230 Unwanted Speakers (Walnut Grained Vinyl Veneered Particleboard Construction)

Hull Art Lab, UK, 2006

John Wynne


230 Unwanted Speakers

This 17-channel site specific sound installation was made for Hull Art Lab. Like Fallender ton für 207 lautsprecher boxen, it made use of the aural equivalent of an optical illusion, although this time instead of a constantly falling tone, an apparently endlessly rising set of tones was used. The sounds circulating around the outer speakers were synthesised in situ in response to the ambient sounds in and around this former potato warehouse and were designed to blur the boundaries between the real and the synthetic. The sounds used on the central speakers were 'pure' sine tones edited and arranged for 8 channel diffusion.

Inner circle

While your first thought might be to wonder if you've just walked into another gallery full of pointless pretentious nonsense, your preconceptions are quickly vanquished. You come away thinking about recycling, about the personality of inanimate objects, about the artistic merits of sound installations, and maybe even about the nature of adoration - why one 'speaker' might be lifted above and 'worshipped' by the rest of the speaker society.

Hull Daily Mail



The undoubted ‘personalities’ of the speakers, their arrangement into what Berlin curator Wolfgang Schlegel described as “a field of social tension” and the dramatic suspension of the huge speaker overhead strongly point to various metaphors and narratives, but the meaning of the piece is left to the visitor to interpret. As was the case in Berlin, interpretations like the above quote from the Daily Mail abounded.

BBC Online: Plenty of Woofers