Eavesdropping: Susan Schuppli and Sam Kidel

Institute of Modern Art
Sat, 04. Aug 2018
Institute of Modern Art
420 Brunswick Street Fortitude Valley Brisbane QLD 4006 Australia

###Susan Schuppli: Material Witnesses

The mate­r­ial wit­ness — an entity (object or unit) whose phys­i­cal prop­er­ties or tech­ni­cal con­fig­u­ra­tion records evi­dence of pass­ing events to which it can bear wit­ness. Whether these events reg­is­ter as a by-prod­uct of an unin­ten­tional encounter or as an expres­sion of direct action, his­tory and by exten­sion pol­i­tics is reg­is­tered at these junc­tures of onto­log­i­cal inten­sity. More­over, in dis­clos­ing these encoded events, the mate­r­ial wit­ness makes ​‘evi­dent’ the very con­di­tions and prac­tices that con­vert such event­ful mate­ri­als into mat­ters of evi­dence.

SUSAN SCHUP­PLI is a Cana­dian artist, researcher and audio-inves­ti­ga­tor cur­rently asso­ci­ated with the London-based research agency Foren­sic Archi­tec­ture. Over the last twenty years, Schup­pli has returned again and again to the theme of eaves­drop­ping, with a par­tic­u­lar con­cern for the mate­r­ial his­tory and pol­i­tics of audio-tape and the tele­phone.

###Sam Kidel: Customer Service Agent

Where do you hear my voice? Do you hear it in the bone behind your ear? Does it radi­ate from your chest, towards your shoul­ders and beyond your body? Some­times when I hear a voice over the phone, it vibrates from the speaker at my ear, down the bone to the back of my neck, and sits there, hum­ming, behind my vocal cords.

Cus­tomer Ser­vice Agent is a sound per­for­mance piece explor­ing the call centre worker as a figure of sub­jec­tion to con­tem­po­rary cap­i­tal­ism, and the place of noise, inti­macy, and fan­tasy in this tedious, alien­ated work.

“Since work­ing in call cen­tres for a decade, I have been making art that explores this set­ting through sound. Call cen­tres are places of con­stant eaves­drop­ping: the work­ers listen to the callers, the team lead­ers listen to the work­ers, the man­agers listen to all. While cen­tres col­lect and trans­mit cer­tain types of ​‘signal’, I’m inter­ested in ​‘noise’: the inti­macy of words and sounds off-script, dis­in­te­grat­ing hold music played through impre­cise tele­phone lines, and dis­rup­tion.”

SAM KIDEL is a British artist, musi­cian and researcher. His 2016 album Dis­rup­tive Muzak (Death of Rave) was described by Boomkat as ​‘a modern ambi­ent mas­ter­piece… the most pre­scient record of our times’.

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ongoing investigation between Liquid Architecture and Melbourne Law School.