Memory Cycle: Re-Sonified Artifacts is a collaboration between Guelph Civic Museum and musician Gordon Monahan. This exhibition is a foray into the parlour rooms of Victorian Guelph and an experiment with Victorian-era piano recordings.
Working with the museum, Monahan selected 19th-century artifacts from the permanent collection. Using furniture, farm equipment, and keyboard instruments, Monahan experiments with period sound by transmitting vibrations through the artifacts.
Visitors to the exhibition hear sounds once emitted by the instruments on display. In a process called sonification (and re-sonification), Monahan works with the principle that vibration is perceived by the human ear as sound. The artifacts become sounding objects — transmitters of recorded sound — as well as sound sculptures.
The sound installation in the midst of a Victorian-era parlour room offers a ghostly rendition of music that once vibrated through the displayed artifacts. Like memory, the circulation (and re-circulation) of sound calls forth the music and history of times past.
Hear a conversation about Memory Cycle with Guelph Museums’ Curator Dawn Owen, Jesse Stewart, and artist Gordon Monahan:
Memory Cycle was researched, developed and presented by Gordon Monahan with the support of the Canada Council for the Arts.