The Irish Sound, Science and Technology Convocation (ISSTC) is a body for collaboration, experimentation and presentation of Sound Art. This year they have returned to Limerick for the first time in four years to present talks, concerts, and exhibitions for two days, August 12 and 13. The event as a whole is called Resonance and Recapitulation: Echo of a Renaissance, and if that hasn’t boggled your mind the individual pieces will.
Ormston House at 17:00, August 12, hosted a reception where one could listen to a selection of pieces, grab a few nibbles and sip on a mandatory glass of wine which accompanies this sort of fanfare. Ormston itself is a spacious, open, light-filled room staffed by mannerly, polite people. It welcomes you in without much of the fuss and pomp that galleries can give off. The bare white walls and large bay windows allow the art to speak for itself. And in this case, the art really can speak. Although no words were employed, the musicality and originality of the exhibitions presented themselves through speakers and headphones to tell their own story, a story of sound and music and what, if anything, it all means.
Of all the pieces on display, three stood out in particular. Tanya Harris’s ‘The Architecture of Sound’ showcased the natural resonance of nineteenth-century churches, capturing the unique frequency the man-made architecture exudes. She then carved the frequencies she discovered into rock, thus painting both a visual and audio piece which cannot help but seem metaphorical: rocks making sound drawn as sound onto rocks. This naturally compares itself to Micah Frank’s ‘Reimagined’, a series which took the sound designer and a photographer out into the wilds of California to record nature at its most perfect: sans Homo-Erectus. However, it was Atanas Bozdarov’s ‘DNA Mating Call’ which stood out above all else. The composer took a sample of his own DNA, broke it down into its most basic parts, and transcribed this into a piece of simple A, C, and G notes. Listening to 100 sequences of DNA told through an almost child-like melody was powerful for its simplicity.
The whole gallery was, in one word: unique. While I had the fortune to visit Ormston at that one moment, the event in its entirety took place in both the Limerick Printmakers and Dance Limerick, also. Two days of talks, exhibitions, concerts and more might sound daunting to those without an in-depth knowledge on the anatomy of sound. Yet you don’t need a Ph.D. to enjoy the birds of Yosemite or the trickle of water in a loudspeaker. You simply need to be there.
For more information on the event go to www.issta.ie
For more information on Ormston House, check out: www.facebook.com/OrmstonHouse or www.ormstonhouse.com
Photo shows detail from The Architecture of Sound by Tanya Harris.