DUO – on mAtter (JP) – France Jobin – Richard Chartier – Toneshift (USA)

My ears have been open to both these artists since the late 90s/early 00s, and though they have each evolved in direction over these decades, and I’ve heard collaborations they have done with others, separately, this may be the first time I’m hearing them play in both ears at the same time. A natural pairing. Both use subtleties to a fault. Both create an atmosphere of voluminous, restrained suspense that looms in space. And together it becomes more amorphous and wide.

The duo offers five long tracks which “creates an “intemporelle“ and pervading atmosphere” that are like the fault lines on thin ice (DUO.1), yet also have the ferocity of a jumbo jet poised to take flight. With the incredibly sensitive mastering by Stephan Mathieu, these two are in the best hands to allow their luxe patina to be showcased as quiet and raw where need be. The sensation, like floating amid embryonic fluid (or in a bath of ash), comes to mind.

There’s a tension of being on eggshells on DUO.5 that is quite palpable, in waves, almost industrial, yet triggered by a ghostly reverberation. The containment of static noise (or is it heavy rainfall?) is complex, and continues into the next track with an even deeper sense of query. Here on DUO.2 a sonic hum twists over and around the continued undertones in the ‘wall of sound’ just as a new reticent melody starts to emit into the cracks. A refreshing break of coloration perfumes the space, distancing itself from the pressurized mechanisms and sonic scape, yet also remains somewhat fleeting. I’m reminded of flying insects, buzzing by, teasing their variegated color, and away they go, free to the wind.

This may be considered minimal, but it’s quite complex. This may be assumed ambient, but it’s far from it. Instead, these artists, who on their own have created a world of micronoise, austere pixelations and other funky sounds, have fused a much larger picture from all sorts of finer parts. In fact, if I didn’t know better I would say DUO.3 was actually a prepared church organ in its bloated oscillation. Through patches, programming and patience Chartier and Jobin superimpose a meta world soundscape that breaks from either of their own traditions, offering a stimulating hybrid.

As this glorious sense of suspension arises and stays awhile there are other moments of contemplation. In the same stroke there is this continued fleeting sensibility that fills the air, like an impending end. On the closer, DUO.4, this only becomes much more dramatically paced at first, but within about four minutes, in a rush of circulated drone, minimal hiss and velocity, brings about a more organic sound. Together they develop a dreamy fusion of harmonic curvatures bathed in duly signature vintage vinyl imperfections, pop, crackle, etc. Towards the end the balanced nature of this blend becomes distorted, entangled, and somewhat flying saucer-like in retrospect. Satellites soften and shut down slowly in fading, static sonics.

TJ Norris (December 2018 Toneshift (USA)

DUO on mAtter

We are pleased to announce that DUO will be released on the lovely mAtter label from Japan

MATTER015 | France Jobin + Richard Chartier – DUO
Format : Vinyl / 2LP(with Downoad Code) – 300 limited edition and Digital
Date: 16, December 2018 – Ships out 26, December 2018
Pre order on bandcamp
Preview on vimeo

DUO is the first collaborative project from minimal composer France Jobin and Richard Chartier.
DUO creates an “intemporelle“ and pervading atmosphere, where sounds intermingle within an intricate and delicate system delineated by spatial and temporal boundaries.

A SIDE
DUO.1 – 09:00
DUO.5 – 08:00

B SIDE
DUO.2 – 13:40

C SIDE
DUO.3 – 11:50

D SIDE
DUO.4 – 17:22

composed by France Jobin and Richard Chartier.
mastered by Stephen Mathieu

thank you to Yukitomo Hamasaki and Shuhei Miyagi
design by Richard Chartier

France Jobin and Richard Chartier are both published by Touch Music/Fairwood Music UK Ltd

More news regarding this release to follow in January 2019, stay tuned!

mAtter is an independent label and artistic organization based in Tokyo, founded in 2008 by the Japanese artist Yukitomo Hamasaki. mAtter objective is to create engaging outputs which evolve around the intercorrelations between sound and other aesthetic fields such as visual, design and architecture.

Call & Response in collaboration with LINE – A listening experience

cr_logo2

LINE

 

Call & Response presents:
a LINE listening experience

Call & Response are pleased to host a listening experience featuring artists from the LINE imprint.
 
