Els Viaene :: Ways of Seeing Sound


a poetic investigation of sound as a physical phenomenon

Exhibition / Lecture-Performance by Els Viaene

Opening performance: 3 February 2023 / 8PM

Performance: 4 February 2023 / 8PM

Exhibition: 5 – 19 February 2023 / 2 – 8PM

“Why can’t sounds be visible? 

Would the feedback from ear to eye cause fatal oscillation?”

(Pauline Oliveros) 

What is sound? What is this phenomenon that we can neither see nor touch, but can touch us?

The Belgian artist Els Viaene has been working for over 15 years with the medium of sound in large scale installations and compositions – the sound experience was always the end product. According to her perception, however, apparatuses, objects and technologies have always stood in the foreground – between her and the sound.

In Ways of seeing sound, she investigated sound at it’s source, approaching it as a physical phenomenon in the moment it is shaped: as vibration, wave, change in air pressure. She analyzed the opto-acoustic experiments collected by John Tyndall around 1876* and reconstructed in collaboration with the Ghent University Museum (GUM) many of the historical setups. Based on that, she developed a series of new experiments and methods to make sound visible and takes us on a journey of perception.

The exhibition for Liebig 12 is a Wunderkammer in which science and sound collide and the concepts of seeing and hearing blur. 

*John Tyndall – Sound, a course of eight lectures, 1876

concept and realisation: Els Viaene  technical assistance: Koen Daems  

video electronics: Elias Heuninck  

light design: Simon Siegmann  

support: Torsten Oetken  

curator: Carsten Stabenow / tunedcity.net  

Thanks to Ghent University Museum and Roland Carchon, Danny Van de Steene, Dirk Eeckhaut and Allegra Solitude / Liebig12

funded by initiative neue musik berlin e.V. and Flanders State of the Art,

produced by tunedcity in collaboration with liebig12