John Wynne is an artist whose practice includes installations for galleries, museums and public spaces as well as award-winning works for radio which hover on the boundaries between documentary and abstraction.
His large-scale, multi-channel, sculptural installations for recycled hi-fi speakers include Fallender ton für 207 lautsprecher boxen in Berlin and 230 Unwanted Speakers in Hull. His 2009 installation for 300 speakers, Pianola and vacuum cleaner became the first work of sound art in the Saatchi collection and was shown at the Saatchi Gallery, London from June to October 2010.
John’s work with endangered languages include a project based on click-language speakers in the Kalahari Desert. The fieldwork 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.
Funded by the Hans Rausing Endangered Languages Project and the Canada Council for the Arts, John worked with linguist Dr Tyler Peterson in British Columbia to record speakers of the endangered indigenous language, Gitxsanimaax, leading to a 12-channel installation which showed for 10 months at the Museum of Anthropology in Vancouver before travelling to other venues in Canada. Tyler and John are producing an extensive archive of materials for use in the Gitxsan community.
For one year, John was artist-in-residence 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 has created large-scale multi-speaker installations in public squares in Copenhagen and Toronto: the first was banned by the City Council of Copenhagen for allegedly “frightening and confusing the public” and the other described in MusicWorks magazine 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 on the LCC Research Ethics Sub-Committee.
Activity and Publications
- May 2013: Two installations: Cold Atlantic, What is What at Frise Kunstlerhaus, Hamburg
- Jan-March 2013: Installation: Cold Atlantic In the exhibition Volume: Hear, Here curated by Christof Migone at Justina M Barnicke Gallery, Toronto
- Nov 2012: Installation: Anspayax. Solo exhibition curated by Ethnographic Terminalia for the American Anthropological Association Conference San Francisco
- Feb 2012 - Jan 2013: Installation/video: Transplant In the exhibition Sound Art: Sound as a Medium for Art ZKM Institute Karlsruhe, Germany
- June 2013: Installation: I am not the cancer The Egg, Brussels
- March 2013: Presentation: ‘Listening to the malfunctioning body’ At It’s Not What You Think: Communicating Medical Materialities, Medical Museion, University of Copenhagen
- Nov 2012 Performance lecture In ‘Audible Observatories: Contemporary Art Practices In Conversation With Anthropologies Of Voice And Sound’ at the American Anthropological Association Annual Conference, San Francisco
Exhibitions and Broadcasts
- Installation for 300 speakers, player piano and vacuum cleaner, Newspeak, The Saatchi Gallery, London
- Anspayaxw, installation, Border Zones: New Art Across Cultures, The Museum of Anthropology, Vancouver
- Beating tones and flapping wings, installation commissioned by Sound and Music for Cut and Splice: Transmission
- ‘Outside In: Re-framing urban noise’, at SoundActs: Sound as Art, Sound in Culture, Aarhus University, Denmark
- ‘ITU: The din of recovery’, at Sound Ecologies, The Society for Ethnomusicology Annual Conference at UCLA
- Transplant, Public Lecture and CPD workshop for CREATE, Waterford, Ireland
- Translation and Memory; Technology and Tradition, Building Sound symposium, National Theatre, London
- ‘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
- Transplant, 22 minute video published in Beyond Text: critical practice and sensory anthropology, Edited by R Cox, A Irving and C Wright, Manchester University Press
Exhibitions and Broadcasts
- Installation for 300 speakers, player piano and vacuum cleaner, Beaconsfield Gallery, London
- Panel discussion and performance broadcast from within the 300 speaker installation at Beaconsfield Gallery, on ResonanceFM and ResonanceFM.com
