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Seeing Voices

Exhibiting artists:
Damiano Bertoli, Erik Bünger, Catherine or Kate, Michael Cook, Fayen d'Evie and Bryan Phillips, Léuli Eshraghi, Alicia Frankovich, Susan Hiller, Alex Martinis Roe, Angelica Mesiti, Clinton Nain and Rose Nolan

Hannah Mathews, Helen Hughes and Francis E. Parker

Horsham Regional Art Gallery, Vic.
14 October – 10 December 2017
Live performance: Wrong Solo

Mildura Arts Centre, Vic.
1 March – 2 April 2018 
Live performance: Rosie Isaac and Aodhan Madden

Cairns Regional Art Gallery, Qld
28 April – 23 June 2018 
Live performance: Erik Bünger

Riddoch Art Gallery, Mount Gambier, SA
28 July – 16 September 2018 
Live performance: Sean Dockray

Plimsoll Gallery, School of Creative Arts, University of Tasmania, Hobart
15 December 2018 – 27 January 2019 
Live performance: Sean Dockray

Bathurst Regional Art Gallery, NSW
16 February – 7 April 2019
Live performance: Rosie Isaac

A NETS Victoria and Monash University Museum of Art touring exhibition, 2017–19.

Seeing Voices used Monash University Museum of Art’s collection as a springboard for thinking through the voice and how it is visualised, employed and reimagined in works of contemporary art. In the exhibition, the voice opened onto a multiplicity of concepts. It acts as a metaphor for collective action; for speaking out against injustice and coming together in gestures of solidarity. It is a marker of cultural and geographic specificity; a medium for conditioned colloquialisms and the trace of disappearing language or dialect.

In this way, the voice can also function like a spiritual medium; through its recording and archiving it can time-travel, haunting the present as if a ghost from the past. The voice is also an index; a measure of position, perspective, distance and emotion. In private, in public, in conversation, on record—the voice connects our experiences with those of others.

The exhibition was comprised of works selected from the Monash University Collection along with several loans from Australian and international artists. They covered drawing, photography, painting, sculpture and print, creating a textured and layered environment of sound, scale, moving imagery and shape.

Artist Fayen d'Evie and her collaborator, sound artist Bryan Phillips, were invited to devise an audio tour of Seeing Voices as it was installed at the first venue, Horsham Regional Art Gallery, and which was available at all the tour venues. D’Evie’s broader interest in navigating visual art for non-normative vision was expressed in Myopic Voices, Echoing Horsham, 2017, with a close, myopic reading of the artworks and with descriptions of the experience of the body in the space. This was intercut with the voices of vision-impaired members of the Horsham community with whom the artists had run a workshop, the first of its kind for the Gallery.

Seeing Voices toured to six regional galleries throughout 2017–19. In addition to the exhibition, each venue hosted the presentation of a live work, either existing or newly conceived, by an artist from Australia or abroad. These artists were selected based on their interest in the voice and the desire to bring the immediacy of the live voice into the exhibition space.

Live Performance:

Rosie Isaac and Aodhan Madden
Mildura Arts Centre, Vic.
3 March 2018

Rosie Isaac and Aodhan Madden conducted an audio inhabitation of Rio Vista Historic House, adjacent to the Mildura Arts Centre. Hidden upstairs, they broadcast an elliptical narrative to replace the documentary video on the original occupants of the house, the Chaffey family, and their role in bringing irrigation and wealth to Mildura that loops in the drawing room downstairs and reverberates beyond. Invoking an imaginary child with memories of Rio Vista and swimming in the nearby Murray River, the narration filled the house and merged the volumes of its rooms with greater volumes of water.

Erik Bünger
Cairns Art Gallery, Qld
23 June 2018

Swedish artist Erik Bünger was represented in the exhibition with The Girl Who Never Was, 2014, an adaptation for video of one of his lecture performances. In Cairns, he delivered a more recent lecture, The Elephant Who Was a Rhinoceros, in which he linked the expressions in numerous languages that call upon certain animals precisely to keep them at bay—creatures of which one cannot speak—with language as a demarcation between humanity and creatures that cannot speak.

Sean Dockray
Riddoch Art Gallery, Mount Gambier, SA
14–15 September 2018

Plimsoll Gallery, School of Creative Arts, University of Tasmania, Hobart
14–15 December 2018

Continuing his work with digital assistants like Siri, Sean Dockray presented a Chorus at both Riddoch Art Gallery, Mount Gambier, and the Plimsoll Gallery in the School of Creative Arts, University of Tasmania, Hobart. While Apple engaged a single actor to provide the voice of Siri, Dockray made short recordings of multiple gallery visitors reading phrases selected from Uber’s driver contract that he then amalgamated into a digital voice that made periodic announcements in the galleries.



National Exhibitions Touring Support (NETS) Victoria is supported by the Victorian Government through Creative Victoria, by the Australian Government through the Australia Council, its arts funding and advisory body, and through the Visual Arts and Craft Strategy, an initiative of the Australian, State and Territory Governments. NETS Victoria also receives significant in-kind support from the National Gallery of Victoria.

Image: Angelica MesitiSilent polyphony 2015 (HD video still), Monash University Collection