Unexpected views: Aura Satz on 'The Master of Saint Veronica' | National Gallery
My name is hora sets I'm an artist who works with film, and sound, many. Of my works Center, on sound inscriptions. Sound writing, and playback and because. Of this I'm particularly interested in women's voices and the ways in which they get heard or aren't. Heard enough and need to be recirculated. Welcome. Everybody, thank you for joining us this evening. This. Is. One. Of our events, of. The. Unexpected. View, it's. A program that we've introduced, to the gallery quite, recently. Where. We're inviting. Contemporary. Artists. Artists, working today to. Come in and talk about their work in. Front of an artwork of their choosing, and it's. Quite a nice idea. Where. We get to kind of share the collection of the National Gallery but, also look, at it look. At it in a very different way from a, different point. Of view and. Through, the amazing practices, that, artists. Are. Creating. Today. So. Before, we start I'd like to thank his. Scots the. Contemporary, art partner, with. The National Gallery for, their, support and with, their support we're able to kind of have. Fantastic, events like these where we're bringing artists, into the gallery, but. Also they. Enabled us to have these events filmed so after, this, after. This evening the, film. Will be made and will be available online for, forevermore. So. It's. Yeah. It's with great pleasure that this, evening. We. Have the wonderful, Oris hats with us today. Aura. Is. An, artist who is based here in London and. And. Her work explores ideas. Around encryption. And communication. Through, our interaction. With technologies. And methods, of recording. Using. A broad range of media including film sound performance. And sculpture, always. Work and. Extensive. Research. Expands. Our ideas, of what is seen and heard, especially. Around notions, of the projected voice. Through. The, histories. Particularly. Of women and. Experimentations. With technology. Her. Previous projects have seen a collaborate, with women who have contributed to the evolution, of technology, in science and art through, their pioneering. Experimentation. And invention, such. As the electronic. Music. Composer, Daphne. Aram and the. Filmmaker Liz Rhodes. Or. A completed, a PhD at the Slade School. Of Art and is, currently, a cheater, of mute, Moving, Image at the Royal, College of Art here in London. She was shortlisted, for both the Samsung. Applause, award and a German award, for film in 2012. And in. 2015. She was awarded the Leverhulme resident. Artist residency in, collaboration. With the University of Southampton which, culminated, in this fantastic exhibition, at, the, John Hansard gallery in 2016. Or, has. Shown her work extensively. Across. The country and internationally I'm, just going to name a few including, Tate Modern, the. Hayward Gallery John, Hanson gallery home, which, is a fantastic space in Manchester, and.
If, You were lucky enough to be in Sydney in 2016. Or was what was included in the Sydney buy any or that year entitled. The, future is already here it's just not evenly distributed. So, most. Recently you. May have seen always, work in the. Science Gallery at King's, College London over, the summer where she. Presented her, project tuning, interference. Dark matter radio a. Fantastic. Piece which. Involved. A actively. Involved your movement and your senses, and quite. An extraordinary way, the. Work is actually touring to doubling next year so. In the spring if you're in Dublin please, do visit the Science Gallery to see the work so. Please, join me in welcoming or, this, evening. So. To begin, or, we. Are standing. Here in, the, st. sweet wing at the National, Gallery to look at this. Work. By. An. Unknown. Artist. Named. By. Various. Academics, as the master of Santa Monica, and. The. Painting. Is titled, Saint, Veronica with. Sudarium. I, know. This is a painting that's kind of occupy. Deal, been. Of interest to you for many, many years I wanted. To ask how you first come across the painting and why. You selected. It to talk about this evening so. I was quite daunted, when I was asked to do this talk because, as a very, young. Almost, teenager I guess 18 year old visiting, London for the first time I came to the National Gallery saw all these masterpieces. And artworks and I'd. Been thinking a lot around. Icons. And, contact. Relics which maybe I can explain what that means in a moment and this, image really stood out to me it's, quite humble it's anonymous and, I thought what can I talk about in, this, context. That would kind of allow me and prompted me to talk about other things that, I'm really interested. Which. In, part, also center, around women, and women's, kind of alternative, forms, of writing I. Have. Actually. Written. When. I did my PhD and thought a lot about this. Idea of the Veronica and the Veronica is a portmanteau, of the word Vera. Icon, so true, image a true image of Christ and legend. Has it that Saint. Veronica. Offered. Christ, a, cloth, a sudarium. As. He was. Walking. During. The passion and when. He, wipes his face with it it left an imprint so, his blood and his sweat left a stain of sorts and although. This, is you, know somewhat unverified, we do have the Turin Shroud I'm. Sure, people. Are familiar with this image which, is a. Which. Has. This kind of, forensic. Qualities. And it's an abstract stain that, is said to convey. The image of Christ. The true image so, in, some, ways it's a kind of genuine. Image. A genuine, replica almost of photographic, imprint of sorts and I, suppose, thinking. Back to some of my interests. In indexical. Images so an image that is a sign of something else just like. Smoke. Is an index of fire or, a fingerprint. Is an index or has a kind of causal, relationship, to the hand that, made the fingerprint, this. Image in theory. Is it is a true mint or a true trace of. Christ. And we don't have any likenesses, so it's kind of interesting on the one hand in this, painting it is figurative. But. If we compare it to the Turin Shroud it's a kind of abstract, stain, that allows us to graft, some, kind of a narrative reading, onto it, is. We. Were talking, earlier it's. I find that this work really interesting, because of that. Level. Of. Reproducing. And illustrating, an idea, from a myth so, on one, level it's, this. Image that's been produced as a relic but also it's. Been. Reinterpreted. Again. From, a myth so, what. You have as this image of Christ in the in the painting is actually. Quite. A glorious, image of Christ you know his face his image, is kind of staring out here, and it's. Not just a sort of abstract, stain. So. It has, this sort of level of translation again and. What I find really interesting is that it kind of correlates with the way that we, can, approach your practice in a way to, think about how, in. Your. Films. And. Collaborations, with various. Artists, you are. Looking at the traces, of sound and. Particularly. Electronic, sound that has been processed, through different. Mediums. Translated. Into an image perhaps or a physical being but also then translated, back into, and what we might, infer, from that.
