BARRAGE
Design Centre, Belfast

Have you heard this one? A group of artists approach businesses housed in an award-winning converted warehouse in Belfast's docks area with a view to presenting an in-house "sound works" exhibition to a somewhat harnessed (and, possibly, harassed) audience. That was Catalyst Arts' proviso when they rounded up a team for their latest project at the Design Centre.

There's not much to see at this show but, despite the fact that a few of the works on offer are nothing other than dredged audible detritus, not all the artists represented lack vision.

Mike Hogg has produced one of the simplest and most effective pieces, entitled Muse (birdsong transmitted through air vents). In the industrial bustle and mealy air of Corporation Street even virtual twitters and chirps can soothe.

Mary McIntyre's Please Enter must be the bane of the chap-in-the-office-next-door's life. A phone rings incessantly. One opens a door. The ringing ceases. The room is empty; not a trimphone or fax machine in sight. One closes the door. The ringing begins again. Where Mclntyre's piece is irritating but clever, Sandra Johnson's cacophony of noise pollution upstairs is simply irritating.

On the same floor, Gerald Vance's sampled, composed and arranged office sounds, delivered via telephone, offer some reprieve, while in the under-used, light-filled atrium downstairs one can pull up a bar stool and listen to the syrupy, site-specific pontifications of an architect in Mark Orange's 14'43", a tapeloop played through a portable radio.

Gavin Weston


The Sunday Times, 25 June 1995

Gavin Weston, 'Barrage', The Sunday Times, June 25, 1995


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