John Wynne


Dr John Wynne is an award-winning artist and academic whose diverse, research-led practice includes large-scale sound installations in galleries and public spaces, delicate sculptural works, photographs that produce sound, flying radios and ‘composed documentaries’ that hover on the borders between documentation and abstraction. His massive Installation for 300 speakers, player piano and vacuum cleaner, developed during an AHRC-funded research residency, became the first piece of sound art in the Saatchi collection and won him the 2010 British Composer Award for Sonic Art.
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John’s work with endangered languages includes a project with click languages in the Kalahari Desert and another with one of Canada’s indigenous languages, Gitxsanimaax. The fieldwork for the first of these, Hearing Voices, was done in collaboration with linguist Dr Andy Chebanne from the University of Botswana and the resulting 8-channel photography and sound installation showed at the Botswana National Museum, the National Art Gallery of Namibia and at the Brunei Gallery at SOAS in London. His half-hour ‘composed documentary’ for BBC Radio 3 won the Silver Award at the Third Coast International Audio Festival in Chicago.  Later, funded by the Hans Rausing Endangered Languages Project and the Canada Council for the Arts, John worked with linguist Dr Tyler Peterson to record speakers and environmental sounds in and around the Kispiox reserve in British Columbia, leading to a 12-channel installation which showed for 10 months at the Museum of Anthropology (MOA) in Vancouver before travelling to the ‘Ksan Museum in Gitxsan territory. The installation also showed in San Francisco as part of the American Anthropological Association’s annual conference and at the Satellite Gallery in Vancouver, where John co-organised a symposium at MOA entitled On Endangered Languages: Indigeneity, Community and Creative Practice.


John was artist-in-residence for one year, along with photographer Tim Wainwright, at Harefield Hospital, one of the world’s leading centres for heart and lung transplants.  This project resulted in a published book and DVD, a 24-channel gallery installation and Hearts, Lungs and Minds, a half-hour commission for BBC Radio. 


John is engaged in an ongoing series of site-specific installations using high and low frequencies: his Installation no. 2 was described in Frieze magazine as ‘a complex block of raw vibrational forces, slowly eroded by a sfumato of elusive reverberations, on the frayed edge between abstraction and contingency, between knowledge and experience.’ These gallery works develop ideas John first explored in the theatrical production Andromache, for which he was nominated for a Dora Award for Outstanding Sound Design and Composition.


Nocturnal (2013) was a collaboration with Canadian filmmaker Atom Egoyan:  commissioned by Aldeburgh Music, it was a 11.4 channel installation using a camera obscura to integrate sound and video across two separate spaces.


John has created large-scale multi-speaker installations in public squares:  his first was banned by the City Council of Copenhagen for allegedly ‘frightening and confusing the public’, while Response Time in Toronto was described by one critic as ‘an ambient, ghost-like presence’. ??He has created soundtracks for films selected for the London Film Festival, the BBC Short Film Festival, the Whitechapel Open, the European Media Art Festival and the Rotterdam International Film Festival.


John has a PhD in Sound Art from Goldsmiths College, University of London and is External Examiner for the BA and MA in Fine Arts at the University of Kent.


