It is any Friday night in Bushwick. The setting is simple. There are paintings hanging on the walls and about 3 times as many people as you could possibly imagine fitting into this gallery. The beer is still warm, and the gin tonic in my hand has been clearly been prepared by someone who strongly discriminated against tonic in the said mixture.
“So… you’re a sculptor?” I’m standing underneath an abstract piece with a girl named Audra Wolowiec.
“Yes.” she smiles.
“But… you’re really into… music?”
“Not that much into music. I’m more like into … sound.” says Audra with a smile of a person who has a really nice secret that she might be willing to share if I prove to be patient enough to listen.
Audra is the author of an experimental sound piece in the upcoming and very first Bushwick ballet presented by Norte Maar, called In the Use of Others for the Change. The ballet premiers on April 14 and I am determined to find out what does sculpture and sound have in common before that.
I’m two steps behind Audra who is a Bushwick resident, but her studio is in the very industrial part of Williamsburg, about 2 blocks away from the water. The sun has just begun to set and the pipes, tubes, and huge containers filled with undefined liquid are throwing long shadows. The workers have already left for their homes. It is strangely quiet and the industrial beauty mesmerizes me.
“It’s a little sketchy here.” Audra laughs.
Audra’s studio is filled with books about sound, phonetics, speech, and with maps of sounds. She talks about the sculpture on the floor, which looks like many houses stuck together in a very claustrophobic manner. It is part of the series of sound formation in concrete, she says. Normally, these wedges are made of foam and are used in anechoic chambers.
Still curious about the sound piece for the ballet, I ask Audra to play me the piece she has created for A/V Elevator Project at Art in General, which inspired Jason Andrew of Norte Maar to invite her to participate at the creation of the ballet. Audra says she has created a series of layered sounds that explore communication through fragmentation. She recorded sounds of her own voice and edited out the main parts of each word to leave a series of stops and starts; a slippery language of faintly recognizable utterances. Audra explains that this way, attention is drawn to the cadence of voice without language. She calls it the thread of the voice.
Audra was inspired by the work of Julles Valles, Transitions in Static:
space has always reduced me to silence
/ l’espace m’a toujours rendu silencieux