Sound artist John Wynne has a PhD from Goldsmiths College, University of London. His award-winning work, which is often research-led, is made for museums, galleries and public spaces, as well as for radio: it ranges from massive installations to delicate sculptural works and from architectural sound drawings to flying radios. Long-term research projects have included working with speakers of endangered languages in Africa and Canada and with heart and lung transplant patients in the UK. For 3 years he had his own programme called Upcountry on ResonanceFM in London, where he "invited Tammy Wynette to have tea with Pierre Henry - in a thunderstorm" (Ed Baxter). He is a Reader in Sound Arts at the University of the Arts London, and a core member of the CRiSAP research centre.
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Installation no 2 for high and low frequencies. "The critical shift in this installation is from apparent mimesis to a subtly unfolded artifice: permeable and open, prompting hesitation, the space created by Wynne does not display the purity of acoustic phenomena but points to the singular, changing engagement with sound that occurs at different times for different listeners." (Daniela Cascella, Frieze Magazine)
Installation no 1 for high and low frequencies. "The meeting of the low frequencies creates a sort of third volume around head height – a kind of churning volume – very interesting. And the high frequencies reverberations really delineate the space – you can feel the architecture from their movement and the way they're bouncing around." (David Toop)
This massive installation for 300 speakers, player piano and vacuum cleaner was developed during his residency at Beaconsfield Gallery in London and subsequently became the first piece of sound art in the Saatchi collection. It was exhibited at the Saatchi Gallery in London from June to October 2010. Brandon Labelle writes that the piece "creates a soft balance between order and chaos, organization and its rupture".
Other installations for discarded but working hi-fi speakers include 230 Unwanted Speakers (Walnut Grained Vinyl Veneered Particleboard Construction), commissioned by Hull Art Lab in the UK.
John's first work for reclaimed speakers was Fallender ton für 207 lautsprecher boxen at Kunstfabrik, Berlin. According to one writer, it "sounded like heaven ... and hell".
What is What is a collaborative installation with Denise Hawrysio. Combining a drone piece with Hawrsyio's video of holding ice in her hand, the work was made for Frise Künstlerhaus in Hamburg Grermany.
Beating Tones and Flapping Wings was commissioned for the 2010 Cut & Splice Festival in London. This two-part installation made use of 40 recycled boom boxes, 2 radio transmitters and two flying radios.
Hearing Loss is a sculptural installation which makes use of the feedback produced by the 6 hearing aids left by the artist's father when he died.
Faster Higher Stronger is a 5-channel installation which makes use of publicly visible graphic subversions of the Olympic rings gathered from various sources.
Hearing Voices is a body of work based on highly endangered 'click languages' spoken by the indigenous Khoi and San peoples in the Kalahari Desert. The project includes an 8-channel photographic sound installation and an award-winning half-hour composed documentary for BBC Radio 3 described as "a capricious sound world where aural objects shift and surprise" (Resonance Magazine). The catalogue for this exhibition is an interactive CD-ROM with a foreword by David Toop and featuring John's field recordings made with linguist Dr Andy Chebanne. The disc is used by the Working Group for Indigenous Minorities in Southern Africa to assist in the struggle for rights and recognition of their languages and cultures. An article about John's work with his recordings from Africa was published in the book Sonic Geography Imagined and Remembered and his presentation at 'Fieldworks: dialogues between art and anthropology' can be viewed on the Tate Modern website. John's article 'When is a Click not a Glitch?' was commissioned for the book Sound Art edited by Anna Colin and Tobi Maier. Language Ecology and Photographic Sound in the McWorld was published in the journal Organised Sound.
Anspayaxw showed at the Museum of Anthropology in Vancouver for most of 2010 as part of Border Zones: New Art Across Cultures. This 12-channel sound and photography installation is one outcome of John's second project with endangered languages: he worked with linguist Tyler Peterson and artist/photographer Denise Hawrysio to record speakers of Gitxsanimaax, an indigenous language in northern British Columbia, Canada. When the installation travelled to 'Ksan Gallery in Gitxsan territory in 2011, John and Tyler deposited their sound and video materials at 'Ksan to start a Gitxsan Language Archive for community use. This project is the subject of articles in two recently published books, Playing with Words and Between Art and Anthropology.
