, the dwellings and inhabitations of the corporatised bodies. Enacted via a survey of 11 sites across Poland and on to Hungary – spanning northern and southern centres for the Polish Solidarity Movement plus cultural centres through to social housing projects – recorded in 2019 over 12 days and Solidarity’s 40th anniversary, these architectures present a threshold, framing each location and its context. Using the air itself to interrogate these sites via a simple intervention through a window in each architecture using only two oscillators, a speaker and two microphones, the piece presents an audible corporeal movement, layering a gestalt between these sites, framing the context of a living, breathing, contemporary society.

Robert will present these recordings at the IMA, along with similar
methods to sound out its structures and conditions. This will be the
Australian premiere of ‘Spectres’.

Robert Curgenven is an Ireland-based, Australian-born artist producing albums, performances and installations. His work emphasizes physicality, our embodied response to sound and its correspondence to location, air, weather and architecture. His recorded output includes SIRÈNE, pipe organ works, for his Recorded Fields Editions; Oltre and Built Through for LINE imprint; and Climata, recorded in 15 of James Turrell’s Skyspaces across 9 countries. Curgenven has produced works and installations for National Gallery of Australia, Warsaw Centre for Contemporary Art, Palazzo Grassi (Venice), Transmediale (Berlin) and the National Film and Sound Archive (Australia). He has presented live performances at festivals spanning Maerzmusik (Berlin), TodaysArt (The Hague), Sonic Acts (Amsterdam), Ultrahang (Budapest), Gamma (St Petersburg) to a recent Sydney Festival show, and was an artist for the EU’s SHAPE platform in 2019.

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