Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player,
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage,
And then is heard no more. It is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
Signifying nothing. 
(Macbeth (Act 5, Scene 5, lines 17-28)

The raging of the world is forced upon us by an unrelenting stream of images. But what if these images would disappear and all that’s left is sound? What would life have to say to us then, other than sound and fury? Or will a new, much more sensitive world open up to you, led by touch like a blind person?

With one video and four audio artworks Nieuw Dakota presents the work of six young artists. Five artists that all completed a (masters)degree at academies in Amsterdam and are now making name for themselves on the international stage: Jacob Dwyer, Sophie Serber, Richard John Jones, Smari Robertsson, Nathan Azhderian and Nora Turato.

The artworks are part of the personal collection of Frits Bergsma with whom we in 2015 made the exhibition Collectors Choice, an exhibition comprised of all video works. In an exhibition concept by Jozef Hey (BeamSystems), we are now showing a selection of his recently purchased audio art works. Not only the primacy of sound over image but also the use of language and the spoken word, will run like a common thread through the space of Nieuw Dakota.

Jacob Dwyer / Keith’s’ Arcadia (2017)
Keith’s Arcadia tells the story of a man who finds himself in Arcadia Shopping Centre (Ealing) amidst the London riots of 2011. With no casual conception of the violence taking place in the streets outside, he uses the reflection of a window to look back at TK Maxx and an assortment of trainer shops and reimagines the shopping centre as a real Arcadian landscape. The work spawns from an image gleaned in the riots aftermath: a traffic cone embedded in the window of the shopping centre, suspended in the air like a cartoon.

Sophie Serber / Not Remain (2017)
Within this work the artist reads out loud pages from a book written by her mother, whereby her voice has been distorted, and is slightly modified in slow motion, resulting in a yawning kind of mantra. The attitude deriving from the pace of her voice balances boredom and a post-modernist and rebellious stand —an act of ridiculing existing structures as part of the process of determining meaning or coming to whatever you take a stand for.

Richard John Jones / Philomela (2018) 
This recording is an adaptation of the myth of Philomela, Procne and Tereus from Ovid’s Metamorphoses. The story recounts the violence Philomela is subjected to and her subsequent revenge. Notably, in the story, Philomela turns to tapestry to tell her story in her pursuit of justice. Philomela’s story focusses on the voice and the lack thereof and is a tale of working with and through constraints to be heard and understood. The recording is performed by the actress Jacqueline Press who, although born profoundly deaf, is a prominent voice actress. The recording is mixed by Jones with atmospheric audio samples including a hand-operated looms and a nightingale’s song. 

Smari Robertsson / Sleeptalking (2017) 
Sleeptalking unfolds as a continuous conversation. The sentences are incoherent and short but as you listen it seems there is a consensus on what the subject is. Robertsson’s playing a series 1442 audio files of him reading individual words from an accompanying publication. The words are then either in the left or right ear of the stereo speakers, played on shuffle and continuous repeat from either one of the hatches. This generates a sort of endless conversation as the shuffle never repeats the same string of words together in a row.  

Nora Turato/ Wine cork wrapped in paper towels and a condom (2017)
The text projections echo the speed of Turato’s speech, but at times the words are shown so quickly as to be incomprehensible. Coming so thick and fast that they become indistinct, these words convey meanings that can only be ‘skimmed’. The stylistic devices of the voice add emotion to the text. Spoken and written language meld into one, but each conveys very different additional information. The projection and the audio are already interpretations of the text and each medium’s inherent characteristics come to the fore.

Nathan Azhderian / Everything Points (2015)