Ghosts of Noise
A multi-channel video installation with accompanying soundfield
Sadia, S (UK/CAN) Ghosts of Noise. Video installation(s) with accompanying multi-channel audio soundfield. 2009-present.
‘Ghosts of Noise’ is a reaction to, and comment on, the ‘aesthetics of the machine’, in this case the machine being the information delivery complex. In media theory it locates itself in, among others, McLuhanism, Hannah Arendt’s writings on the effects of modern technology on humanity, Walter Benjamin’s ‘fragmentation of political discourse’, as well as the tensions between the revealing and concealing of truth.
The work is updated with new material on a rolling basis.
“Some time during the course of the current world crises, I became interested in news. The cyclical and 24 hour nature of the delivery, alongside the multiplicity of delivery formats, combined to produce ever-increasing layers of disturbance, streams of facts, figures, voices and faces that layered themselves one upon the other to produce an omnipresent ‘noise’ that permeated both my consciousness and psyche.
“The more aware I became of the ‘noise’ of information-delivery in my environment, the more the pressure, level, and tension seemed to build in my inner self, mind and ear. The only means of freeing myself from this phenomenon was to undergo a form of exorcism.
“I recorded a multitude of newscasters from the widest assortment of news channels available to me. I then layered the images one over the other, creating either ‘noise’ (from the news feeds), or ‘ghosts’ or ‘entities’ (out of the newscasters), a generic ‘everyperson’ built out of a multiplicity of moving images. It was only on completion of this work that inner peace was restored. The entities, these beautiful, unsettling and haunting ‘ghosts of noise’, had now been sent out to occupy the world.
“The work exists in a number of different iterations, and is updated with new material on a rolling basis, with each iteration providing a fresh reading of the media zeitgeist.”
‘Static’: twenty four (24) layered news channels. Audio: ninety six (96) layers of news broadcasters’ signature themes and two hundred and fifty six (256) layers of voices, comprising newscasters, interviewees, etc.
‘Blend’: twenty (20) channels of male & female newsreaders, newscasters, and the occasional correspondent. The audio component for the work is two hundred and fifty-six (256) layers of voices drawn from newscasts.
‘Male’: six (6) channels of layered feeds of male newscasters. Accompanying two hundred and fifty-six layer voice-based audio soundtrack.
‘Female’: six (6) channels of layered feeds of female newscasters. Accompanying two hundred and fifty-six layer voice-based audio soundtrack.
The work was first workshopped during Sadia's 'Studio 18' visiting international artist residency program at Gertrude Contemporary in Melbourne, Australia, in September 2009, and has since been developed as a multi-channel piece.
On June 10th & 11th 2015, ‘Ghosts of Noise’ was screened and discussed as part of the international colloquium ‘Les Devenirs Artistiques de L’Information’ at Sorbonne Paris, co-sponsored by Le Bauhaus-Universität Weimar & Internationales Kolleg für Kulturtechnikforschung und Medienphilosophie (IKKM), the Birmingham Center for Media and Cultural Research, and ELICO Equipe de recherche de Lyon.
‘The Model Citizen’, February 8th - March 23rd 2019, RMIT Galleries, Melbourne, Australia. Three channel installation with accompanying eight channel soundfield.
“Model citizenship exists in the tension between compliance and subversion, in the friction between individual integrity and the needs of the state.” - Sadia Sadia, from ‘The Model Citizen’ catalogue
“Model Citizenship takes on the challenge of activating the role that art can play in modelling forms of contemporary citizenship. It asks, what does it mean to be a citizen or non-citizen today? More boldly, it suggests that through modelling, art becomes political life and that citizenship can be transformed or re-modelled in the process.
“The artists involved in this exhibition share similar beliefs: that thinking through making establishes and nourishes the way public life is experienced and understood; that as creative and critical stakeholders, artists have a central role to play in shaping the world anew; and that through the very act of modelling, creative processes become social practices, making and unmaking citizenship as it does so.” - curatorial statement, ‘The Model Citizen’
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Photo credit, 'The Model Citizen’, installation image stills (1) and (2), RMIT Gallery, by Mark Ashkanasy