June 16th, 2024

Sound investment with Galt’s new auditory experience

By Ry Clarke - Lethbridge Herald Local Journalism Initiative Reporter on December 3, 2022.

Herald photo by Ry Clarke Marjie Crop Eared Wolf stands in front of her piece "Niitsi'powahsin Secwepemctsin" which is a two-part exhibit between words we see and words we hear, Friday at the Galt Museum and Archives.

A new art exhibit has opened at the Galt Museum that is all ears, or at least all sound.

The Politics of Sound invites audiences to explore the role sound plays within our lives. The temporary exhibit on display until May 7, 2023, aims to demonstrate how attentive listening can be a way to bring communities together in understanding and empathy. Through a combination of contemporary artworks and historical artifacts, the exhibit will explore sound’s ability to create understanding and have visitors contemplating their own position within the soundscape.

“The exhibit challenges visitors to think about how sound influences their day-to-day actions. When we move around in the world every day, we are surrounded by sound. But we often don’t pay attention to it because we are dominated by visual culture,” said Tyler Stewart, curator for the Galt. “We all experience sound differently depending on our backgrounds, our experiences, our race, our gender, or sexual identity. How those factors influence whose voices we listen to. Overall, the exhibition is a blend of both contemporary sound artworks, but historical art artifacts from the collections.”

Audiences can explore the soundscape exhibit taking in trumpets mounted on bayonets and music-box-grenades by artist Maskull Lasserre, with historical pieces like sound whistles, radios, and steam whistles. The exhibit also includes learning about historical sounds in language with Marjie Crop Eared Wolf’s Niitsi’powahsin Secwepemctsin, which explores her family heritage using artwork as part of the journey.

“It’s two different pieces. One is the written-out portion of the language. Then the video content is the oral part of it. It is two different streams of learning the language with writing and then the traditional way of language being learned orally,” said Crop Eared Wolf. “It is significant because a lot of First Nations languages were put in jeopardy of being lost in Canada because of the residential school system.”

Looking to explore the way we view sound, the exhibit offers interactive options for guests to enhance their visit.

“One really exciting part about this exhibition is that there are a number of artworks that visitors can interact with or even borrow to use outside of the museum,” said Stewart. “Jessica Thompson’s Walking Machine involves visitors strapping microphones to their feet, and then being able to explore in and around the museum, using their feet as their ears.”

Exploring how we view sound and the influences it has within our lives, the exhibit will showcase the exploration of sound and how we listen closely to things around us. “Being able to showcase these artists, which come from as far away as Europe and the United States, but also local artists, is very exciting,” said Stewart. “It is a rewarding experience to build those relationships and showcase their artwork to the community here locally in Lethbridge.”

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