James Coleman "So Different... and Yet 1980", 1980
24 Apr. 2012 - 17 June 2012 MACBA
The current display of the Collection, which is presented on Level 0 of the Museum, identifies the transition from the twentieth to the twenty-first century as the moment of consolidation of sound and voice as materials for artistic production. The new model is rooted in experimental video and cinema works that favour a narrative language that gradually frees itself from the image. Precedents for this interest can be found, however, in Dadaist phonetic poetry from the early twentieth century, and in the poésie sonore and Lettrist experiments that followed the Second World War. More recently, as well as the reflections of theoreticians such as Roland Barthes and Mladen Dolar, whose contributions steered the visual arts toward a sudden attention to sound, we have had the new technological possibilities for recording, altering and reproducing the voice. The relationship between voice and image, vocal experimentation, the inner
voice and the voice of power, are some of the approximations to the human voice that can be found in this exhibition.
Echoing the formal and material innovations introduced by the historic avant-gardes in the early twentieth century, contemporary art has dethroned the eye as the hegemonic sense and reinstated hearing in a real and contingent body. The white cube, that ‘machine for looking' associated to an idea of the museum as inherited from the past, is showing its age. The viewers, re-embodied, have acquired a nearchoreographic quality and outstripped its limits through a multiplicity of experiences. The three-dimensional nature of the Euclidean volume (from classical physics) has been replaced by the volume of sound and voice. This change in material has worked radical changes on the perceptive system and on behaviour: based on the convention dominated by what is visual, we can begin to narrate a history of art with a new multi-sensorial dimension.