Here’s Some Sound in Your Eye

Northern-Southern & Dimension Gallery: Austin Art-and-Audio Twofer

Like when all those popular silent films finally grew a soundtrack and suddenly the world had what were called talkies, remember?

(Secondhand, we mean: Do you remember it from having learned about it from a class or a book or a film or something, we mean.)

(Because if you remember that shit firsthand, and you’re still around to read this? Then we’ll have whatever you’re having, pallie – and the next round’s on us.)

But, no, because there’s so much art that looks incredible, isn’t there? That looks beautiful or provocative or intriguing or mysterious or whatever – especially in this artful town – and it always does a person good to see that art in person, to witness it up-close and IRL, beyond the screen’s ubiquitous filter.

But most of that art, ah, most of it’s as silent as the grave of Marcel Marceau.


But not the amazing stuff that’s up at Northern-Southern and Dimension Gallery right now. That stuff generates sound. And on any Saturday afternoon through the end of July, you can catch both visual-and-audio exhibitions, one after the other, for a solid dose of art in your weekend – and for a perfect compare-and-contrast situation sure to spark conversation among anyone else who’s experienced the wonders on display.

We’ve covered the Northern-Southern show, Matthew Steinke’s “Deliriums,” in this full review, telling you about how there are sculptural robots actively sounding out a three-part composition based on a few of the more problematic mental states of humans, turning the gallery into an odd and intimate concert space for as long as you’d like to visit. And that’s over there on 12th, of course – right next-door to the excellent Las Cruxes boutique of fashion and art and Mishima paperbacks, and adjacent to the King Bee lounge where, among other events and camaraderie, Chris Cubas hosts a monthly stand-up showcase.

And we’ve gone on about Dimension Gallery in the past, of course, but have never known its extraordinary exhibitions to simultaneously, and so perfectly, complement another show the way Randall Taylor’s “Infinity X Loop” complements “Deliriums.” Not just in that sound is being generated, but that the sculptural beauty and oddness of the installation, the (one imagines) joyful deconstruction going on in both places, it, ah, wow – what a gift of crosstown resonance.

Because, in “Infinity X Loop” at Dimension, Taylor (AKA Portland’s Amulets) has taken a series of cassette tapes and liberated them from their cartridges, running each chromium ribbon out of its housing and up the wall, or across part of the ceiling, or just in a ruptured circle above the plastic box that’s meant to contain it. And yet these tapes are still contacting tapeheads, are still – with the sounds stretched and distorted as the tapes are stretched and distorted –they’re still being played.

It’s a lovely and eerie feeling, to stand there in the intimate Dimension space, watching Randall Taylor’s disrupted tapes run, listening to their staggered asymphony noising the silence. And it’s especially satisfying if you’ve just come from Northern-Southern and experienced that other sonic incarnation of creative exploration from Matthew Steinke.

And partly because NMASS, Austin’s annual New Media Art and Sound Summit, is coming up soon – but mostly because we just wanted to let you know about this ongoing but temporary coincidence – we figured, OK, let’s tell everybody about this really quick.

Note: “Deliriums” runs at Northern-Southern on Saturdays, from 3:30-6pm, through July 30. “Infinity X Loop” graces Dimension Gallery on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays, through August 14.

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