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The Comedy of Errors

Pass The Time Of Day

28 February 05 words: Emma Lewis
Standing on the street outside Angel Row a sad melody mixes with the sounds of buses, footsteps and chatter

                 Pass The Time Of Day at the Angel Row Gallery

Standing on the street outside Angel Row a sad melody begins to mix with the sounds of buses, footsteps, chatter. Stepping into the foyer the music becomes stronger, shifting post-rock mutterings.


This is the entrance to Pass the Time of Day at the Angel Row gallery on until March 12th. Curated by artist Paul Rooney this exhibition explores the relationship between music and the mundane.

This exciting exhibition goes beyond the recent trend of exhibiting music/sound as art at exhibitions such as Air Guitar (Milton Keynes/Angel Row), Sonic Boom (Hayward Gallery). These approached the role of sound in art on a very broad level but Pass the Time of Day aims to "tackle something which is about music but targeted at a particular area". This is a refreshing approach to the role of music/sound in art, a phenomena which the art world has pounced upon and celebrated over the past decade. But at this stage music is just another medium for art, it has become as established as video and installation. It is no longer a radical break from the forms of art and can no longer be exhibited as such. This exhibition maturely recognises the position of sound and music.

As I pass through the door into the main gallery I am faced with four television monitors, hanging from the ceiling, like security monitors or station message boards. No longer can the meanderings of Arab Strap be heard but now there is a choral chant accompanying images of deserted offices, super markets, travel bureaus. But it is not the adoration of God which this chant heralds, but the description of four shop workers’ dreams.

Rodney Graham’s Aberdeen is a particularly enchanting exhibit. A slideshow runs, displaying images of Aberdeen, Washington, the hometown of Kurt Cobain. Sitting on one of the many chairs before the projector screen one can take a set of headphones and CD player listen to a selection of tracks produced by Graham. Each viewer has the opportunity to encounter this work as an individual, their engagement and experience of the work being manipulated by the tracks they decide to listen to.

Marko Ciciliani’s Home is a sensitive, delicate approach to sound which contrasts significantly with other works. In a pure white room a series of speakers positioned on the wall release minute sounds into the environment. With my ear pressed hard against the speakers, I began my descent into eavesdropping on the TV next door, someone playing the violin in the next room, sounds recorded from the artist’s house in Holland, feeling like a naughty child or nosey neighbour. This piece really stands out in an exhibition where music and sound shout at you, this purely sound piece requires intensive listening just to make out the noises.

Thomson and Craighead provide interactivity, a requirement of so many contemporary exhibitions, in Telephony. This sculptural piece (pictured above)consists of 42 mobile phones hung on the wall. The viewer is invited to phone any one of their numbers, once one begins to ring it is diverted to another and so this jingle passes through all 42 mobile phones. A nightmare barrage of ringtones!!

Opera, phone jingles, choral song, pop music, an eclectic mix which will stimulate your eardrums. The everyday can be bland and mundane but also comic, pathetic and endearing. Music has the ability to transform the everyday into something wondrous, strange and disturbing, it heightens our awareness of the emotional potential of the things around us or allows us to escape from the tedium of the real world.

This exhibition allows for an eclectic mix of work without overcrowding or too much competition between each piece. The exhibition will be touring to the Collective Gallery, Edinburgh, later this year, but catch in Nottingham now while you have the chance. It's free every day in town at the next month.

Pass the Time of Day is on at the Angel Row Gallery until 12th March

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