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The Ears Have Walls: A Survey of Sound Games

David Kanaga and Fernando Ramallo - Panoramical

David Kanaga and Fernando Ramallo - Panoramical

The Ears Have Walls:
A Survey of Sound Games
Curated by Chaz Evans and Stephan Moore
December 1, 2017 - February 25, 2018
Opening reception: Friday, December 1, 5-8pm
VGA Gallery public viewing hours: Wednesdays 5-8pm/Sundays 12-5pm

Human awareness of space is a constant negotiation between many senses -- hearing, vision, and proprioception. Underneath our primary focus on the visible world, our ears, minds, and tactile faculties constantly play with economies of attention; favoring some sounds over others, registering the physical dimensions of our surroundings, distinguishing voices from background atmosphere, or filtering everything out except one critical auditory message. The sonic world is oversaturated with options, and we constantly parse through them seeking cues to significant occurrences, with a listening attention that is both deliberate and involuntary.

The artworks in this exhibition experiment with those economies by inverting the ratio of attention between the screen and the speakers within the conventions of video games. In doing so, they experiment with assigning audio to a lead role instead of merely a support for video or a confirmation of transmitted commands. As an under-recognized, but longstanding, genre in video games, sound games offer frameworks and pose questions that help us better understand and develop new strategies for listening; especially for a historical moment where listening is integrated with electronic media as a constitutive part of everyday experience.

Including work by:

  • Robin Arnott
  • Michael T. Astolfi and Aaron Rasmussen
  • Copenhagen Games Collective
  • David Kanaga and Fernando Ramallo
  • Rob Lach
  • Scott Smallwood
  • and more

VGA Gallery is generously supported by The MacArthur Funds for Arts and Culture at The Richard H. Driehaus Foundation, a CityArts Grant from the City of Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs & Special Events, the Illinois Arts Council Agency, individuals and private and corporate foundations. 

@ VGA Gallery, 2418 W Bloomingdale Ave #102, Chicago, IL, 60647