Photo credit: Terry Perdanawati. Event: Sound Scene 2022. Image descriptions/alt-text: A photo of five monitors displaying five same videos but with five different sound captions. Two loudspeakers are on the monitors’ sides.
In Which to Trust?
in collaboration with Bill Davies, Josephine Dickinson, Ed Garland, Alan Jacques, and Terry Perdanawati.
5-channel sound-captioned video and stereo audio installation,
In Which to Trust? invites us to rethink our understanding of sound. This work comprises sound captions by five aurally diverse listeners, revealing how the sonic sources—the acoustical energy—actually “sound” according to their diverse hearing apparatuses. These differences between the sonic sources and the various captioners’ interpretations leave us a choice of what we should refer to when talking about sound: the objects triggering the sensations, our hearing apparatuses, or both? In which will you trust?
The five aurally diverse people collaborating in this artwork are Bill Davies, Josephine Dickinson, Ed Garland, Alan Jacques, and Terry Perdanawati (learn more about their bios below). With their diverse hearing profiles, they listened to the sounds of the provided videos and manifested their interpretations and listening experiences by writing sound captions. In Which to Trust? centers on diverse experiences as a vital form of knowledge and blatantly exposes how the notion of sound still glorifies the idealized, healthy, and ‘normal’ pair of ears.
Advancing understanding of the experience of aurally diverse listeners, In Which to Trust? is an audiovisual essay using art as a means of knowledge production.
About the sound-captioners:
Bill Davies is a professor of psychoacoustics. He has a lifelong interest in sound, especially human perception of complex sound scenes. His own hearing is somewhat divergent, with a typical age-related loss at high frequencies, a noise-induced loss from loud rock music, and some processing differences associated with being autistic.
From a working-class background, Josephine Dickinson took a Classics degree at Oxford, then studied composition with Michael Finnissy and Richard Barrett, and later published four books of poetry. She has collaborated widely with artists, musicians, and writers. Profoundly deaf since childhood and totally deaf since 2012, her experiences throughout this and after receiving a cochlear implant have fundamentally informed her artistic practice.
Ed Garland is the author of the essay collection Earwitness: A Search for Sonic Understanding in Stories, which won the New Welsh Writing awards in 2018. He recently completed a PhD at Aberystwyth University in the analysis of sonic experience in contemporary fiction. He experiences permanent tinnitus and noise-induced hearing loss above 3kHz.
Alan Jacques is 76, a retired doctor and classical pianist/accompanist with extensive concert experience. He has had Ménière’s disease for 15 years, with severe bilateral hearing impairment. He can converse one-to-one with hearing aids, but has almost complete cochlear amusia for pitch. He continues to play using the psychological ‘inner ear.’
Terry Perdanawati is a part-time copywriter and translator and a full-time art enjoyer. Trained in business administration and English as a Foreign Language, she used to be a corporate secretary and English instructor before working with Jay Afrisando on his music and art projects. She is currently a hearing person.
Sound-Captioners: Bill Davies, Josephine Dickinson, Ed Garland, Alan Jacques, and Terry Perdanawati
Project Manager: Terry Perdanawati
Sound Recordist, Mixing Engineer, and Videographer: Jay Afrisando
Sounds and Visuals Recorded at various places in Minnesota and Wyoming in 2021 and 2022.
This project was supported by the Jerome Foundation through the Jerome Hill Artist Fellowship 2021-22.
Sound Scene 2022, Smithsonian Hirshhorn National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Washington, DC, US on 4-5 June 2022.