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Aura Satz

Listen, Recalibrate

November 7 – December 14, 2018


In her second exhibition with the gallery, Aura Satz focuses on recalibrating listening, through voices of female electronic music pioneers, and on sound signals as symbols of communication and disobedience. The exhibition includes a series of drawings, two sound sculptures, and a 16mm film.

Dial Tone Drone (2014) is a sound piece for telephone, originally commissioned to play from the 1924 red telephone kiosk. Featuring conversations with composers Laurie Spiegel and Pauline Oliveros, set against excerpts of their drone compositions, the piece examines the dial tone as a vehicle for connecting voices, tuning in, and listening to sustained notes.

She Recalibrates (2018) is a series of drawings of hands of women who contributed to the development of electronic music, including Pauline Oliveros, Laurie Spiegel, Eliane Radigue, Delia Derbyshire, Daphne Oram, Maryanne Amacher, Wendy Carlos and more. The dial becomes an emblem for recalibration, an indicator of the micro-perceptual act of sound-making and fine-tuned listening. Drawn in pencil on black paper, the drawings are framed within lenticular lenses to generate a diffractive pattern emanating from the dial.


The Wail That Was Warning (2018) is a sound sculpture in which five hand-cranked sirens are daisy-chained, each tuned to a different RPM to generate a spectrum of sounds that oscillates between a growl, a moan, a howl, a wail, a scream and a siren. The siren's ambiguous temporality, warning of future dangers and mourning of tragedies past, is enmeshed with its non-human associations, recalling different affective qualities of animal or non-verbal communication. The sculpture gives rise to different possible readings of the siren, beyond a simple call to attention or a marker of civil (dis)obedience.


Preemptive Listening (part 1: The Fork in the Road) (2018) is a short film which serves as part 1 of a larger project reimagining emergency signals. For this first chapter of the project, Lebanese trumpet improviser Mazen Kerbaj has composed a new siren sound using circular breathing, alongside the actor and activist Khalid Abdalla's account of the siren as the emblematic sound of resistance, oppression, and lost futures during the Arab Spring. Shot on 16mm, the film is literally driven by its soundtrack, as the voice becomes a beacon activating emergency rotating lights.

Aura Satz (b.1974) was born in Barcelona and is currently based in London, where she teaches at the Royal College of Art. Satz's work has been performed, exhibited and screened at the 20th Biennale of Sydney, Tate Modern, Hayward Gallery, Barbican Art Gallery, Whitechapel Gallery, the Rotterdam Film Festival, the New York Film Festival, De Appel Art Centre, and Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art. The artist’s work is in the collections of Science Museum London, George Eastman Museum, Arts Council England, and the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery.


program of events:

Opening reception with the artist: Wednesday, November 7, 6-8pm

Aura Satz and Christoph Cox will be in conversation at The Kitchen on Saturday, November 3, at 7pm

The artist’s work is also featured on the High Line in Machines of Loving Grace, through January 2.


Featuring essays by Christoph Cox, David Crowley, and Barbara London

download catalog pdf


Aura Satz's "Listen, Recalibrate"

Art Agenca

December 12, 2018

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