Since 2000 the LINE imprint, curated and art directed by Richard Chartier, has continued to publish documents of compositional and installation work by international sound artists and composers exploring the aesthetics of contemporary and digital minimalism as limited edition Compact Discs and DVDs.
 
As a part of our collaboration with LINE, Call & Response will feature works from the following artists in 3D sound at our space in South London’s Enclave:
 
Richard Chartier – Recurrence
France Jobin – P Orbital
Simon Whetham – El Parque Está Situado En Su Propia Casa
Yann Novak – Relocation.Vacant
Stephan Mathieu – Seventh Dream

 
www.lineimprint.com
www.enclaveprojects.com
www.callandresponse.org.uk/line
 
Friday May 29th 6.30pm–till late
Saturday May 30th 2pm-6pm
Sunday May 31st 2pm-6pm
Friday July 31st 6:30pm-till late

 
C&R space
Enclave, Unit 9
50 Resolution Way
London
SE8 4NT

immerson 2

 

 

 

Richard Chartier,  Monique Jean, Nathan McNinch

In conversation with Richard Chartier after the concert @ 19:30.
Open to all!

Concert
Immerson  2 at Oboro
Thursday, February 24 and Friday, February 25, 2011, at 6 pm, limited seating!Tickets on sale at OBORO for $10 (cash only), from Tuesday to Saturday, noon to 5 pm.
You can also dial 514 844-3250 to make a reservation with credit card.

The Artists:

Richard Chartier (b.1971), sound and installation artist, is considered one of the key figures in the current of reductionist electronic sound art which has been termed both “microsound” and Neo-Modernist. Chartier’s minimalist digital work explores the inter-relationships between the spatial nature of sound, silence, focus, perception and the act of listening itself.

Chartier’s critically acclaimed sound works have been published over the past 12 years as 40 compact discs on labels such as 12k/LINE (US), Raster-Noton (Germany), Spekk (Japan), Non Visual Objects (Austria), Room40 (Australia), Die Stadt (Germany), DSP (Italy), ERS (Netherlands), and Trente Oiseaux (Germany). He has collaborated with noted sound artists Taylor Deupree, William Basinski, CoH, and German pioneer Asmus Tietchens, as well as installation artists Evelina Domnitch, Dmitry Gelfand, and visual artist Linn Meyers. His work currently appears on 38 international sound art and electronic music compilations.

Chartier’s sound works and installations continue to be presented internationally. His work has been exhibited in the 2002 Whitney Biennial at the Whitney Museum of American Art (US), Sounding Spaces at NTT/ICC (Japan), I Moderni / The Moderns at Castello di Rivoli (Italy), Resynthesis at The Art Institute of Chicago and with the traveling sound exhibit Invisible Cities. His solo and collaborative installations have been shown at the Art Gallery of University of Maryland (US), Media Lab Enschede (Netherlands), Montalvo Arts Center (US), G Fine Art (US), Die Schachtel (Italy), The Contemporary Museum of Baltimore (US), Fusebox (US), and Diapason (US).
Chartier continues to perform his work live across Europe, Japan, Australia, and North America. He has performed at noted art spaces/electronic music festivals including:  MUTEK (Canada), GRM/Maison de Radio France (France), Musiktriennale Koeln (Germany), Observatori (Spain), DEAF (Ireland), Transmediale (Germany), NETMAGE (Italy), Lovebytes (UK), The Leeds International Film Festival (UK), The Rotterdam International Film Festival (Netherlands), REDCAT (US), and La Batie (Switzerland) and at art museums including: ICA (UK), Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden (DC), ICC (Japan), CAPC Musée D’Art Contemporain De Bordeaux (France), Musee d’Art Contemporain (Canada), The Contemporary Art Centre (Lithuania), and Sculpture Center (NY). His live performances have taken place in conjunction with the exhibits Frequenzen [Hz] at the Schirn Kunsthalle (Germany) and A Minimal Future? Art as Object 1958-1968 and Visual Music at the Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art (US).
Since 2000, Chartier has continued to curate his influential recording label LINE, publishing 45 CDs and DVDs documenting the compositional and installation work of international sound artists who explore the aesthetics of contemporary and digital minimalism. Chartier’s Series, the premiere release on LINE, was awarded an Honorable Mention for Digital Music by Austria’s prestigious Prix Ars Electronica in 2001.

