Daniel Fishkin's exhibition at Brooklyn non-profit Nothing Space is the latest installation of his "Composing the Tinnitus Suites"
Daniel Fishkin, a Brooklyn-based sound artist, seeks a creative solution to tinnitus in lieu of a medical one. Tinnitus, a condition in which one perceives a continuous high-pitched ringing sound, has affected Fishkin since 2008. Physicians are unable to offer any effective treatment beyond "getting used to it," yet this solution treats the problem far too lightly. Fishkin explores this condition, and notions of loss and gain, through his musical sculpture installation and a series of related guest performances at Nothing Space in Bushwick.
By Megan Guerber
Fishkin’s Lady Harp works as an enlarged mechanical replica of the inner ear used to translate the experience of tinnitus to an audience. It is his hope to open a dialogue between scientists and musicians, and to rethink our approach to tinnitus.
The show at Nothing Space is the latest installation of Fishkin’s Composing the Tinnitus Suites. The series opened Friday, January 24 with solo and collaborative sound performances by Fishkin, sculptor Oliver Jones, who collaborated in the Lady Harp installation, and G. Lucas Crane, known for his experimental tape manipulations that explore themes of anxiety, confusion and detritus in technology. He has organized the show into a series of performances with notable up-and-coming artists also investigating the senses, disability, and notions of loss and gain. Artists include:
· Crichton Atkinson
· Boom Bat Gesture Performance Group
· Beuys Club
· Cara Elizabeth
· Laura Miller
· Delta Delta Delta
· Carolyn Lazard
Tinnitus, a condition in which one perceives a continuous high-pitched ringing sound, is not uncommon. However, while many of us may have briefly experienced tinnitus after a loud concert, it is not something that we suffer daily. Fishkin and many more live with this condition, never escaping its effects. The most common cause is prolonged exposure to loud sounds, such as music, chain saws and guns. However, certain medicines, ear blockage, and diseases affecting the inner ear are also known triggers. As the condition is caused by perceived rather than actual sound, treatments are difficult to administer.
At Nothing Space, what once was an art gallery is now an instrument. The Tinnitus installation stretches across the room, interrupting the free flow of the space with piano wires, tape, clips, wood, and speakers. Strings are run though a series of mounted guitar pickups and are manipulated with electronic audio equipment. The walls house text and object based works while foldout chairs scattered throughout the room invite audience members to sit and listen. An audience gathered within an instrument does not merely witness a performance, but participates by being a physical fragment of the instrument itself.
While the opening night featured all sound-based performances, I was struck by the visual representation of sound that the sculptural installation provided. We were able to observe the physical manipulation of the strings and in turn experience their sound effects. While Fishkin and Crane primarily worked with electronic equipment, Jones used scraps of wood and clips to affect the wires themselves. The resulting collaboration was as much visual as auditory.
You can catch Composing the Tinnitus Suites at Nothing Space for two more weekends. Shows are Friday and Saturday nights beginning at 8 pm (Jan. 31–Feb. 1, Feb. 8–9).
Nothing Space, 56 Bogart St, Studio 219, Brooklyn, NY