Experimenta Make Sense
International Triennial of Media Art 2017-2020


Do words have desires for themselves?

SonoLexic is an exploration of how we process the listening experience through language. Foregrounding the intimate cross-modal association of sound and words, the artwork proposes a new variant of synaesthesia – ‘ideathesia’.

A soundscape frames the space, in which a seemingly hovering voiceover, meditating on the act of listening, is delivered via an ultrasonic hyper-directional speaker. The glowing plasma tube – a proto hologram – displays liquid images of sonic visualisations and text. Sound is simultaneously seen and heard. SonoLexic seeks a language of listening, and questions the extent to which a description of sounds can stimulate sonic imagining.

An Experimenta and Australian Network for Art and Technology (ANAT) Commission.

Concept, text, sound and video by Gail Priest.
Object design and fabrication by Thomas Burless (tomikeh).

National Tour 2017-2020

RMIT Gallery, Melbourne: 2 Oct - 11 November, 2017
The Lock-Up, Newcastle: 3 Feb – 18 Mar, 2018
UTAS - Plimsoll Gallery, Hobart: 21 Apr - 27 May, 2018
Tweed Regional Gallery And Margaret Olley Art Centre, Tweed Heads: 27 Jul - 23 Sept, 2018
Rockhampton Art Gallery, Rockhampton: 13 Oct - 18 Nov, 2018
Western Plains Cultural Centre, Dubbo: 14 Dec 2018 - 3 Mar, 2019
Latrobe Regional Gallery, Morwell: 6 Apr- 30 Jun, 2019
USC Art Gallery, Sunshine Coast: 7 Jun - 15 Sept, 2019
New England Regional Art Museum, Armidale: 18 Nov 2019 - 9 Feb, 2020
Albury Library Museum: 1 Apr 2020 - 1 May, 2020

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Language of Listening Encounters

As part of the Experimenta Make Sense public program
In a series of one-on-one interviews with Gail Priest will talk with participants about the way in which they process the sounds around them, also playing them short samples of interesting listening. The conversation will attempt to find ways of creatively describing what we hear. The intention is to enhance our understanding of listening by making ourselves more conscious of how we process this through language — learning how to listen to our listening. The interviews will be recorded and a poetic condensation of each exchange*will be included in an evolving archive — an interactive e-publication — that explores multiple aspects of this proposed language of listening.

Version 1 of the e-publication can be downloaded now.

Duration: 20mins
6 & 7 October 2017
RMIT Gallery

3 & 4 February 2018
The Lock-Up, Newcastle


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About Experimenta Make Sense

Curators: Jonathan Parsons & Lubi Thomas

Experimenta Make Sense is an exhibition that expresses the disconcerting and delightful world of the digital age. What does it mean to feel in an era of disembodied communication? To think in a world of algorithms and artificial minds? What does it mean to 'do' today? Both playful and challenging, this exhibition asks audiences to immerse their senses into a ‘thinking,’ ‘feeling’ and ‘doing’ contemplation of what it is to be human in the age of technological acceleration.

Biologist E.O.Wilson believes that “the real problem of humanity is the following: we have paleolithic emotions; medieval institutions; and god-like technology.”

Exhibiting artists

Robert Andrew, Keith Armstrong with Luke Lickfold and Matthew Davis, Ella Barclay, Michele Barker and Anna Munster, Briony Barr, Steve Berrick, Antoinette J. Citizen, Adam Donovan and Katrin Hochschuh, Lauren Edmonds, Liz Magic Laser, Jon McCormack, Lucy McRae, Gail Priest, Matthew Gardiner, Jane Gauntlett, Scale Free Network: Briony Barr and Gregory Crocetti, Andrew Styan, Judy Watson and Katarina Zdjelar.