As I wondered through the several ins and outs interlacing through the Baroque architecture and modern additions of the Museums Quatier, Vienna I came across a passage under an archway unique to any other. It had been used as a curated space outside of the confines of any of the museums and galleries yet within the confines of the MQ itself. On its walls hung several photographs of a sound installation by Montreal born Robin Minard entitled “Tonspur 62, Audiobook – Extended”.
Let me briefly talk about the original installation first before delving into its image. The piece is an extension due to the fact that it is a secondary representation of the original; which consists of layered meaning making through the use of 4 of our 5 senses. The original piece, created in 2005, is described to have been comprised of a set of 7 hand-written notebooks. These contained numerous love stories in French through the eyes of a male narrator. A viewer is able to interact with the notebooks by flipping through and reading these stories. However, they are frequently interrupted by small speakers and wires overlapping portions of the text. As the mind is reading, it begins to look for words to replace these voids that have been obscured; but as the reader’s mind is looking for words, thoughts of words are being replaced by sound. Take a moment to think about what that must feel like. Your inner-thoughts, which are private and are revealed to no one are suddenly being interrupted! And not just interrupted, but forcefully replaced by unexpected sound. Furthermore, what your mind is engaged in is not just any piece of text but that which is filled with emotion. Can you imagine the disorientation of the mind in that moment? It is in that moment that the artist successfully confuses a viewer’s thoughts while truly inverted in the piece he/she is interacting with.
Ok… lets get back to what I actually saw. Interestingly enough, what I experienced was merely a visual representation of what I just described. As you can see, the photographs are enlarged representations of selected pages that have been obstructed by speakers. I can read the handwritten stories; I can feel the sensation of my thoughts being blocked as I read the photograph. However, I am unable to feel the journal’s pages and I hear nothing instead of the words that I cannot see. Although I have not had contact with the original, I know for a fact that experiencing the extension to the installation is a very different sensation than experiencing the installation itself.
Having expressed that but not experienced it, I still think it’s safe to say that the curator of this display as well as the artist have successfully created both an extension of the piece described as well as a piece that stands on its own representing its unique aura both connected to and free from “Tonspur 62 – Audiobooks”.