The Transplant project developed through John's year as artist-in-residence at Harefield Hospital, one of the world's leading centres for heart and lung transplantation. Working closely with with photographer Tim Wainwright, he recorded patients, the devices they were attached to or had implanted in them, and the hospital itself. Outcomes from the project include a 24-channel photographic sound installation: "Both dignified and brutal, Transplant evokes the melancholy and trauma that underpin this uncanny transaction" (The Guardian). Hearts, Lungs and Minds, a half-hour piece commissioned by BBC Radio 3, won the Bronze award at the 2008 Third Coast International Audio Festival in Chicago. Transplant is also a book containing a DVD by Wainwright and Wynne and featuring responses to the project by David Toop, Charles Darwent (The Independent), Marcia Farquhar and others.
Do(n't) was originally an interactive installation for the European Group for Organisational Studies in Barcelona in 2002 and subsequently became a set of 3 text/sound pieces designed for the online journal Ephemera. Two of these pieces played at half-hour intervals on the BBC's Big Screen in Hull in July 2005, but the BBC refused to allow the screening of the third piece, Orange Alert.
The Sound of Sirens was commissioned by the Sound/Gallery in Copenhagen. It made use of the gallery's permanent installation of a grid of 25 speakers hidden under the paving stones covering an area of 900 square metres through which several channels of sound could be moved on precise, independent trajectories. Wynne's piece was banned by the City Council of Copenhagen for allegedly frightening and confusing the public.
Cry Wolf involved an arrangement of auditory warnings using 25 computer-controlled speakers installed in a vertical grid against the 4-storey central wall of Kiasma, Helsinki's Museum of Contemporary Art.
John designed small interactive audio devices for the gallery installation Grasping and Clinging in collaboration with visual artist Denise Hawrysio in Bangkok, Thailand.
Response Time, a large-scale, site-specific octaphonic installation in the urban park at Toronto's Metro Hall was described in one review as "an ambient, ghost-like presence".
Sonic portraits: James Kamotho Kimani, was selected by the International Society for Contemporary Music in Copenhagen, released on CD by Unknown Public and broadcast in Berlin, London, Toronto and San Francisco.
Sonic portraits: Upcountry began as a portrait of Kenyan master musician William Ingosi Mwoshi but became as much about the artist's experience when visiting Ingosi at his home in northern Kenya. The piece premiered in the Purcell Room in London preceded by a performance by Ingosi himself. It was also featured at the AGON Festival in Milan and has been widely broadcast, including on Radiotopia Kunstradio as part of Ars Electronica in Vienna.
An ongoing project of what could be described as architectural sound drawings began with an immersive, site-specific 16.1 channel installation in London described by Chloe Vaitsu as "a masterful experiment in controlled sound manipulation, intense and at times looming". The concept was developed during a residency at E:vent Gallery, where Sound CAD was exhibited; Wireframe was made for the Surrey Art Gallery in Vancouver in 2009. For more information, see contact info below.
Push comes to Shove is a video/sound installation in collaboration with Denise Hawrysio which premiered at Fieldgate Gallery in London in December 2007 during the exhibition Analogue and Digital, curated by Chris Meigh-Andrews.
Feeding the Habit of Energy is a podcast/soundwalk commissioned by RADAR, a meditation on the sonic environment of the huge Brush generator factory which sprawls next to Loughborough train station. It has been played on Framework (Resonance FM, London) and on hr2 in Germany.
Interactive Plastic Carrier Bags used small motion-triggered sound devices inside a collection of shopping bags. Many visitors ignored the piece, assuming someone had left their shopping on the floor while looking at the other art. Each bag played the sound of its own rustling; the combined effect was like the distant sound of the sea.
Work for film and TV includes soundtracks for films selected for the London Film Festival, the BBC Short Film Festival, the Whitechapel Open, the Rotterdam Film Festival and the European Media Art Festival, as well as for the documentary The Trial of Freedom, which aired on Channel 4 in the UK and on CTV in Canada.