((Le son 7)), pronounced like sunset, is an ultra-modern sound gallery in Paris that showcases works by fifteen contemporary sound artists. It invites visitors to explore the perception of time through the powerful medium of sound.
Here you can experience a miasma of soundscapes, like the migration of thousands of pink-footed geese, the fall of Ghanian rain, even incoming signals of Artificial Intelligence from New York. It provides a moment for you to take your time, to look within yourself and experience these different emotions and states of mind through your sense of hearing.
Born in lockdown - a sonic cleansing
The idea was conceived by a couple, Argentinian Carolina Podestá and Briton Andy Footner, during the first lockdown. “We could hear sounds that we normally don't hear,” recalls Carolina.
In this gallery, a dozen headphones hang from music stands. Visitors can choose between listening to a fragment or the complete work of fifteen artists. It encourages one to concentrate only on the sense of hearing, taking a break from the tyranny of the visual. "This gallery perhaps goes against the tide in a world dominated by images and visuals,” says Carolina.
This ephemeral gallery changes location. After the exhibition in Paris, it will visit London and Buenos Aires in 2022.
Enjoy slow time
As the listener connects to these different universes, a sense of slowing down and being in the present is awakened within us. The perfect time is not only in the moment but when sound plays on the threshold of the conscious and unconscious. Without the support of image or performance, this process highlights not only sound, but also the complexity of silence. Over the years, the art of listening has been lost, and we attempt to recover lost ground with these works.
“We present these works to be enjoyed by the public. Almost all were created specifically for this exhibition, but one was created over a period of five years, as the recording of a performance was reworked into the piece that is now on display”. Artists include François K, Burnt Friedman, Little Annie Bandez, KMRU, Carl Gari and Abdullah Miniawy. “Here we treat the sound itself as a complete and very powerful artistic medium”, Footner tells Euronews.
Different artists with different backgrounds such as poets, performers, experimental musicians and sound artists were given carte blanche to present their world of sound to encourage “intimacy with sound”. With the multitude of possibilities to create, artists experimented with the sounds of nature, artificial intelligence (AI), sonification, and improvisation.
Selling sound is not selling air
How do you sell something as immaterial as sound? “Novelty always takes time," says Carolina. "There are always people who are on the cutting edge, who pick up new things quickly. Then it takes a while before it becomes massive or established”. However, there is a market in museums and foundations that wish to establish sound rooms. The pair would like to further promote this concept at an institutional level and create more spaces for artists who work with sound. “We would love to have many more sound art galleries, it would be great, the more of us there are, the more this format will spread”.
The musicians Carl Gari and Abdullah Miniawy are performing live at Haus Der Kunst (means Art House in German).
The Sound Gallery ((Le sOn 7)) can be visited until 12 December in Paris
Find it at 32, rue Pastourelle, from 10 am to 8 pm.
Enjoy the silence!