Installation of huge pile of speakers

John Wynne makes work for museums, galleries, public spaces and radio: it ranges from large-scale installations to delicate sculptural works; from architectural sound drawings to flying radios and 'composed documentaries' that hover between documentation and abstraction. His Installation for 300 speakers, Pianola and vacuum cleaner (left) was the first piece of sound art in the Saatchi collection and was the centrepiece of the gallery's 2010 summer show, which attracted over half a million visitors. He has worked with speakers of endangered languages in Botswana and Canada and with heart and lung transplant patients in the UK. He is Emeritus Professor of Sound Art at the University of the Arts London and has a PhD from Goldsmiths College, University of London.

 

 

 

I've been everywhere is a sculptural piece commissioned by the SONS (Shoes Or No Shoes) Museum in Belgium and made from mud collected on a marshland path frequented by Charles Dickens on the Thames Estuary in Kent.

On Something is an online exhibition with MOCA London  produced over a month of studio experimentation exploring the interaction of sound, images, objects, and text in a three-dimensional space. It unfolded incrementally throughout May 2021 as a series of 12 short Instagram videos: @mocalondon_we
All 12 videos can be seen here

Cats and Dogs is an online performance for violin and video developed for MOCA London during the first Coronavirus lockdown in London. The Zoom audience's window on the video footage shot by Denise Hawrysio was controlled by the sound of John's live violin. The piece was later performed for Gazelli Art House London and a recorded version shown in the 2020 Strangelove Film Festival in the UK.

Relaxation and Nothingness  is a film by Denise Hawrysio with sound by John Wynne. Developed from a live Zoom intervention made for MOCA London in April 2020.

I am the gigantic baobab is a collaborative film made with artist Sara Davidmann and young members of the LGBTQ+ community in Botswana. In 2020 it was selected for the Strangelove Festival in Folkestone and the Leeds Queer Film Festival.     

Ukraine Study was made for a Book Art Salon in London in 2019. It uses projection mapping and interactive sound techniques with video and sound recorded in Ukraine and violin played by Evie Hilyer Zeigler.

Birds I wouldn’t have heard conveys the impact of serious illness and organ transplantation on the daily lives and identity of recipients, live donors and those on the waiting list. This multichannel sound, photography and video installation was exhibited as part of the Spare Parts season at Science Gallery London in 2019.

Transplant and Life was a major exhibition of John's collaborative work with photographer Tim Wainwright at the Hunterian Museum in the Royal College of Surgeons, London. Based on the experiences of kidney, liver, pancreas, heart and lung transplant recipients and live donors, it consisted of 3 installations and ran from for 6 months to May 2017.

Hospital equipment with Silence button

HPNoSS is an interdisciplinary research project seeking to provide a holistic understanding of sound in the hospital environment and the intimate relationship of noise to sleep, rest, treatment and recovery.

Grave is a sculptural installation using multiple feedback loops which showed at Gazelli Art House, London, in 2015 and at the Wexford Arts Centre in Ireland in 2017.

This solo show was the culmination of a research residency in the Atrium Gallery at Bournemouth University, UK. It makes use of an almost 40 year old Atari computer with 1MB of RAM and no hard drive to explore relationships between drawing, architecture and sound.

I Am Not the Cancer is a video and sound installation based on women with advanced (metastatic) breast cancer. Developed in collaboration with photographer Tim Wainwright, different versions of the piece have shown in 10 cities, including London, Athens, Brussels, Nicosia, Basel and Dubai.

Nocturnal, a collaboration with filmmaker Atom Egoyan, was commissioned for Faster Than Sound by Jonathan Reekie, director of the Snape Maltings arts and music centre in the UK. It was a site-specific installation developed in a former kiln using video projection, a bespoke camera obscura, and 17 channels of sound.

Installation no 3 for high and low frequencies. This site-specific installation at Gazelli Art House, London, was the third in an ongoing series of works using only very high and very low frequency sound. See also installations 1 and 2 below.

Sparse installation with two large subwoofers and 8 tweeters on floor

Installation no 2 for high and low frequencies. "The critical shift in this installation is from apparent mimesis to a subtly unfolded artifice: permeable and open, prompting hesitation, the space created by Wynne does not display the purity of acoustic phenomena but points to the singular, changing engagement with sound that occurs at different times for different listeners." (Daniela Cascella, Frieze Magazine)

Sparse installation detail with large white subwoofer and tweeter on a stand

Installation no 1 for high and low frequencies. "The meeting of the low frequencies creates a sort of third volume around head height, a kind of churning volume, that is very interesting. The high frequency reverberations really delineate the space – you can feel the architecture from their movement and the way they bounce around." (David Toop)

The massive Installation for 300 speakers, player piano and vacuum cleaner was developed during an AHRC (Arts and Humanities Research Council) funded residency at Beaconsfield Gallery in London. It subsequently became the first piece of sound art in the Saatchi collection and showed at the Saatchi Gallery from June to October 2010. Brandon Labelle writes that the work "creates a soft balance between order and chaos, organization and its rupture".

Other installations for discarded but working hi-fi speakers include 230 Unwanted Speakers (Walnut Grained Vinyl Veneered Particleboard Construction), commissioned by Hull Art Lab in the UK.

John's first work for reclaimed speakers was Fallender ton für 207 lautsprecher boxen at Kunstfabrik, Berlin. According to one writer, it "sounded like heaven ... and hell".

