Blending science, technology, art and performance, This is a Voice is an exhibition that reveals the power of the voice before and beyond words. Exclusive to the Powerhouse Museum from 11 August 2017 – 28 January 2018, the immersive exhibition explores how the voice is fundamentally connected to human life and identity. This is a Voice is presented in partnership with the Wellcome Collection, London. The exhibition will be a highlight of this year’s Sydney Science Festival program.
“This is a Voice epitomises MAAS’ commitment to working with the best partners internationally to explore the intersection of art and science. In exploring the human voice, physically and psychologically, this is a unique look at an aspect of humanity that is at once deeply personal and universal,” said MAAS Director and CEO Dolla Merrillees.
“We are also thrilled to be working with some of Australia’s top artists, co-presenting performances at Performance Space at Carriageworks and Liveworks Festival of Experimental Art,” said Ms Merrillees.
This exhibition is an acoustic journey that brings together international and Australian artists, vocalists and artefacts from both the MAAS and Wellcome Collection and features a number of specially commissioned works and performances including major new works by Australian artist and composer Lawrence English. A People’s Choir is a giant interactive sound ‘chandelier’ that invites everyone to contribute to the creation of the work by recording their aspirations and dreams for the future. Utterance featuring 14 historical gramophone horns from the MAAS collection, brought to life in a sound installation that considers what it means when voices from some communities are not permitted to speak, especially in complex political times.
Also featured in the exhibition is the diary of Virginia Woolf from the British Library, detailing her struggle with ‘hearing voices,’ an interactive on the changing dynamics of Sydney accents and an Indigenous language reclamation work by Lille Madden in collaboration Jonathan Jones. Alongside these installations are medical models of the human larynx, research into ‘babytalk’, a chatbot designed to provide psychological care to Syrian refugees and a paintings by Emily Kngwarreye and Yukultji Napangati that express the deep relationship between ancestral voices and songlines.
Visitors can connect with and challenge the way their understanding of the physiology and psychology of the human voice at a range of special events. Turn your voice pattern into wearable jewelry, experience a 24 hour endurance vocal mass public choir and discover how infants acquire sounds and grammar in a series of interactive demonstrations and games.
Celebrate the launch of This is a Voice at MAASive Lates: Science at the Powerhouse Museum on 10 August. Join British artist Anna Barham’s performance using Voice Recognition Software on 12 August. Be a part of history in the Super Critical Mass 24 Hour Choir, an endurance exercise for the voice as a mass choir performs over a 24 hour period from 1pm 2 – 3 September at Observatory Hill. Agatha Gothe-Snape’s Rhetorical Chorus, featuring Joan La Barbara, will be performed at Carriageworks from 19-22 October, presented in collaboration with Performance Space as part of their Liveworks Festival of Experimental Art.