center for contemporary non-objective art


Earwitness 2002

Guy De Bièvre

CCNOA, Brussels (B)

"Like fire, sound is temporal, coming into existence at the moment of its passing away,hovering between being and non-being, more of an event than an object."

Frances Dyson

Audio Art is a product of the technological evolution. Its roots are to be found at the end of the 19th century with the invention of the phonograph, the telephone and some time later also the radio. All of a sudden man was able to fix the immaterial and move or displace it. The nowadays commonplace virtual reality is a contemporary resultant of this; the fourth dimension has been transferred from theoretical physics to the leisure industry. For artists the ephemeral sound medium became shapeable matter. Especially during the last decade where technology has produced affordable high grade tools providing a continuous resolution improvement (strangely enough the opposite has happened to the visual media, where resolution has been regressing: from the very fine grain of slides and film to the coarse lines and pixels of video and computer images.)
CCNOA wants to provide audio artists with a ’stage’ to present their works. The conventional concert facilities, regardless of sound amplification technology achievements, still approach music in a 19th century manner - there seem to be unwritten rules about average concert length (with a clear beginning and ending) and about the positioning of the audience in comparison to the sound source, as a negation of the multi dimensional aspect of sound, or as an overrating of the visual aspect of the event. Although these ideas are slowly becoming global we should not forget that they are often typically western.
On the other hand museums and galleries are seldom or never equipped and/or designed to host sound art and are often very object oriented (a loudspeaker often receives visual rather than aural attention.)
With Earwitness CCNOA wants to be a platform for audio art, not during the exhibitions of visual art, but next to them, on an equal base, in a neutral space, free from visual distraction. There has been a very conscious selection of artists with a musical background, for whom sound is the only material (this as opposed to sculptors building sound sculptures or music machines.)
The Earwitness events are presented in a similar format: an evening presentation with the artist on Friday and continuous installation on Saturday and Sunday afternoons.

The artists who took part in Earwitness to this date were: Sam Ashley, Justin Bennett, Maria Blondeel, Jens Brand, Paul Craenen, Tom Hamilton, Yolande Harris, Hans W. Koch, Tilman Küntzel, Anne La Berge, Minoru Sato, Michael J Schumacher, Esther Venrooy, Heinz Weber, Anne Wellmer, Hildegard Westerkamp.