Start very quiet and get very loud

Works by Christine Sun Kim, Hildegarde Westerkamp, and Christopher Willes. Published by 8-11 Gallery in Toronto, 2016. Part of the exhibition "Every sound is a small action and broke world".

45 pages
20 x 25 cm
Limited first edition (45 copies)
perfect bound / softcover with 4 inserts
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The publication “start very quiet and get very loud” brings together the work of three artists who consider the socio-political dimension of sound and listening in relation to public space, and the space of the page.

American artist Christine Sun Kim contributed a series of drawings which articulate an ambiguous and playfully poetic graphic language somewhere between musical notation and American Sign Language gestures. Born deaf, much of Kim’s work rethinks her relationship to the very nature of sound as a communication medium, redrawing notions of understanding, trust, and power in relation to audibility. In doing so she explores the notion of sound as a form of social currency.

Christopher Willes has contributed a set of three experimental graphic scores which play on traditions of “sonification” (the well practiced process of translating data into music which has dominated much of 20th century contemporary classical music). The scores are made in response to images of protest and police crowd control tactics, which the artist witnessed during the Toronto G20 Summit (2010), and the Montreal student uprisings (2012/13). Transposing the patterns of bodies within the images into the plane of musical notation, the scores produce a spatial choreography of sound on the page, and ambiguously suggest a further musical action to be determined by the reader.

Lastly, the influential Canadian composer, acoustic ecologist, and sound-walking pioneer Hildegard Westerkamp contributed a text which was originally written in 1995. In it she explores the psychological and political implications of sound on the listener within public space, and elaborates how normative gender paradigms might be entangled in how we listen, both to each other and our environment– a notion worth interrogating anew today.

Book design: Xenia Benivolski and Christopher Willes
Printing: swimmersgroup
ASMR video: Yuula Benivolski
Special thanks to Pöny for hand modelling

We acknowledge the support of the Ontario Arts Council and the Canada Council for the Arts in developing this project.