TURN IT UP! Osborn’s “Standing Wave.”

The title is meant to refer to the patterns of sound waves as well as the bobbing of the speaker poles. Arms that look like microphones (but aren't) spin intermittently around the bottom of each pole. You wonder if they're somehow monitoring you, but I'm told the installation is "viewer indifferent." Instead, mics inside cylinders at the bottom of the poles record the motor sounds inside for computer processing. What do we hear? Something like motors, helicopters, traffic on a highway, occasional industrial toots, wind, jet engines — basically something like machines rushing by.

In some ways the piece feels like a sketch; five devices feel too few. What if there was a forest of a couple dozen of them? Also there's a kind of standard electronic-mechanical rumble/howl/drone that pervades sound and video art — and always seems to be echoing through museums and galleries these days. It appears to be inspired by playing with machines, but the limits of this vocabulary and of the artists' invention too often result in sound that doesn't distinguish itself. "Sound Wave" struggles with this challenge. Osborn gives his machines character, but the sound they produce is ordinary.

Read Greg Cook's blog at

< prev  1  |  2  | 
  Topics: Museum And Gallery , Brown University, Bell Gallery, Ed Osborn
| More

Most Popular
Share this entry with Delicious
  •   INSIDE, OUT  |  September 24, 2014
    “Be careful in the dang tent!”
  •   OUTSIDE THE LINES  |  September 17, 2014
    It’s hot, sweaty, satirical, messy, manic, Technicolor, cartoony, psychedelic stuff.
  •   FALL ARTS PREVIEW | ART: BODIES OF WORK  |  September 10, 2014
    Plus candy that you can actually eat!
  •   DIGGING IN THE DUST  |  September 03, 2014
    What do we preserve? And why?
  •   LIFE IS A CARNIVAL  |  August 27, 2014
    To run away with the circus — it’s a glamorous metaphor for “leaving a dull life for a colorful one.”

 See all articles by: GREG COOK