'Sound Seam' is a film which gives voice to the idea that every surface, in particular parts of our anatomy, is potentially inscribed with an unheard sound or echoes of voices from the past. The soundtrack’s musical composition is interlaced with a voice-over which draws on Rainer Maria Rilke’s text 'Primal Sound', where he reflects on the possibility of playing the coronal suture of a skull with a phonograph needle. The overlapping voices of the narratives tell a forensic love story of yearning, encryption, inscription, decoding, memory and erasure. The film uses microscopic photography, scanning electron microscopy, and sounds of otoacoustic emissions to uncover haunting aural bonescapes. The voiceovers too are recorded using old sound technology as a filter - writing and over-writing of wax cylinder to create unexpected scratches, glitches, loops and echoes. The music is composed and recorded onto wax cylinder and acetate discs by composer and phonographer Aleks Kolkowski.
During 2009-2010 Aura was artist-in-residence at UCL's Ear Institute, where she undertook research into hearing anatomy and shot most of the microscopic footage, including a golden cochlea, an ear drum and inner ear hair cells. The horn sequences of the film were shot at the Museum for Music Automatons in Seewen (Switzerland), during their temporary exhibition "When Sound Still Came from the Horn". All close-ups of acetate discs and wax cylinder sound grooves are from the private collection of Aleks Kolkowski.
Written, directed, filmed and edited by Aura Satz
Music and sound recordings onto wax cylinder and acetate discs made by Aleks Kolkowski
Voiceovers by Aleks Kolkowski and Aura Satz
Otoacoustic emission recordings provided by Prof. David Kemp and recorded onto wax cylinder.
Aura would like to thank all staff at the Ear institute, in particular David McAlpine, David Kemp, Andy Forge, Dan Jagger, Ruth Taylor, Jonathan Ashmore, Torsten Marquardt, Kate Lay, Neil Roberts and Bradford Backus. Special thanks also to Christoph E. Hanggi at the Museum for Music Automatons.
Aura would also like to thank Shira Hess, David Edelsztein and of course Leila for their patience and support throughout.
Sound Seam exhibitions:
Transcendence: A Suite Three-person show alongside Nell and Angelica Mesiti at Gertrude Contemporary, Melbourne
14 March – 17 April 2014 Gertrude Contemporary 200 Gertrude St, Fitzroy
Melbourne VIC 3065
Sound Seam was shown as part of the exhibition Samsung Art+ Prize BFI Southbank, London
18-29 January 2012
Samsung Electronics are delighted to present the UK’s first ever prize for new media art. A shortlist of 10 emerging and established contemporary artists has been selected by a panel of curators from leading arts organisations for a two-week exhibition at the BFI Southbank. Opening on 18 January 2012, the exhibition will include new work as well as pieces that have never been shown before in the UK.
The Samsung Art+ Prize aims to highlight artists who reveal the ways technologies can touch our lives. All of the selected artists must be a citizen of, educated in or currently residing in the UK and they have been nominated
for work they have created in the past three years. The shortlisted artists selected are: Neil Cummings, Doug Fishbone, Iain Forsyth and Jane Pollard, Torsten Lauschmann, Lucky PDF, Aura Satz, Hiraki Sawa, Semiconductor, Erika Tan and Thomsonand Craighead.
The resulting shortlist showcases the diverse range of practice offered by new media, and includes artists working in screen friendly idioms as well as those exploring diverse strategies of communication such as performance, sculpture and music.
The 10 nominated artists have been selected for their ability to expand and challenge our understanding of the role of new media. In the era of smart media the prize will celebrate the unique ways in which artists respond to the changing world and embrace the possibilities offered by different media opportunities; not only as platforms of production and research but also as new modes of communication beyond the traditional gallery.
The judges including Jan Dalley, Arts Editor at the Financial Times; Dr. Peter Weibel, Chairman and CEO of the ZKM Centre for Art and Media; Stuart Comer, Curator of Film, Tate Modern; Jiyoon Lee, Director of SUUM; and New York based media artist, Sooja Kim.
Sound Seam exhibition premiere at AV FESTIVAL10:
Aura Satz in collaboration with Aleks Kolkowski
5 - 14 March 2010
Sound Seam premiered at the AV festival in Newcastle in March 2010 as a complex filmic sound installation in collaboration with Aleks Kolkowski, featuring 20 original phonograph and gramophone horns, a number of hearing trumpets and an 8ft auxetophone horn on loan from the Discovery Museum in Newcastle.
The film, film installation and publication were funded by the Wellcome Trust.
Documentation of the installation at the AV festival can be seen on The Wire website.
AV FESTIVAL 10: Energy presents the world premiere of Sound Seam, an atmospheric film installation by artist Aura Satz in collaboration with musician Aleks Kolkowski.
The installation explores sound inscription, encryption, decoding and the material quality of memory. It draws on the German poet Rilke's 1919 text Primal Sound in which he proposes that the groove-like line of a skull (the coronal suture) could be played with a gramophone needle. The mesmeric film uses microscopic close-ups of gramophone grooves, wax and acetate shavings, phonograph cylinder recording and erasing technology, as well as footage of the anatomy of the ear, where inner ear hair cells have been animated to look like a sound groove, and a gold-plated cochlea spirals like a shellac disc. The musical soundtrack is derived from the analysis of sounds made by playing a gramophone needle across a skull and from otoacoustic sounds emitted by the ear. Every one of the hundred-odd recordings used has been individually cut onto a wax cylinder or disc record, some even over-written so as to create unexpected surface noises, scratches, glitches, loops and echoes. You are invited to listen to a magnificent array of original phonograph, gramophone horns and ear trumpets and piece together the various strands of this intriguing 'forensic love story' voice-over which draws on Rilke's text.
Guided Exhibition Tour of Great North Museum: Hancock and Hatton Gallery, Saturday 6 March, 2.30-3.30pm. Tour starts with Sound Seam.
Exhibition produced by AV Festival 10 in partnership with Great North Museum: Hancock. Funded by The Wellcome Trust and produced during an Artist Residency at the Ear Institute, UCL, London. Sound design produced with support from the AHRC.
Pop-up Cinema at Christie’s South Kensington
with screenings of films by Aura Satz. Part of Supersonix Symposium, Exhibition Road, London
21-23 June 2012
Thursday 21st and Friday 22nd: 11am to 6pm; and Saturday 23rd 11am to 1pm
23rd June 2.45-4.45pm: A screening of an additional selection of films curated by Aura Satz, including films by Manon de Boer, Jayne Parker and Luke Fowler
'Sound Seam' screened as part of a selection of artist's films curated by the Wellcome Collection
Artprojx Cinema at the SVA Theatre, New York
in association with The Armory Show & VOLTA NY
1-6 March 2011