Cry Wolf   

Kiasma, Museum of Contemporary Art, Helsinki, Finland
Part of Transience: Sound in the City
, curated by John Wynne, Rita Leppiniemi and Michael Madsen

 

John Wynne

"John Wynne's Cry Wolf dramatically increased the nervous pressure by occupying the space with a series of specially constructed 'false alarms' that provoke a new appreciaciation of the city as one (in)tensely saturated by unstable electronic signals."

Angus Carlyle (The Wire)

 

Cry Wolf made use of a set of auditory warnings designed from scratch (that is, they are not samples) in order to explore that dividing line between ignoring something because we hear it all the time and listening because it signifies something urgently applicable to ourselves. It also suggests an abstract beauty in alarms which is normally ignored because of their annoyance factor.

  

The only visual element in this work was the grid of 25 speakers installed against the huge central wall of Helsinki's stunning Museum of Contemporary Art.  The movement of sound was controlled by the Sound Gallery's automated diffusion system.  The title refers to the 'cry wolf syndrome' whereby operators in high-risk environments such as airplane cockpits and nuclear power plants begin to ignore alarm sounds because of the sheer frequency of false and relatively unimportant alarms. 

The other artists in Transience were David Cunningham, Jem Finer, Disinformation, Mikko Maasalo, Oivind Weingaarde and Patrick Kosk.