In 2006, Chartier was invited by the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden to create a sound work in conjunction with the Hiroshi Sugimoto exhibit. Titled Specification.Fifteen and composed with musician Taylor Deupree, this work is inspired by Sugimoto’s Seascape series. The audio performance premiere in the museum’s curved Lerner Room at sunset reflected the duality and stillness of Sugimoto’s series. The live recording was released on compact disc through Chartier’s LINE label. The work was awarded one of five Honorable Mentions for outstanding contemporary artistic positions in digital media art by the Jury of Transmediale.07 Award (Germany). With a special slowly shifting video piece incorporating Sugimoto’s Seascapes, a new version of Specifiation.Fifteen premiered at Berlin’s Akademie der Kuenste (Germany) in 2007. This audio/visual performance has subsequently been presented at Issue Project Room (NY) and Torun’s Center for Contemporary Art (Poland) and continues to be adapted.

http://www.3particles.com/

Monique Jean lives and works in Montréal. She studied electroacoustic composition at the Université de Montréal under the supervision of Francis Dhomont.

In addition to her acousmatic compositions, her work is also regularly associated with video and experimental films, with dance and with installations. Her harbour symphony L’Appel des machines soufflantes (“The Call of Blowing Machines”), a commission of Radio-Canada, was premiered in March 1998 at the Port of Montréal and in 1999 she was an invited composer during the Rien à voir (5) concert series produced by Réseaux (Montréal).

Finalist in the Ciber@rt (Valencia, Spain, 1999), Musica Nova (Prague, Czech Republic, 2001) and Bourges (France, 2002) competitions, her works are regularly performed and broadcast during numerous national and international concerts and festivals.

www.theresatransistor.ca
www.electrocd.com/en/bio/jean_mo/discog/

nathan mcninch is a consummate tinkerer whom on occasion makes art and music. nathan has released sound work for a handful of independent record labels including: oral, important records, moar and his own petite sono. he has also produced sound works for a variety of other mediums including: installation, video radio, and the internet.

http://petitesono.com/

About immerson:

immerson is a concert event and philosophy initiated by France Jobin that proposes creating an environment dedicated to an enhanced listening experience through the physical comfort of the audience by means of a specifically designed space.

Jobin initiated immerson in February 2011, in partnership with OBORO and in close collaboration with Stéphane Claude.

France Jobin is an audio / installation artist, composer and curator. Her audio art, qualified as “sound sculpture”, distinguishes itself in a minimalist approach of complex sound environments at the intersection of analog and digital. She participates in festivals, as well as presents installations and events internationally. Jobin has produced numerous solo albums with renowned labels such as ROOM40 (AU), LINE (US), popmuzik records and ATAK (JP).  France Jobin was a Sonic Arts Awards 2014 finalist in the category Sonic Research.

francejobin.com

Immersound wishes to acknowledge the support of Canada Council for the Arts.

Valence on LINE

France Jobin
Valence
LINE_054
CD + Digital
Edition of 500
February  14th 2012

LINE is proud to present a new work by Montreal sound artist France Jobin. Having released under her moniker i8u, Valence is her first release under her own name. Created entirely from transformed field recordings, this collection of three compositions has an elegant flowing simplicity. Slow harmonic modulations of a similar essence to the works of Eliane Radigue and Celer.

Valence is inspired by both the valence bond (VB) and molecular orbital (MO) theories.

An atomic orbital is a mathematical function that describes the wave-like behavior of either one electron or a pair of electrons in an atom. This function can be used to calculate the probability of finding any electron of an atom in any specific region around the atom’s nucleus. The term may also refer to the physical region defined by the function where the electron is likely to be.

Often, my compositions start with a feeling or emotional state. There is a likelihood of finding a certain emotion in a piece, but it is not guaranteed, nor do I know exactly when or where I will find it. The act of looking for that emotion in of itself will distort it. Although one would think experimental music grants complete freedom, when composing, I feel constrained by both my mental state and the way in which I build the piece.