Kind Of form of, translation. And that form, of communication, yeah. I mean when I was talking earlier about the akhirat. Poet on which is. The Greek. Word for an image not made by human hands of this kind of image that magically. Comes, into being through contacts. So when I say a contact, relic I'm referring, to the city of proximity through, touch and there, were other kinds of contact related such as you. Know the mantle of the virginal, um. But. They said you have an image not made by human hands is one that I come, back to again and again, and. I. Actually I wanted to maybe show a little excerpt, of project, that speaks, to this and I have several. Excerpts, that speak to your question around the sound and sound writing, but. Maybe just as a kind of taster. You know I think on the, one hand this idea of. Touch. Without touch or a kind, of relic, that comes into being without. Actually, being the original, it's. A trace, but. On the other hand it's, also just. Going back to this idea of abstraction a kind of Rorschach, blot almost, so if you think of it as this stain. That is then interpreted, as something else, from. From, the archaic poet on you. Can start to kind of suggest, an idea of an, alternative, form of writing or language, of speaking and, so I wanted to show, this piece which I did. Actually. When I was pregnant and then, we. Performed, it on multiple occasions. It's, called ventriloquist. And, maybe, while I show. It I'll just talk, over it a little bit although it does have sound. So. Basically. Electromagnetic. Waves on. The body and what. Interested, me here, in this idea of rental aqua is a kind of alternative form of speeches, and bellies me. I'm interested in you see. Through so what you're looking at on the one hand is. Apparent, you know it's a belly and a hand activating, the belly almost like a medium, but. On the other hand you're, kind of meant to look through it and when I was talking earlier about. Kyo-ahn. As an index, or an image that you see through. Inhabited. And animated, by a whole range of other. Narratives. Are necessarily, empty. And I think you did my, well. I'm. Kind of recurringly. In. Your doorway or the kind of image that you know that and through. A, turning. Point elsewhere, and maybe there's a kind of closer looking, or, endlessly, listening, that enables you to kind. Of project into, a different space and, hear alternative, voices alternative. History. Or first Beauty you. Know using, an. Instrument so. The theremin is a there's. An instrument which. It's. Quite a modern instrument, that uses these electronic. Kind of rods. That you can you don't actually touch so. As soon as you move closer to it it produces a different sound and you can use your another. Hand to kind of elevate. The sound or kind of change the pitch. And. I wondered if that you. Know that, kind of, interest. And I mean. What first. Drew you to using that instrument and then adapting, it for for. The performance, well. Going back to this idea of stain, as a kind of Rorschach blot or some kind of. Material. Suggestion. Of a code, of sorts or some kind, of I suppose and, quite an open. I'm. Gonna call it a visual score, of sorts so you can read into it something it might be a form of notation or a trace of sorts, of some, kind of writing but that you read into it. Something. That suggests a. Code. Or or a language but it doesn't resolve itself it's not settled. It's not semantically, stable, and the thurman is exactly, like, that unlike a piano where you have each note you, know standardized, with the thurman you have to what's, called pitch fish you have to find. The. First note and then from there you construct, the rest so for me. Going. Back to why I find, the. Idea of the stain so, interesting, it's, this idea of a suggestion. Of some kind of. Language. That doesn't quite resolve itself it's not a familiar language and there's an openness to it and, maybe. On that note I can show a short, excerpt of a film that I made with, the filmmaker Liz Rhodes, it's. Actually a, 20-minute. Films as a very short excerpt, but. The. Way that it's structured is it uses optical sound-on-film I don't know if people are familiar with. Older. Analog film where you have a sound. Wave and the, sound wave is basically the voice creates. Leave its imprint, of light and, I. Suppose, not too similar to this idea of an index or an image not made by human hands you have this this. Kind, of sound. Writing, made by the voice and. The. Way that we scripted. This film and then kind, of ran it through the optical sound camera generated. These images, which are a true, or an authentic, image of the voice or a sound print much like today in computers, you have a sound wave but.
