• Soundings: An Exhibition in Five Parts
    by Whess Harman

  • Posted by @hauntprojects on 02/11/2021
    View original Instagram post at instagram.com/hauntprojects/.

    I’m not sleeping well and I don’t know anyone who is. No amount of sleepy time teas, melatonin, valerian root or CBD seems to be helping. It doesn’t matter what I put on the stereo; deep waves of slowcore distortion or ponderous instrumentals. There’s too much tension knotted up in my body, which aches to throw itself against thunder. An endless, monotonous run-on sentence has been numbly bushwhacking its way through my thoughts since last year. No warm hums, no cradling quiet or crushing tumult of sound to descend under. As sleep aids reach their zenith, my pained wakefulness presses past it into the exhausted resignation of sunless morning hours.

    Sound is an occupation of space and walking through the Soundings exhibition, curated by Candice Hopkins and Dylan Robinson at the Belkin, what struck me most was how tired I am with my own noise.

    Raven Chacon’s and Cristóbal Martínez’s, A Song Often Played on the Radio, was an immediate reminder of how much space there really is left to fill in what feels like a shrunken world. Our group of five was immediately engulfed in the teasing, searching expansiveness of the work. Over it, we were grateful to hear one another’s laughter, to see one another’s reactions as the film ran its’ 24 minutes. Through the exhibition, there were familiar sounds and works; things I’ve seen in previous iterations or heard in formulative wonderings and I was hit with a pang of a particular kind of homesickness. It’s the kind of homesick that can only be filled in with the warmth of the voices of those you miss most; of filling space with one another’s noise.

    [Image description: An installation image of Peter Morin’s NDN Love Songs. Seven flat screen monitors are installed in a horizontal row across a white wall. The monitors display a variety of views and closeups of hand drums, each differently hued. A pair of headphones extends from the second monitor on the left.]

    Soundings felt akin to the most “sacrit” practice of…visiting. Going to house of acoustic house and settling into the comforting aural holds. Home sounds, visiting sounds here stretched out into thoughtful distortions, shifting and notched in against one another; air warmly reverberating with deep notes across your skin and setting hot in the pit of your stomach like a warm meal; hamburger soup, moose chow mein, fish cheeks, rice and Red Rose. Smoothing out one another’s tremulous, anxious psychic screeches with NDN Love Songs.

    -Whess Harman

    Soundings: An Exhibition in Five Parts
    Morris and Helen Belkin Art Gallery, Vancouver, BC
    September 8–December 6, 2020

    Peter Morin, NDN Love Songs, 2018 – ongoing, vinyl transfer, digital video with Navarana Igloliorte. Collection of the artist. Installed at the Morris and Helen Belkin Art Gallery, University of British Columbia. Photo: Rachel Topham Photography.

    This post was made possible through a donation of $250 from Project Society. The author was paid $250 for their work. To support haunt texts with a donation, please direct message @hauntprojects or email us at info@hauntgallery.ca