I find an unlikely parallel in quantum theory and composing. The electron that can exist on a different orbital plain can never have it’s velocity measured or even its exact location known, due to the intimate connection between particles and waves in the wacky world of subatomic dimensions.
All sounds recorded at various locations in North America and Europe.
Special thanks to Richard Chartier and Mark Hogben.
Cover image by Mark Hogben.

S orbital   27:41
P orbital   22:12
D orbital   18:21

http://www.lineimprint.com/

Review – Data/Fields – Metro Weekly – Doug Rule

(Photo by Todd Franson)

An early love of synth-pop helped Richard Chartier find his passion in the field of sound art

by Doug Rule
Published on October 13, 2011, 3:00am

”In the ’80s, I was a synth-pop boy,” says Richard Chartier. ”I was very into that.” But unlike many or even most synth-pop fans, the 40-year-old avant-garde sound artist was more interested in the ”synth” (short for synthesizers) than the ”pop,” the technology over the music.

”A lot of synth-pop bands were not musically trained,” Chartier explains. ”[Synth-pop] was all about this new technology and seeing what you could do with it, and pushing it.” The D.C.-based Chartier also has no formal music training. His work in sound art over the past two decades has been essentially self-taught, honed in no small part through advances in technology. Naturally, Chartier started experimenting with creating sound using synthesizers, egged on by his love of synth-pop. ”The more I got into experimental music, I became compelled to create my own work,” he says. Chartier’s work is characterized by quiet, subtly shifting sounds, in a minimalist strain of sound art known either as “microsound” or Neo-Modernist.

Over the past decade, the Hirshhorn Museum and the Corcoran Gallery of Art are just two among many leading museums to have included Chartier as part of sound art presentations. New York’s Whitney Museum of American Art is another, selecting Chartier to be part of its prestigious Whitney Biennial in 2002.
At the moment, Arlington’s Artisphere presents a sound and video new media show curated by Chartier and featuring five international artists all making their D.C. debut with the show. Chartier says the focus of ”Data/Fields” is on ”our perception of data, which is how we experience the world.”

That may make it sound a cluttered, cacophonous mess, much like our drowning-in-data modern world. ”Oftentimes, you go to shows and there’s just too much, especially when it’s new media,” Chartier concedes. ”If you have too many things going that make sound, it just becomes a big ruckus.”
But Chartier took great care to make sure that didn’t happen with ”Data/Fields,” giving it a story-like structure and focus. ”I wanted something that was very clean [and] refined to the point where visitors couldn’t actually experience each work individually without seeing the other works,” he says. ”It has a very defined flow.”

”All of the works are experiential or participatory in some way, and it’s all time based,” he continues. France Jobin’s sound piece Entre-Deux, for example, cycles for 144 minutes. So what you hear at any given moment is different than what someone else hears 20 minutes, or even five minutes, later. Another piece, Mark Fell’s Tone Pattern Transactuality, features shifting patterns in both sight and sound, which you appreciate through projected video and headphones. It’s a generative work, so it’s constantly changing itself based on mathematics.”

Chartier grew up in Springfield, Va., and studied graphic design and painting at Virginia’s James Madison University. He initially worked as a freelancer in both areas after graduating and moving back to the D.C. area in the 1990s. But his days as a visual artist were limited. ”I felt like sound was a much better way to communicate the spatial, experiential qualities of what I was looking for.”

Some people in D.C. may remember Chartier from his days as a DJ a decade ago. He was something of a regular at hip lounge-style events, including what the gay man calls a ”pansexual” party called Filler at Adams Morgan’s former Blue Room. The focus was on alternative, experimental electronic music, or even just ”wacky” synth-pop. Chartier has mostly given up DJ’ing in recent years, though. ”It’s just kind of tiring,” he says. The whole field of sound art is a relatively new area, aided by the spread of affordable, portable technology. Technology has certainly enhanced Chartier’s efforts in the field. After he first dabbled with synthesizers 20 years ago, focused on creating ”droning loopwork,” Chartier says he didn’t really return to sound work until he got an Mac in the late ’90s. Soon after, he started his own record label LINE.

