Sound Requires a Medium is Maya Dunietz’s first solo, large-scale, site-specific, sound art exhibition, taking place at the Center for Contemporary Art (Tel Aviv).
Dunietz is a composer, musician, and sound artist based in Israel whose work ranges from composing for ensembles and choirs, performing as a pianist and singer, and creating sound installations. She founded the Givol Choir, an experimental vocal ensemble and is a member of the band Habiluim. Her work has been presented at venues including the Palais de Tokyo, Paris (2014), Arnolfini, UK (2013), and the Swiss Pavilion at the Venice Biennale (2011). Dunietz has recently been awarded the Prime Minister’s Prize for Composers.
Dunietz works at the intersection of visual art, music, sound, and performance. In all of these mediums, her practice is abstract and experimental, intent on shifting viewers’ and listeners’ attention to the essence of perception. Dunietz is inspired by sound theorists, scientists and philosophers, such as Lord Kelvin and his exploration of sound, matter and space, and Pauline Oliveros who coined the term and practice of “Deep Listening” that aims to connect individuals to their environments and open us up to one another.
Sound Requires a Medium centers on a room-wide installation comprising 10,000 intertwined earbuds. Visitors walk through the labyrinthine structure to take in the dynamic sounds emanating from the earbuds that come together to create a rich and blossoming soundscape, physically pulsating from the sheer quantity of musical sources. The exhibition also includes a series of musical objects made of unexpected materials such as a mechanical bird whistle, a “talking” wall, a sound work heard through one’s teeth when biting a straw, and a shaking piano.
The specially crafted pieces and the large installation are experiential and interactive, with music composed specifically for them and their architectural surroundings. Each work activates the viewer in different ways – from biting a metal rod, to pressing one’s body against a sonic wall, to caressing a shaking piano ot the impromptu dance that is performed by each viewer as he or she navigates the large earbud installation.
The physical engagement with Dunietz’s work is a direct extension of her experimental practice as a composer who constantly stretches the boundaries of the medium, seeking to explore the human capacity to consume and produce sound in infinitely myriad ways. Inspired by pioneering musicians and sound artists ranging back to John Cage and La Monte Young, Dunietz also traces her artistic heritage to the Dada movement through her reliance on improvisation and interdisciplinary methodologies. She works with sound as a plastic medium and considers music within a material world. The result is a captivating project that resets the ways in which viewers and listeners perceive their surroundings.
CCA (Center for Contemporary Art), 31 December 2015 – 27 February 2016