John's Website


S E L E C T E D    E X H I B I T I O N S
2013 Nocturnal, sound/video/camera obscura installation in collaboration with Atom Egoyan, commissioned by Faster than Sound for Aldeburgh Music
2013 I am not the cancer, sound/video installation in collaboration with Tim Wainwright, versions made for Brussels, Lisbon, Warsaw and Athens
2013 Anspayaxw, 12-channel photography and sound installation, solo show at Satellite Gallery, Vancouver 
2013 What is What and Cold Atlantic, Blurred Edges, Frise Kunstlerhaus, Hamburg, Germany
2013 Cold Atlantic, installation, ‘Volume:  Hear Here’ curated by Christof Migone, Justina M Bernicke Gallery, University of Toronto
2012 Anspayaxw, 12-channel photography and sound installation, solo show for Ethnographic Terminalia and the American Anthropological Association, Alley Cat Gallery, San Francisco 
2012 Installation no 2 for high and low frequencies, Angus-Hughes Gallery, London
2012 Faster Higher Stronger, video, Open City Docs Film Festival, London and ‘Incursions and Subversions: Art’s response to London’s Olympic Dreams’ at the Freeword Centre, London
2012 The True Language, radio piece commissioned for BBC Radio 4 by Falling Tree Productions
2012 Part and Parcel, 8-channel sound performance, Whitworth Gallery, Manchester and Kettle’s Yard, Cambridge (2008)
2012 Kispiox, ‘Sounds (Extra)Ordinary’ at the Centre for Art Tapes, Halifax, Canada and ‘RE:FLUX’ at Galerie Sans Nom, Moncton, Canada
2011 Installation no 1 for high and low frequencies, Air I Breathe, Gazelli Art House, Rochelle School Gallery, London
2011 Andromache, sound for theatre production, directed by Graham McLaren for Necessary Angel, Toronto. Nominated for the 2012 Dora Mavor Moore Award for Outstanding Sound Design / Composition
2010 Installation for 300 speakers, player piano and vacuum cleaner, The Saatchi Gallery, London
2010 Beating tones and flapping wings, installation commissioned by Sound and Music for Cut and Splice:  Transmission, London
2010 Anspayaxw, installation, Border Zones:  New Art Across Cultures, The Museum of Anthropology, Vancouver and ‘Ksan Museum Gallery, Hazelton, Canada (2011)
2009 Installation for 300 speakers, player piano and vacuum cleaner, Beaconsfield Gallery, London
2009 Faster Higher Stronger, installation, Sound Proof II, Unit 5, London
2009 Wireframe, installation, Surrey Art Gallery, Vancouver, Canada
2008 Transplant, installation with Tim Wainwright, The Nunnery Gallery London and Beldam Gallery, Brunel University
2008 Hearts, Lungs and Minds, radio piece commissioned by BBC Radio 3.
 Bronze Award, Third Coast International Audio Festival, Chicago
2008 Someone Else and ITU, two installations with Tim Wainwright, Gallery 1313, Toronto 
2007 Flow, installation with Tim Wainwright, Old Operating Theatre Museum, London
2007 Push comes to Shove, installation with Denise Hawrysio, Fieldgate Gallery, London
2007 Someone else has died, radio piece commissioned by CBC Radio Canada
2007 ITU, video w surround sound, The Performance of Sound, TATE Britain.  Also shown at Old Operating Theatre Museum, London, The Art of Immersive Soundscapes, Regina, Canada, and Hering Video Edition, Bonn and Leverkusen, Germany
2007 Hearing Loss, installation, VIVO Media Arts Centre, Vancouver, for Signal and Noise Festival
2007 Feeding the Habit of Energy, podcast/soundwalk commissioned by RADR FOR Loughborough University 
2006   230 Unwanted Speakers (Walnut Grained Vinyl Veneered Particleboard Construction), installation, Hull Art Lab
2006     Sound CAD, installation, E:vent Gallery, London
2005 Hearing Voices, installation, Botswana National Museum, National Art Gallery of Namibia, Brunei Gallery at SOAS, London
2005 Hearing Voices, radio piece commissioned by BBC Radio 3. Silver Award, Third Coast Audio Festival, Chicago.  Broadcast on BBC 3 in 2004 and 2005, BBC Europe, PBS in the US and during the Deep Wireless Radio Festival in Toronto.
2005 Disappearing in the Kalahari, Great Hall, Goldsmiths University and Sounding Out, University of Nottingham
2005 Do(n’t) video and sound installation on the BBC Big Screen in Victoria Square, Hull for the Humber Mouth Literary Festival
2005 Response Time, public installation in Kitchener City Hall for the Open Ears Festival 
2004 Fallender ton für 207 lautsprecher boxen, installation, 2yK Galerie, Berlin
2004 Medicine Box. Soundtrack for 16 mm film by David Leister, Rotterdam International Film Festival


