Ian Andrews


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Auscultations (1995)

NMA (1991)

11 minutes 40 seconds
voice - Patrick Gibson
text and production - Ian Andrews

Sound in Space: Adventures in Australian Audio Art, Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney, 26 May - 22 August, 1995.

auscultation. 1.Med. the act of listening, either directly or through a stethoscope, or other instrument, to sounds within the body, as a method of diagnosis, etc.2. the act of listening. From the latin auscultatio, a listening.

This piece recalls a particular object: the cardiophonic training record (or tape), used as an aid for the self-instruction of medical personel in the diagnostic significance of various heart sounds. Is it possible to conceive of such an object as "sound art" or even as music? Such a shift in framing would entail a modification in the mode of listening: from diagnostic, to what might be described as aesthetic or emotional listening. Or rather, from an act involving listening to indicies or signs, to a listening which, to some extent, engages in unconscious processes. This would call for a listening which Roland Barthes describes as "panic listening," (1) a listening which continuosly produces new signifiers without ever arresting their meaning. This piece attempts to accomodate such a shift by running together scientific language and literary or poetic associations, combined with the utilization of the dominant Western cultural metonymy and metaphorics associated with this very essential organ.

1. Roland Barthes, The Responsibility of Forms, New York: 1985, pp 258-259.