- Faster Higher Stronger, installation for Sound Proof II, Unit 5, London
- Wireframe, installation at The Surrey Art Gallery, Vancouver, Canada
- ‘Sound Art Practice Beyond the Gallery’, for Sound Thinking: Radiophonic space, the nature of hearing and new approaches to transmission in sound art, Surrey Art Gallery, Vancouver
- ‘Transplant: Trauma and transformation on the ward’ at Taking the Body Seriously, Association of Medical Humanities Annual Conference, Durham University, UK
Exhibitions and Broadcasts
- Transplant, installation with Tim Wainwright, The Nunnery Gallery London and Beldam Gallery, Brunel University
- Hearts, Lungs and Minds, radio piece commissioned by BBC Radio 3. Bronze Award, Third Coast International Audio Festival, Chicago
- Part and Parcel, sound installation/performance, Kettle’s Yard, Cambridge
- Someone Else and ITU, 2 installations with Tim Wainwright, Gallery 1313, Toronto for the Deep Wireless Festival
- Transplant, book and DVD by John Wynne and Tim Wainwright, edited by Victoria Hume, published by rb&harts
- ‘To Play or Not to Play’, in Playing With Words, edited by Cathy Lane, Cornerhouse Press
- ‘Auditory Warnings and the Assault on Silence’, Static Issue 6, The London Consortium
- Hearing Loss, installation. VIVO Media Arts Centre, Vancouver for the Signal and Noise Festival 2007
- Feeding the Habit of Energy, podcast/soundwalk commissioned by Loughborough University
- Someone Else has Died, radio piece commissioned by CBC Radio Canada
- ITU, video w surround sound, The Performance of Sound, TATE Britain. Also at The Old Operating Theatre Museum, London and at The Art of Immersive Soundscapes, Regina, Canada
- Push comes to Shove, installation with Denise Hawrysio, Fieldgate Gallery, London
- Flow, installation with Tim Wainwright, Old Operating Theatre Museum, London
- ‘Hearing Loss’ in Leonardo Music Journal, Vol 17
- ‘Someone Else Has Died’ in Autumn Leaves: Sound and the Environment, published by Vibrö and CRiSAP
- Trauma and Transformation, Identity and Environment at Sound, Art and Auditory Cultures, Copenhagen Doctoral School, University of Copenhagen, Denmark
- The Cacophony of Disease at The Art of Immersive Soundscapes, University of Regina, Canada
- Sound Art and Language Ecology in the McWorld at Desire Lines, 3rd International Arts and Ecology Symposium, Dartington College of Arts, UK
- ITU at The Performance of Sound, TATE Britain
- Transplant: Sound (art) and Trauma at Beyond Text: Synaesthetic and Sensory Practices in Anthropology, University of Manchester, UK
- 230 Unwanted Speakers (Walnut Grained Vinyl Veneered Particleboard Construction), installation. Hull Art Lab, UK.
- Sound CAD, installation. E:vent Gallery, London.
Exhibitions and broadcasts
- Hearing Voices, installation. Botswana National Museum, National Art Gallery of Namibia, The Brunei Gallery at SOAS in London
- Hearing Voices, 30-minute piece for radio commissioned by BBC Radio 3. Silver Award, Third Coast International Audio Festival, Chicago. Broadcast twice on BBC Radio 3, twice on BBC World Service, PBS in the US and during the Deep Wireless Radio Festival in Toronto
- Do(n’t), video and sound installation on the BBC Big Screen, Victoria Square, Hull for the Humber Mouth Literary Festival
- Response Time, public sound installation in Kitchener City Hall, Canada for the Open Ears Festival 2005
- Disappearing in the Kalahari, Great Hall, Goldsmiths University, Sounding Out 2, University of Nottingham
- ‘Language Ecology and Photographic Sound in the McWorld’ in Organised Sound, Issue 11/1
- ‘When is a Click not a Glitch?’ in Sound Art, edited by Anna Colin and published by Resonance and the London Musicians’ Collective
- ‘Fallender ton für 207 lautsprecher boxen’ in Soundscape: The Journal of Acoustic Ecology, Vol 5 No 2
- Hearing Voices: Languages/Speakers. Interactive CD-ROM published in conjunction with the Hans Rausing Endangered Languages Project at SOAS