Seeing Through Listening Part II 13th November
The flow of viewing public was at first less responsive to my invitation to experiment
with the idea of an additional way of engaging with an image through imagining sounds or music. However as the gallery became busier over the afternoon, this changed dramatically. There were some fabulous dialogues and wider discussions to be had.
An elderly gentleman considered that Carrie Mae Weems images would be improved
by removing her out of them.
Another lady, very stimulated by her audio journey concluded that Susan Lipper’s work
caused her to see the entire exhibition as ‘Lynchy’, ie through a ‘David Lynch’ filter.
As before, choices of music when more abstract, rather than direct responses to the
location of the American South, illustrated that this stimulus conjured forth a wealth of personal memories and reflections.
Numerous people expressed the effects of viewing the kind of poverty of an earlier era,
as a sobering experience, but that the exhibition itself had such a quality of focus that
they felt enriched by it rather than depressed.
Two young american photographers had made a special journey from Edinburgh to see the exhibition and were impressed by what they found. They were surprised at how little information was available in Brighton regarding this exhibition.
They were very sorry not to have found a ready response with a soundtrack, but through further discussion revealing their understanding of both the Appalachian community
as well as Susan Lipper’s work were able to explain away the mysterious nature that the hanging of a deer in Lipper’s iconic image, is a common practice to drain its blood.
Younger children enjoyed considering in great detail the kind of sounds which they might hear.
Several individuals found that films were also brought to mind as connections with
hidden memories and could be an easier thread to follow than a soundtrack.
Almost all who responded were intrigued by the addition of an extra dimension
through sound, finding that it encouraged them to enter more intensely into a moment depicted within an image, which had the ability to subtly reveal so much
about the invisible individuals who left traces of their presence.
For instance, one man was intrigued when he noticed the small detail in a William Christenberry image, of what appears to be a wooden hut is in fact made from redbrick.
Three friends concluded the day with their refreshingly different ideas about music to accompany Susan Lipper from Motorhead, Depeche Mode to Blondie.
Another fascinating day.