Inaugural photography exhbition

Artist John Bodin, new YAVA gallery director Dakini Maddock and outgoing gallery director Andrew Chew. Picture: KATE BAKER

YAVA Gallery and Arts Hub’s latest exhibition, Soundscape, explores the union of image and sound through compelling pairings of photography and audio.

Outgoing gallery director Andrew Chew said it was the first photography exhibition displayed at YAVA and that it was originally set to take place in 2020 before the Covid-19 pandemic forced the gallery doors shut.

“It came from the idea that a video feeds you all the information: the sound, the movement and the visual. This was to provide photographs and pair them with sound recordings.

“It was up to the sound artist to interpret the photograph. Some people composed music, some made field recordings and it’s basically to compliment the photograph.”

‘Sound Domes’ have been installed from the gallery ceiling and hang over each photograph to provide an added audio experience. A gallery visitor can simply walk underneath the dome, which features a speaker, where they will hear audio tailor made with the choice of photo.

“Every photograph gives you a different experience. And it’s an experience created by the photographer and the sound artist,” Mr Chew said.

And YAVA members were crafty in creating the custom made sound domes to help keep the exhibition in line with the art gallery’s not-for-profit budget.

“We made them ourselves out of two dollar Coles salad bowls and a ten dollar bluetooth speaker,” Mr Chew said.

“Instead of one thousand dollars a pop, they’re twenty dollars,” said YAVA CEO Kate Baker.

The domes feature magnets to hold the speakers in place overhead where they play sounds on a loop. The magnets allow for them to be easily removed and charged overnight.

Artist John Bodin is one of nine local photographers to have his work featured in Soundscape. He said he is surprised this form of audio and visual pairings aren’t utilised more often in art galleries.

“It’s just a really nice way to integrate our senses of sight and sound.”

His piece, ‘Stumbling Into Grace’ (pictured), features a seascape of a jetty and is paired with field recordings of waves crashing.

Ms Baker also has a photograph featured in the exhibition. She worked with well-known local composer Tom Fitzgerald, who wrote a piece that was his interpretation of her photograph.

“It takes you into a whole extra space,” she said. “When you stand inside and you’re immersed in that sound experience it feels to me about a 500 per cent increase in intensity. You’re really dialing up the experience.

“I loved that somebody can be moved by an image and can care enough about it that they actually want to respond to it in their own artform. To me it’s very exciting.”

Soundscape is on display at YAVA until 16 May from Wednesday to Sunday 11am-5pm and will soon feature Soundscape Journeys Concert on 2 May. For more information, visit: https://www.yava.org.au/