Jason Kahn 
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Works for Radio

Technique: piezo speakers, condenser microphone, amplifier

Seoul Artspace Seokyo
Seoul, Korea

November 19–26, 2009

"Seokyo" references the sonic environment of the busy Seokyo neighborhood of Seoul.

A stereo condensor microphone installed outside the Seoul Artspace Seokyo continuously feeds the sonic enironment of the street outside into the exhibition space and diffused over sixty piezo speakers installed within. Mirroring the sonic environment outside, the sounds are not processed in any way, though they do go through a subtle transformation due to the limited frequency range of the speakers.

Taking its cue from an earlier work of mine, "Nach innen nach aussen," "Seokyo" addresses our awareness of the mundane sonic environments we move through in our daily lives. Displaced to the exhibition space, these sounds – car passing, birds singing, a woman walking by in high heel shoes, a group of laughing children – take on an intense character, as if placed beneath a microscope and laid bare for their full perception in the otherwise empty exhibition space.

A subtle disconnect occurs after spending some time in the exhibition: at first one doesn't link the sounds in the exhibition space with the world outside, but gradually one perceives a synchronicity with movement and activity seen through the expanse of glass comprising one wall of the exhibition space. The sounds seem unreal, the world outside staged.

Why are these sounds so special when removed from their source? How will our perception of these sounds change when we leave the exhibition space? And how do these disembodied sounds change our sense of place and space when placed in the Seoul Artspace Seokyo?