Sit on beanbag chairs and listen to fascinating soundscapes at MOCCA.
DAMN YOUR EYES: THE INFINITE DIMENSION OF SOUND at MOCCA (Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art, 952 Queen West), to August 17. 416-395-0067. Rating: NNNN
There’s not much to see at the MOCCA this summer, but plenty for the ears. Focusing entirely on sound pieces, Camilla Singh transforms the gallery into a cool, darkened listening room for sound collages, ambient compositions and imaginative soundscapes by seven artists, groups and collaborators.
After you pass through the curtains that lead to this exploratory auditory smorgasbord, the first thing you hear is the soundtrack of the main room, Quartet For Dot Matrix Printer, by [The User], in which the recently antiquated printers provide a rhythmic drone that oddly recalls a didgeridoo.
This enervating soundtrack surrounds a large cube studded with fluorescent tubes that glow in soothing gradients of orange, assembled by Raster-?Noton. Inside is a stark white listening room where you can hear the entire soundtrack of Coh Plays Cosey, a 50-?minute sound collaboration featuring Cosey Fanni Tutti, performance artist and founding member of the seminal industrial band Throbbing Gristle, uttering a string of sensual sibilants and plosives.
The last room is devoted entirely to listening. Here, caramel-coloured beanbag chairs with their own pairs of headphones feature different sonic environments.
Matmos cheekily turns Valerie Solanis’s SCUM Manifesto into an industrial dance tune/spoken word piece, an idea so gleefully weird it works. Darren Copeland plunges you into a lush and foreboding sonic wave that brings to mind a Lynchian hallway or a Precambrian swamp.
Tara Rodgers refreshes the aural palate with her array of bright minimalist bell tones and sounds from Montreal’s Beaver Lake, while Walter Kitundu offers pleasing and slightly dull ecologically sensitive loops of gamelan coupled with flute.
Time is an essential component of listening, and this is an exhibit that encourages you to return and develop a relationship with each piece. Use it as a sanctuary throughout the summer, and refresh your ears.