SURFACE (OH, OWE, OW) Curated by Sophie Landres
For Surface (Oh, Owe, Ow), Jules Gimbrone arranges translucent, bisected, reflective, liquid, and entropic material into ensembles, such as a resonating stage or duet between glass vessels. Each one is studded with transducers that convert audio recordings of the material into vibrations directed back into their sources. The transduction of sound in turn transduces the function of the surface material. Rather than demarcating the boundaries of autonomous objects, they indicate relationships that are pervious, manifold, and in flux. Visually and audibly effected by the sonic transfer, the ensembles become listening bodies that rattle, shatter, ripple, bloom, and evaporate.
Gimbrone’s process is like gardening. Probing surfaces like a topographer, they cultivate some resonances and maintain some visual definitions. Other elements are left to slowly rot or ripen. The musical composition is thus a catalyst for material decomposition through which each ensemble performs itself anew. And as with the formation of subjectivity, natural processes and cultural techniques overlap in ways both harmonious and discordant.
Overtones cause a shard of glass to dance skittishly on the salty surface of Thin Spread of a Specific Edge (2018). The glass was lodged deep in the artist’s leg when they were five years old and went undetected by X-ray machines until it rose to the skin one year later. Broken and preserved, sharp and harmless, of the body yet foreign to it, it’s solo act demonstrates both the physical intensity and fundamental permeability of corporeal parameters.
Pronunciations of “Oh,” “Owe,” and “Ow” resonate from vessels flanking a two-way mirror in False Binary Call and Response (2018). While their images are redoubled, nested, and concealed, their sound waves pass inward and emanate outward, speaking interjections of indebtedness.
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Surface (Oh, Owe, Ow) also debuts a selection of Gimbrone’s “Collapsed Scores.” Collapsing the score implies that the duration of a composition has imploded. Indeed, the only indication of time in these wall pieces comes from the gradual decomposition of organic material. In one score, blood, urine, and grapefruit peels color a swath of horse hair from a violin bow. The elements are sandwiched between sheets of glass, representing the interplay of surfaces and opacities that is central to Gimbrone’s musical philosophy.