But Chartier adds that technology only goes so far. ”I love limitations on things,” he says. ”I could have all of this software, and all this crazy this and that, and pay thousands and thousands of dollars for the latest whatever. … But you have to make those things have your voice.”
Richard Chartier performs with Mark Fell on Wednesday, Oct. 19, at 8 p.m., and the exhibit Data/Fields runs through Nov. 27, both at Artisphere, 1101 Wilson Blvd., Arlington. Call 703-875-1100 or visit artisphere.com.

Review – Data/Fields – Patch – Anna M. Schier

Data/Fields’ Brings Interactive New Media to Artisphere
Installation shows data in an unconventional way, invites audience participation.

by Anna M. Shier, September 30.201

Most people associate data with spreadsheets and charts.
But the latest exhibit at Artisphere, “Data/Fields: 5 New Media Installation Works,” challenges data’s unexciting reputation.
“I wanted to have an idea that could flow through all of these pieces,” said Richard Chartier, a Washington-based sound artist and the show’s curator. “Data is all around us.”

Works by five international artists are featured in the exhibit, which runs until Nov. 27. The pieces range from sound installations to sculptural video, and explore how people perceive, process and understand information. The works engage the senses by manipulating color, light and sound.
“It’s really a well-rounded exhibit for this kind of work,” said France Jobin, a sound and installation artist from Montreal whose work is included in “Data/Fields.”

Visitors are asked to look at, listen to and even touch the art. “Everyone’s going to have a different experience with these works,” Chartier said.
For instance, viewers can interpret Caleb Coppock’s “Graphite Sequencer” multiple ways. The work consists of several paper circles decorated with graphite line drawings, which hang in rows behind a turntable along the gallery wall. Participants can select one of the paper circles and place it on the turntable, which houses a tone generator. Because graphite conducts electricity, visitors can turn the line drawings into sound-conductors and literally listen to the art.
“We are in the process of understanding the way in which we are coming to see the world,” said Andy Graydon, a Berlin-based artist featured in “Data/Fields,” during a Skype interview with Patch this week.

Chartier originally conceived the show four years ago for the University of Maryland. After two years of work, the project was abandoned as a result of university budget cuts. Two years later, Chartier has finally executed an exhibit that actively explores data and how people process information.
“Data/Fields” is a departure from the average spreadsheet.

Review – Data/Fields – Continent- Isaac Linder

Those readers on the part of a continent that involves something called “Arlington, Virginia” should be interested to hear about an exhibition of new-media installation and soundworks that opened last week at Artisphere and will be on display through November 27th. For those readers geographically dispossessed, this announcement can at least serve as an introduction to the work of those involved. Curated by the renowned composer, designer, and LINE imprint boss, Richard Chartier, the show collates new work by five transcontinental artists:

Caleb Coppock (U.S.)
Mark Fell (U.K.)
Andy Graydon (U.S./Germany)
Ryoji Ikeda (Japan)
France Jobin (Canada)

Originally conceived to take place four years ago at The University of Maryland, in the art department where my mother and father were to meet and fall in love, the project was waylaid by the turbulence of departmental budget cuts and postponements before production was finally halted. The show in its current incarnation should then be considered as a condensation and streamlining of Chartier’s original vision. The first presentation of any of the included artist’s work in the DC area, the show marks as well the first US exhibit for both Mark Fell and France Jobin.

Straightforwardly a foray into the now familiar tropes of interactivity and data visualization/sonicization in the arts (have the arts ever been anything other than dataviz? Ah, but that’s for a whole other post…), the show is of course not only that. With it’s investigations into the themes of transfinite mathematics, the perception of quanta, and incomprehensibility, the show remains keenly attuned to the sense of the body and percipience of the viewer. (Chartier charmingly describes the viewers of the show ‘percipients’.) In an interview about the opening, Chartier mentioned that it was the longest he had experienced viewers interacting with artworks at a show he had seen in the US; a good sign for those of us who bemoan the meat-packing pace of exhibition viewership today!

