A noisewall is a protective barrier, erected to shield ears from unwanted noise. A ‘wall of noise’ is a common and descriptive term for an experience of sonic immensity. So, a ‘noise wall’ can keep out or it can let in; it can shield and it can inflict; it can partition off or concentrate and overtake.
All walls are, in a sense, noise walls, since sound can always float over and around and seep into and surround. Soundwaves can turn any wall into a noise wall; you’ve heard the way massive bass frequencies can sound the architecture of a venue, felt them leveraging the intimate flesh of your own sternum. Sound is all-pervasive, uncontainable, insistent, body-seeking.
NOISEWALL continues Ali Bezer’s exploration of the experience of sound processed as image. It stems from her ongoing interest in sounds for which we cannot see the source, a concept known as ‘acousmatic’ sound. Because the sound’s source remains unidentified, impossibility is central to the way the acousmatic is heard and understood; it is a kind of ‘homeless’ sound, consigned to wander, a fleeting phantom.
Ali Bezer listens to those unseen sound sources which defy easy explanation – larger, powerful forces like atmospheric electricity, magnetic storms, solar noise. As Doug Kahn writes, these sounds are ‘understood to exist at the planetary level… throughout the solar system and, perhaps, the entire universe’.
NOISEWALL translates the artist’s listening to those sounds – electromagnetic, geologic, tectonic, etheric – into new visual referents imbued with traces of the warm Miami autumn. Collapsing stars, the ocean’s white-noise roar, long-distance lovesongs of hopeful humpbacks: NOISEWALL imagines sounds that can only exist far beyond the scale of the human.
When light hits a mirrored substance like foil, the object takes an impression of us, which is then given back to us as reflection. Sound also requires a surface to bounce off; in the case of light and sound both, we make a more ephemeral presence into a body. Like the tinfoil inscriptions that were the earliest sound recordings, NOISEWALL stands as an emblem of those forces becoming perceivable by coming into contact with us, if only for a short time.partner