Bow Gamelan Ensemble: Great Noises That Fill the Air, Exhibition, Cooper Gallery, Dundee

Sophia Hao (Curator)

    Research output: Non-textual formExhibition

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    Exhibition Dates: 26 October 2018 - 15 December 2018
    Venue: Cooper Gallery, DJCAD, Dundee

    Cooper Gallery is delighted to stage Great Noises that Fill the Air, the first retrospective of influential artist collective Bow Gamelan Ensemble (Anne Bean, Paul Burwell, Richard Wilson). Utilising found objects, invented instruments and everyday sound, Bow Gamelan Ensemble have, since 1983, inspired generations of artists with their radical collaborative and cross-disciplinary practice. 

    Embodying an urgently creative and discursive space resonating with improvisation, camaraderie, provocation and antagonism, Bow Gamelan Ensemble is driven by the uniquely subversive and collective sensibilities of Bean, Burwell and Wilson. Charged with their individual virtuosity in performance art, avant-garde music and kinetic sculpture, Bow Gamelan Ensemble’s sound installations and performances are immersed in an orchestra of instruments made from scrap metal, electric motors, river barges and domestic objects including glass sheets, light bulbs and fireworks. With this passionate and radical sojourn in the possibilities of sound and light, Great Noises that Fill the Air engineers a live interrogation of the dissonance between ‘noise’ and ‘meaningful utterance’ that astonishes the ears and ravishes the imagination with unearthly magic.

    At the loud heart of Great Noises that Fill the Air is a radical take on archival display. Acting as a ‘symbolic score’ heralding new ways of perceiving and creating sound, this newly commissioned kinetic sound installation Bow Lines features sketches, photographs and ephemera from Bow Gamelan Ensemble’s archive placed on ‘music stands’ and bracketed by two giant “thunder sheets”. Underscored by the tumultuous din of their experimental collaborations this collaborative acoustic instrument is activated live by Anne Bean and Richard Wilson at the opening ceremony of the exhibition, filling Cooper Gallery with a vast spectrum of sound rippling on the cusp of meaning.

    At the preview of Great Noises that Fill the Air, Anne Bean and Richard Wilson present a newly developed live performance, Nalemag 2, in their new incarnation as W0B. With support from students at Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art & Design, W0B conjures the unorthodox magic of Bow Gamelan Ensemble using their repertoire and scores of bangs, taps, thumps, rattles, echoes, whispers, blasts, booms, clangs, clashes, howls, peals, pops, roars, rolls, rumbles, slams, smashes, thuds, thumps, thunder, whams, hums, murmurs, purrs, shouts, grunts, hisses, hollers, hoots, claps, screams, screeches, shrieks, wails, whines, whistles, whoops, yammers, sniffs, sobs, squalls, whimpers, groans, laments and sighs.
    Original languageEnglish
    Place of PublicationUniversity of Dundee
    PublisherCooper Gallery
    Media of outputOther
    Publication statusPublished - 2018


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