As is often the case with my interactions with art, the thematic of the observer stilled before incomprehensible magnitude takes me back to the perennially rehashed 2,400 year old question regarding the banishment of the mimetic arts from Plato’s Republic. For Plato the exclusion would have been a question of art’s capacity to besiege its witnesses with a sense of θεíος ϕοβóς. Construing a quick trinity, it’s a concept taken up in an in-depth, Continent.-friendly tenor by Rancière in his recent work on Hegel and Lyotard. (See The Future of the Image, Verso, 2007). Even more recently, for the art historian Donald Preziosi, this a/effect, translated variously as holy terror, fear, or awe, is named as such because it is directly proportional to the work’s ability to reveal the artifice intrinsic to art and by extension the artificiality of all sociopolitical and religious modes of organization. (See Preziosi’s forthcoming Routledge title, Art, Religion & Amnesia: Enchanted Credulities.) Not good news for those with vested interests in maintaining modes of organization as they stand!

With its exfoliations, redressings, and retunings of our data and sensoria, dependent as they are upon relatively recent developments within the technoaesthetic apparatus (gigabytes of processing RAM, LCD projectors, and touchscreen interfaces), I’ll be curious to hear from those who make it to data/fields the extent to which it manages to unearth this ancient, but by no means archaic, line of thought. As Paul touched upon in his recent post on The Shifting Imago of Sovereignty the high-speed, transactional nature of data would seem to occupy a unique place in it’s ability to leave us beset by the stupor of fear and trembling.

Review – Data/Fields – Arlington Mercury – Steve Thurston

Data/Fields: What You See Is What You Hear
by Steve Thurston
September 30, 2011

DATA/FIELDS, New Media Installation Works, runs from Sept. 22 through Nov. 27 in the Artisphere’s Terrace Gallery. Free.

Data Fields: Mixing Sound and Vision
Artisphere
1101 Wilson Blvd., 22209
Phone (703) 875-1100

By: Steve Thurston, Mercury Editor
I hit the opening of Data/Fields at the Artisphere in Rosslyn on Friday, Sept. 23; I’m not totally sure what I was looking at, but it was fun just the same.  It’s the sort of show that people stayed to gawk over, and strangers talked with each other about what they saw, said curator Richard Chartier, and that was my experience as well.

Viewers just couldn’t help talking to one another at Ryoji Ikeda’s “data.scan.” We stared at a screen that looked just a bit like the old Pac-Man console screen (the ones you sit down to play, back in the day). A series of lines and dots scrolled over it. Three distinct types of screens developed, one looked like static, the other like empty space with red cross hairs shifting through. The final one looked like a video transcription of radio signals or something similar.
At the same time, the background sound that seemed random “ping”-ed every now and then, and those pings, we realized, announced that data had been organized or arranged in some way on the screen. It’s about then that someone looked down at the moving crosshairs and said that the ping comes when the crosshairs find a star, Alpha Centauri, for instance. It’s the heavens. That static, said someone else bent close to the monitor, is a string of numbers, tiny numbers. It’s mapping the heavens.

“This would be the coolest coffee table ever,” one man said.

Chartier told me in a phone interview after the event that Ikeda does not give interviews or talk publicly about his work, but that he is known for seeing data everywhere. Everything can be measured and turned into data, and by choosing the heavens, that sense of infinity increases.
“It’s almost like the work is about incomprehensibility. You can’t put your head around it,” Chartier said.
In another part of the cavernous room, where white noise and the occasional ping can be heard, people gathered around Caleb Coppock’s “Graphite Sequencer.”The modified turntable picks up electric signals from pencil lines drawn on heavy-stock paper. The graphite in pencil “lead” conducts electricity and sends the signals to the headphones.

“Percipients,” as Chartier calls the people who come to the installation, look at the disks hanging on the wall, think about what each might sound like, put a disk on the turntable and don the headphones to hear burps, buzzes, rasps and zzzzzzzzz-es in various patterns.
by Steve Thurston
September 30, 2011