Anspayaxw is a large-scale installation based on speakers of Gitxsanimaax, an endangered indigenous language in northern British Columbia, Canada. It has shown twice at the Museum of Anthropology in Vancouver as well as at the 'Ksan Cultural Centre in Gitxsan territory and at the American Anthropological Association conference in San Francisco. The project is the subject of book chapters in Playing with Words and Between Art and Anthropology.

What is What

What is What is a collaborative installation with Denise Hawrysio. Combining one of Wynne's early durational audio pieces with Hawrsyio's video of holding ice in her hand, the work was made for Frise Künstlerhaus in Hamburg Grermany.

Beating Tones and Flapping Wings was commissioned for the 2010 Cut & Splice Festival in London. This two-part installation made use of 40 recycled boom boxes, two radio transmitters and two flying radios.

Hearing Loss, and its later iteration, Cold Atlantic, are small sculptural installations making use of the feedback produced by the 6 hearing aids left by the artist's father when he died.

Faster Higher Stronger is a 5-channel installation which makes use of publicly visible graphic subversions of the Olympic rings gathered from various sources.

Hearing Voices is a body of work based on highly endangered 'click languages' spoken by the indigenous Khoi and San peoples in the Kalahari Desert. The installation has shown at the Botswana National Museum, the National Art Gallery of Namibia, the Brunei Gallery at SOAS and P3 Gallery in London. A half hour radio piece commissioned by the BBC won the Silver Award at the Third Coast International Audio Festival in Chicago.

An ongoing project of what could be described as architectural sound drawings began with an immersive, site-specific 16.1 channel installation in London described by Chloe Vaitsu as "a masterful experiment in controlled sound manipulation, intense and at times looming". The concept was developed during a residency at E:vent Gallery, where Sound CAD was exhibited; Wireframe, a larger scale version, was made for the Surrey Art Gallery in Vancouver in 2009.

The Transplant project developed through a year as artist-in-residence at one of the world's leading centres for heart and lung transplantation. Working with photographer Tim Wainwright, we recorded patients, the devices they were attached to or had implanted in them, and the hospital itself. "Both dignified and brutal, the Transplant installation evokes the melancholy and trauma that underpin this uncanny transaction" (The Guardian). A related radio commission for the BBC won the Bronze award at the Third Coast International Audio Festival. Transplant is also a book featuring responses to the project by writers on art, sound, anthropology and medicine as well as a video by Wainwright and Wynne.

Andromache, a contemporary adaptation of Racine by Graham McClaren for Necessary Angel and Luminato in Toronto. Wynne was nominated for a Dora Mavor Moore Award for Outstanding Sound Design and Composition.

Do(n't) began as an interactive installation in Barcelona in 2002, part of John's investigations into auditory warnings, which started with The Sound of Sirens (see below). It subsequently became a set of three text/sound pieces for an online journal and later played on the BBC's Big Screen in Hull.

Response Time, a large-scale, site-specific octaphonic installation in the urban park at Toronto's Metro Hall. Despite being part of Wynne's exploration of auditory warnings, the piece was described by one critic as "an ambient, ghost-like presence".

Cry_Wolf

Cry Wolf involved an arrangement of auditory warnings using 25 computer-controlled speakers installed in a vertical grid against the 4-storey central wall of Kiasma, Helsinki's Museum of Contemporary Art.

Sound Gallery Copenhagen Wynne

The Sound of Sirens was commissioned by the Sound/Gallery in Copenhagen. It made use of the gallery's permanent installation of a grid of 25 speakers hidden under the paving stones covering an area of 900 square metres through which several channels of sound could be moved on precise, independent trajectories. Wynne's piece was banned by the City Council of Copenhagen for allegedly frightening and confusing the public.

John designed small interactive audio devices for the gallery installation Grasping and Clinging in collaboration with visual artist Denise Hawrysio in Bangkok, Thailand.

Horisontista Horisonttiin is an audio piece made specifically for an art installation on a working tram in the city of Helsinki, Finland. The exhibition was part of the Runaway Spatial Plan Project, curated by Amy Cheung.

James Kamotho Kimani, was selected by the International Society for Contemporary Music in Copenhagen, released on CD by Unknown Public and broadcast in Berlin, London, Toronto and San Francisco.

Upcountry began as a sonic portrait of Kenyan master musician William Ingosi Mwoshi but became as much about the artist's experience when visiting Ingosi at his home in northern Kenya. The piece premiered in the Purcell Room in London preceded by a performance by Ingosi himself. It was also featured at the AGON Festival in Milan and has been widely broadcast, including on Radiotopia Kunstradio as part of Ars Electronica in Vienna.

Push comes to Shove is a video/sound installation in collaboration with Denise Hawrysio which premiered at Fieldgate Gallery in London in December 2007 during the exhibition Analogue and Digital, curated by Chris Meigh-Andrews.

Feeding the Habit of Energy is a podcast/soundwalk commissioned by RADAR, a meditation on the sonic environment of the huge Brush generator factory which sprawls next to Loughborough train station. It has been played on Framework (Resonance FM, London) and on hr2 in Germany.

Interactive Plastic Carrier Bags used small motion-triggered sound devices inside a collection of shopping bags. Many visitors ignored the piece, assuming someone had left their shopping on the floor while looking at the other art. Each bag played the sound of its own rustling; the combined effect was like the distant sound of the sea.

Work for film and TV includes soundtracks for films selected for the London Film Festival, the BBC Short Film Festival, the Whitechapel Open, the Rotterdam Film Festival and the European Media Art Festival, as well as for the documentary The Trial of Freedom, which aired on Channel 4 in the UK and on CTV in Canada.