After one year of consistently presenting the most challenging, thoughtful, and professional exhibitions at the Everett Station Lofts, Soundvision closes up shop on the 18th of the month. Via one cerebral show after another, Soundvision and owner TJ Norris presented serious conceptual artworks with a special emphasis on sound art, a marginalized but growing form of sonic installation. For Soundvision's last hurrah, Norris presents Genometrics, the first of three collaborative exhibitions that he has been working on with accomplished sound artists from across the world.
The first phase of Genometrics manifests itself as a series of post-minimalist sculptures, drawings, and accompanying soundtracks that don't pander to audiences in search of instant gratification. Composed almost entirely of abstract white, plastic-y materials such as glycerin, Mylar, and Dacron, Norris' work is impersonal, preferring to deal with DNA theory and mathematical systems than with soul-baring autobiography. On top of that, the audio components offered up through headphones are abstract compositions that could easily frustrate listeners unaccustomed to the asymmetric clicks and whirrs and static-y pops of experimental glitch music. Untitled (bestesends) is composed of 12 truncated egg shapes displayed in an elongated vitrine. Sporting seams from the mold they were cast in, the imperfect shapes are striped in creamy, sensuous layers. They are made of beeswax and glycerin, repellent materials whose opposing dynamics are forced to coexist under Norris's Plexiglas box. Humectant Interruption's soundtrack clicks back and forth, from one headphone to the other, creating a divisive effect in the listener's mind.
Norris's fetish of austerity borders on clinical self-containment, but there is an irrational element that underlies even his most heady, restrained work. Collaborating with artists whom he has never met and welcoming their input to his vision requires a great leap of faith. Using materials that are usually never mixed without any preconceived notion of the result suggests another nonlinear approach to impossibly complex structures like DNA and mathematical architecture. It's almost as if Norris is taking the "science" out of scientific inquiry and approaching theoretical problems from intuitive and nonsensical angles in search of new versions of Truth. How unexpectedly pleasant it is to find Dadaist roots under the mask of what appears to be an emotionally blank, intellectual execution. CHAS BOWIE