– by Alice McShane
Gallery 4 – Canberra Museum and Gallery
Turbulent Geometry continues at Canberra Museum and Gallery through to Sunday 28th April
If you have ever wondered what it might be like to be immersed in sound — not just overwhelmed or surrounded by, but completely immersed in — then don’t miss Turbulent Geometry. Created by sound artist Julian Day, this project entitled AIR (An Infinity Room) can be found in Gallery Four at the Canberra Museum and Gallery (CMAG). Best experienced with as few people in the room as possible, this incredibly personal experience replicates the sensation of being submerged in water: just as water will ripple and bend around our body when we swim, the soundwaves in this gallery space seem to fold and sway around us as we move through it. Every lean of my body altered my perception of the sound and every corner revealed more layers of it. In parts of the room it was almost melodic. In others, it seemed to be a cacophony; ebbing and flowing just as it seemed to have a rhythmic pulse.
If you have time, try to remove yourself from the outside world, as the room is perfectly set up for this. The emptiness of the space dictated much of my experience. Without distractions, I was able to concentrate completely on allowing myself to be carried away in an aural experience unlike any other. Equal distance apart, suspended from the ceiling were two keyboards with keys seemingly taped down to theoretically hold the same chord. Projected into the gallery space, however, sound became malleable as it echoed off the walls and our persons.
Spare a minute to settle down, even: You are Here and CMAG have generously left cushions on the floor for you to sit and take it all in. Seated still with my eyes closed, I found the layered sound to be simultaneously jarring and soothing, thanks to discordant high and deeper reverberating notes. My friend and I couldn’t tell if we were bothered or content, but walking away from the exhibition, it was enough for me to know that I had been, for a while, immersed in an infinite room.
Alice currently works in regional television, occasionally writes television commercials but mostly writes film essays. Obviously she should be followed on twitter @aliceclaire, and at http://filmalice.wordpress.com/