May 22–June 13, 2015
The Kitchen, 512 W 19th Street
Opening Reception: Friday, May 22, 5–8 pm
S/N, an abbreviation for signal-to-noise ratio, refers to the relation between a message and the background noise emanating from the materials and environments it traverses. An exhibition of diverse practices including video, performance, conceptual writing, and music, S/N examines the material complexities of sound as a force that both allows and frustrates communication. While the works on view employ various media, they all interrogate the historical and political contexts of audibility: how, where, and when something can be heard.
Approaching sound as we experience it in the world, S/N considers sound as a crucial component of a broader landscape. Reverberating through the social and material world, sound is a physical force that can make communication possible even as it rattles against meaning. As a vehicle for speech, sound carries the voice of the law but also serves as the means for subversive language. Examining sound as both an instrument of power and a possible tool of subversion, S/N moves from language into noise and back again in order to explore the limits and possibilities of the audible.
The exhibition features works by Sonia Boyce and Ain Bailey, Cammisa Buerhaus, James Coleman, Manon de Boer, Joan La Barbara, Tracie Morris, Vanessa Place, Steve Reinke, Lis Rhodes, SCRAAATCH, Masha Tupitsyn, Ultra-red, Galina Ustvolskaya, and Jackie Wang.
S/N is curated by Alexander Fleming, Anya Komar, and Blair Murphy, the 2014–15 Helena Rubinstein Curatorial Fellows of the Independent Study Program.
Steve Reinke, My Name Is Karlheinz Stockhausen, 2010. Digital video, color, sound; 6:15 min. Courtesy the artist and Video Data Bank
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The ISP provides a setting within which students pursuing art practice, curatorial work, art historical scholarship, and critical writing engage in ongoing discussions and debates that examine the historical, social, and intellectual conditions of artistic production.
S/N takes place at The Kitchen (not the Whitney Museum of American Art) and its hours are: Tuesday–Friday, 12–6 pm; Saturday, 11–6 pm. All events held in conjunction with S/N will take place at The Kitchen and the Whitney Museum of American Art. Please refer to specific event listings to confirm location.
This exhibition is free and open to the public.
Support for the Independent Study Program is provided by Margaret Morgan and Wesley Phoa, The Capital Group Charitable Foundation, and the Whitney Contemporaries through their annual Art Party benefit.
Endowment support is provided by Joanne Leonhardt Cassullo, the Dorothea L. Leonhardt Fund of the Communities Foundation of Texas, the Dorothea L. Leonhardt Foundation, and the Helena Rubinstein Foundation.