Review – Data/Fields – Washington Post – Michael O’Sullivan

Mark Fell’s “Tone Pattern Transactuality”; photo by Jonathan Newton/The Washington Post
Artisphere show delivers an eyeful and an earful
By Michael O’Sullivan
Friday, Oct. 7, 2011
When I showed up at Artisphere to check out “Data/Fields,” a five-artist showcase of new-media art, I encountered a tour for staffers who might need to know what to do should one of the high-tech pieces in the show burn out, blow up or otherwise need to be rebooted. It’s an occupational hazard for today’s plugged-in artist, whose work occasionally requires adjustments more complicated than straightening a painting on the wall.
Fortunately, everything in the show was humming and clicking as designed.
“Data/Fields” is a sharply installed and smartly edited mini-survey of cutting-edge contemporary art, selected and curated by Richard Chartier, a Washington-based sound artist whose work was featured in the 2002 Whitney Biennial. Incorporating sound, light, drawing and, to some degree, a sculptural component – as well as various combinations of those things – the show isn’t just something you look at or listen to, but rather a little of both. As one of the wall labels puts it, you’re not just a viewer here, but a percipient.

The show demands – and rewards – close attention.

In the center of the darkened gallery is the show’s strongest piece, a computer-generated “painting” of sorts called “Tone Pattern Transactuality.” The Rothko-like video projection, by British artist Mark Fell, is constantly changing colors, sometimes subtly, sometimes abruptly, like some Brookstone gizmo that tracks the stock market by changing from, say, pink to blue. It’s accompanied by an audio track you listen to with headphones. The sound ranges from a quiet hum to what seems like a phaser on overload. It’s intense and, at times, scary. You don’t take it in; it takes you in.
Less frightening, yet more interactive, is Caleb Coppock’s “Graphite Sequencer.” The Nebraska-based artist has customized an old turntable to “play” his own abstract pencil drawings, 48 of which hang on the wall. Take one down and place it on the turntable; the size and shape of vinyl LPs, they’ve all got holes in the middle.

Graphite, you see, conducts electricity. So as you watch the drawings spin, electrical contacts on the tone arm – which replaces the traditional needle – create a music of staticky clicks, like Morse code. It’s cool, though it lacks the emotionally enveloping quality of Fell’s work.
Around the corner you’ll find Japanese artist Ryoji Ikeda’s mesmerizing “Data.scan,” consisting of a computer monitor set into a console about the size of a Pac Man machine and accompanied by an electronic score that seems to emanate from everywhere – and nowhere. The speakers are very well hidden.
On the screen, the images alternate, rapidly, between data based on star-mapping – you’ll spot the name Alpha Persei, and others, if you look hard enough – and television static. But look more closely. That static is actually a screen full of apparently meaningless numbers. Ikeda pulls off an effective, and surprisingly compelling, tension between the cosmic and the everyday. Whose head isn’t filled with phone numbers, passwords and other ID codes these days?
Ikeda’s score is so pervasive – it’s the one bit of sound art in the show that you don’t need headphones for – that it spills over into Andy Graydon’s nearby sculptural installation, “Untitled [band pass Arlington].” That Berlin-based artist’s work is just a pile of rubble on the floor. But periodically, a bright, thin band of light, cast by a motorized projector mounted on the ceiling, sweeps over its rugged surface, illuminating its peaks and valleys slowly, like a scanner. Along with Ikeda’s borrowed soundtrack of spaced-out beeps, the work invites extended looking – and listening – for previously hidden details.
Taken together, the works in “Data/Fields” sharpen your senses, even as they blur the boundary between sight and sound.

The story behind ‘Entre-Deux’

You can’t see France Jobin’s contribution to “Data/Fields.”
“Entre-Deux” (“Between Two” in French) is a sound installation, created specifically for Artisphere’s outdoor terrace and pumped through three sets of stereo speakers mounted along the wall. A fractured sonic collage created from recordings made by the Montreal-based sound artist at Artisphere and elsewhere, the piece includes the noise of airplanes flying to and from nearby Reagan National Airport as well as the gurgle of rainwater running into the terrace level’s drains. (Jobin was there with her recorder on a rainy day.)

The recorded sounds mix with the real ones, tricking the ear in a delightful way. The best time to visit, according to gallery director Cynthia Connolly, is at dusk, when street noise quiets down and you can look across Wilson Boulevard to see computer monitors twinkling in the windows of office buildings just across the street.
Come to think of it, maybe “Entre-Deux” does have a visual component after all.

— Michael O’Sullivan (Friday, Oct. 7, 2011)