Dec 1st 2017

The Ears Have Walls: A Survey of Sound Games

@ VGA Gallery

2418 W Bloomingdale Ave Apr 102, Chicago, IL 60647

Opening Friday, December 1st, from 5PM - 8PM

On view through Sunday, February 25th

Please join us for the opening reception on Friday, December 1, 5-8pm for our next exhibition!

Human awareness of space is a constant negotiation between many senses: hearing, vision, and proprioception. Underneath our primary focus on the visible world, our ears, minds, and tactile faculties constantly play with economies of attention; favoring some sounds over others, registering the physical dimensions of our surroundings, distinguishing voices from background atmosphere, or filtering everything out except one critical auditory message. The sonic world is oversaturated with options, and we constantly parse through them seeking cues to significant occurrences, with a listening attention that is both deliberate and involuntary.

The artworks in this exhibition experiment with those economies by inverting the ratio of attention between the screen and the speakers within the conventions of video games. In doing so, they experiment with assigning audio to a lead role instead of merely a support for video or a confirmation of transmitted commands. As an under-recognized, but longstanding, genre in video games, sound games offer frameworks and pose questions that help us better understand and develop new strategies for listening; especially for a historical moment where listening is integrated with electronic media as a constitutive part of everyday experience.

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