S E L E C T E D   P U B L I C A T I O N S
Pending Transplant, 22 minute video excerpt published with the book, Beyond Text: Critical Practice and Sensory Anthropology, Edited by R Cox, A Irving and C Wright, Manchester University Press 
Pending ‘Outside In: Reframing Urban Noise’, in Urban Traces: Wahrnehmungen im urbanen Raum [Urban Traces:  Perceptions in the urban environment], edited by Barbara Herbert and Jasmina Samssuli, Athena Verlag
Pending ‘Hearing Voices: Research and creative practice across cultures and disciplines’, in Language Description and Documentation Issue 12, December 2013.  Also includes newly revised app Hearing Voices:  Speakers / Languages
2013 ‘ITU:  The Din of Recovery’, in The Art of Immersive Soundscapes, edited by Ellen Waterman and Pauline Minevich, University of Regina Press.  Also includes DVD containing ITU, surround sound video by JW and Tim Wainwright
2012 ‘Symbolic Resistance:  Turning the Rings’, in The Art of Dissent: London’s Olympic State, edited by Hilary Powell and Isaac Marrero-Guillamón, Marshgate Press
2012 ‘Faster Higher Stronger’ in These Are The Echoes: Sound Proof 2008-2012, edited by Monica Biagioli and Brian Reed, AND publications
2010 ‘Hearing Faces, Seeing Voices:  Sound Art, Experimentalism and the Ethnographic Gaze’ in Between Art and Anthropology, edited by Arnd Schneider and Chris Wright, Berg Publishers 
2008 Transplant, book and DVD by John Wynne and Tim Wainwright, edited by Victoria Hume, rb&hArts
2008 ‘To Play or Not to Play’, in Playing With Words, edited by Cathy Lane, Cornerhouse Press
2008 ‘Auditory Warnings and the Assault on Silence’, Static Issue 6, The London Consortium
2007 ‘Hearing Loss’, Leonardo Music Journal Vol 17, MIT Press
2007 ‘Transplant’, Autumn Leaves:  Sound and the environment in artistic practice, edited by Angus Carlyle, published by Vibrö sound art collective and CRiSAP
2005  ‘Language Ecology and Photographic Sound in the McWorld’, Organised Sound, Issue 11/1
2005  ‘When is a Click not a Glitch?’, Sound Art, published by Resonance Magazine and London Musicians’ Collective
2005 Hearing Voices:  Languages/Speakers. Interactive CD-ROM produced in conjunction with the Hans Rausing   Endangered Languages Project at SOAS, University of London
2005 ‘Fallender ton für 207 lautsprecher boxen’, Soundscape, Journal of Acoustic Ecology
2003 ‘Upcountry:  Electroacoustic composition between documentary and abstraction, technology and    tradition’,  Sonic Geography:  Imagined and Remembered, edited by Ellen Waterman Penumbra Press

S E L E C T E D    C O N F E R E N C E S   A N D   P R E S E N T A T I O N S  
2013 ‘On Endangered Languages: Indigeneity, Community and Artistic Practice, symposium at the Museum of Anthropology, Vancouver (co-organiser, session chair and presenter)
2013 ‘Listening to the malfunctioning body’ at It’s Not What You Think:  Communicating Medical Materialities, Medical Museion, University of Copenhagen
2012 Performance lecture for ‘Audible Observatories: Contemporary Art Practices In Conversation With Anthropologies Of Voice And Sound’ at the American Anthropological Association annual conference in San Francisco.  Panel with Steven Feld, Rupert Cox, et al
2012 Performance lecture for the ‘Sound Arts Practice vs Sound Arts Research’ panel at Supersonix Conference, Goethe Institute, London 
2012 ‘The Power of Sound and the Sound of Power:  Sound in the Transplant Ward’ at Hearing Landscape Critically:  Sense, Text, Ideology, University of Oxford
2012 ‘Risky Practice:  Artists in the Transplant Ward’ at Risky Engagements: encounters between science, art and public health, University of Manchester
2011 ‘Listening to Endangered Languages, Artificial Hearts and Architectural Acoustics’ at the University of Eastern Finland.  Public talk at the award ceremony for the soundscape competition for which JW was Head of Jury
2010 ‘Outside In:  Re-framing urban noise’ at SoundActs:  Sound as Art, Sound in Culture, Aarhus University, Denmark
2010 ‘ITU:  The din of recovery’, at Sound Ecologies, The Society for Ethnomusicology Annual Conference at UCLA
2010 ‘Transplant’, public lecture and CPD workshop for CREATE, Waterford, Ireland
2010 ‘Translation and Memory; Technology and Tradition’, Building Sound symposium, National Theatre, London
2009 ‘Sound Art Practice Beyond the Gallery’, Sound Thinking:  Radiophonic space, the nature of hearing and new approaches to transmission in sound art, Surrey Art Gallery, Vancouver
2009 ‘Transplant:  Trauma and transformation on the ward’ at Taking the Body Seriously:  Association of Medical Humanities Annual Conference, Durham University, UK
2007 ‘Trauma and Transformation, Identity and Environment’ at Sound, Art and Auditory Cultures, Copenhagen Doctoral School, University of Copenhagen, Denmark
2007 ‘The Cacophony of Disease’ at The Art of Immersive Soundscapes, University of Regina, Canada
2007 ‘Sound Art and Language Ecology in the McWorld’ at Desire Lines, 3rd International Arts and Ecology Symposium, Dartington College of Arts, UK
2007 ITU at The Performance of Sound, TATE Britain
2007 Transplant:  Sound (art) and Trauma at Beyond Text:  Synaesthetic and Sensory Practices in Anthropology, University of Manchester, UK