From Thursday 8th September to 8th October I have a new solo exhibition showing at the AC institute in Chelsea, New York City. More info below from the press release.
Graham Dunning: Loss Sheds a Light on What Remains
“Loss sheds a light on what remains, and in that light all that we have and all that we have had glows more brightly still.”
- Michael Bywater, Lost Worlds.
Sound is temporal and temporary; a reproduced sound recording is a physical, analogue approximation of a thing that once was. Hauntology can be defined as something which is simultaneously backwards- and forwards-looking. As Dunning’s first solo show outside the UK, this exhibition collates some early, non-site-specific works establishing these as some of the main themes in his practice.
Untitled with Records and Hammer (2009)
Viewers are invited to smash a vinyl record with a hammer, on a workbench. The diminishing pile of unbroken records and the growing amount of detritus form part of the installation. The records used were each carefully considered and bought by the artist in an attempt to become a professional DJ. As such it is a personally cathartic piece and an autodestructive rebirth, acting as a meditation on ambition and failure.
Found bottles are hung at heights determined by the numbers on their bases, in an order prescribed by chance-determination; a corresponding composition consists of the pitched-down sound of each bottle being tapped, assigned to a note according to the same numbers. The work is the culmination of a pseudo-archaeological investigation through an imagined narrative, questioning the “objectivity” of an object.
Visitors are invited to read into a microphone from a children’s book while wearing headphones: The sound from the microphone is delayed and fed back to the readers, causing them to stutter and slur their speech. The nostalgic use of a children’s story book clashes with the frustration of impeded reading.
ABOUT THE ARTIST:
Graham Dunning’s working practice deals with temporality, memory and narrative through sound, performance and installation. He is interested in people’s discarded memories and the function of archiving. Found objects, photographs and recordings feature in his work investigating notions of the artefact and implied narrative. Experimentation is fundamental, and Dunning’s practice is often informed by scientific or archaeological protocol.
Dunning considers himself an autodidact in the artistic field having studied physics, acoustics, English literature, philosophy, politics and history as an undergraduate, and engaging in art via experimental music and recording techniques; live composition and improvisation; and a lifelong interest in collecting and archiving found objects.
Various themes and processes recur in his work including: sound and its relation to loss, nostalgia as mourning, exploring the world through listening, and the specific sonic topologies of specific places; organising, arranging, and composing versus unpredictable inputs, random factors and chance operations; archiving, collecting and documentation in tension with ambiguity and open interpretation; and analogue and digital technologies and their (exploitable) limitations.
Most of Dunning’s recent works have been site-specific installations including an interactive installation in Luton, a large town in South-East England, featuring ten turntables with dubplates of local environmental sound recordings to be played individually or in combination by the audience; a “listening post” in rural West Wales enabling visitors to hear the sounds of the site through surrogate ears mounted in birdboxes ten feet high; and a work on board a decommissioned light-ship which invited viewers to read from an annotated copy of Joseph Conrad’s Lord Jim into a microphone, their voices altered through a remote reverberation chamber built in the bowels of the ship from existing structures.
ABOUT AC INSTITUTE:
The AC Institute’s mission is to advance the understanding of art through investigation, research and education. It is a lab and forum for experimentation and critical discussion.
We support and develop projects that explore a performative exchange across visual, verbal and experiential disciplines. We encourage critical writing that challenges conventional expectations of meaning and objectivity as well as the boundaries between the rational and subjective.