The power of Sound and Architecture
28 August 2013
In buildings, sound is usually an intrusion, a sign that something has gone wrong. Buildings are a way of helping us to control our environments by separating the wild, ungovernable world of nature and the safe, predictable world of the domestic. And, because nature is full of noises, one of the most important signifiers of this control over the environment is silence. This is why, in traditional ghost stories, sound is often the first sign of trouble. A creaking chair, a squeaking floorboard, a painting falling off a wall, all these are signs that the control we thought we had is breaking down. They are also reminders that our buildings are made of the same stuff as the world outside, however processed and muted, and as such are just as alien and, potentially, as dangerous.
Katarzyna Krakoviak's installation Chute explores these same concerns about the inner, subconscious life of buildings. It undermines the traditional idea of an art gallery, in many ways the apogee of that Apollonian ideal of buildings as silent, controlled places, and makes the FACT building itself the subject, turning it into something monstrous, vital and unsettling. The space reminded me of an attic, one of the dark places in any building, in which distorted groans and wails echoed from the walls and ceilings, punctuated by crashes and clatters from behind the scenes. They were the sounds of a building turning itself inside out, showing the darkness underneath.
The exhibition Turning FACT Inside Out continues until 15 September and more information is available from the exhibition's Project page