Because. Of the way that it was structured it has these kind of stroboscopic. Flickering. Elements, and that flicker, creates, a kind of Rorschach, blot so. I just want to show a, minute. And a half of that film. What. Is at stake in. Latching, sound, and, image. The. Trace left behind, shakes. And trembles. It. Knows, its own instability. Hinges. Swing. Light. Slivers. Tremulous. But. Not in fear. Losing. The stability, of a line a, mark. Of boundaries. Like. A fire in a forest. Once. A light it. Flickers. In everything. Light. Reveals. Its own shadows. Uncertain. Shifting. Upsetting. The silence, breaking. The script. It. Is an open score. So. Just going back to this image in. Some ways what I wanted to talk about in, choosing this particular. Kind, of Veronica. Metaphor. If you like or. Okay. Reportin, logic is this idea of a. Trace, that. Is manifested. That maybe suggests, some kind of writing but, isn't. Fossilized. Or isn't settled, in a very kind of standardized, form. Of interpretation. And. I. Suppose that brings me on for. The next film, Wednesday. Yeah I want to ask you to, jump in before. We move on I. Found. That project. With Liz Rhodes particularly, interesting there, was a sort of live, version. Where. You performed, with a. What's. It called the Reubens. To every, Institute. Which. Again, was another former, sort of visualizing, sound in some way I. Wanted. To bring it back again. To the your previous film as well in, terms of the way as a viewer there's sort of an. Understanding, of trying. To, interpret. What, these visual. Symbols. Might mean what the imagery, might mean, but. Also thinking, back historically, who. Thinking. About who might, have been the, P the. People who were who, were interpreting. These dates and, thinking. About, seers. And fortune, tellers and. Particularly. Often. Those roles were taken up by women. And. It's quite interesting that the. Whole. Myth around. The. Sudarium in there and some. Veronica is is. Taken, by a woman you, know - for. Her to kind of see this image in this piece of fabric, and, I went to wondered, if you could talk a little bit to that about, your. Interest, particularly in. These. Pioneering, women actually who, have. Thought. About ways of communicating, or interpreting, language, or through. Sounded, technology, in different ways. Yeah. I mean as I said earlier my work. I mean, you said it that you know my work has centered a lot around the history of sound technologies. And in. This idea of sound writing, you know certain voices get written and others are. Obscured. Or overwritten, or not given, space and so this idea of like who, gets heard and where. The voices circulate, and and how we can kind of think. About rewiring. This, and Riaan, scribe being the Canon this is really important, to me so you, know we were just talking earlier about you. Know of all the works that one could have chosen here, it's precisely one that's kind of anonymous, and you know Saint Veronica although, she is you. Know identified, as such there's also a kind of. As. A humility to you know heard her gesture, even which is a presentation. Of another. Image that is almost like a kind of mirror you. Know angled.
Elsewhere, So it's not to look at her it's to kind of look at it as a reflection, of. Someone. Else and I, suppose. In. My interest, in, sound. Writing. You. Know the particular voices, that get obscured, or written, out of that history have been historically. Women and of, course. Non-white. Or kind of ethnic minorities, and so there's a sense in which we. Need to redress this Canon and think about how we can bring those voices in to different kinds of circulations, so I'm really. Committed to that and. Invested, in it. On many fronts but also. Going. Back to this idea of alternative, forms of sound writing, the reason certain, women, and electronic, music specifically, are interesting, to me is because. Within. The forms, that they invented, of, a. Kind, of need you know if we assume that there's a given alphabet, there's a given form. Of music notation. You, know the stave and so forth if you kind of shift that and think about. Instantiating. A new kind of language or a new unheard-of, as yet. Sound. World then. That, kind, of opens, up the space for. An, alternative, possible. Way. Of being in the world I mean that might sound quite ambitious but I do think of it in that way and. In, particular, you. Know if you change the. Sound script, if you change the forms of sound writing and then you change the soundscape, and then internally change that kind of listening, that this enables, I. I. Want to believe that that's kind of what we need more of and. Maybe. Now's a good time to show a short excerpt. Of my resume before we move on I just wanted to talk to you a bit more about Liz Rhodes and, actually, your relationship, with this could. You just talk. A little bit about, actually. Who Liz Rhodes is and her. Importance, and. How. You came to collaborate, and especially to make this film because it's a because the. Previous one yes. Exactly. He passed, away I didn't meet her unfortunate, no but, with Liz Rhodes yeah Liz. Taught, me actually over, 20 years ago when I was a student at the Slade and. She's, an amazing. Filmmaker. In, her late seventies now an. Amazing, writer and. Thinker. And. Not. Says yeah. Accolades, but she's very special to me and we meet regularly and, have, conversations, and, sometimes. They have manifested as films and other times right, now we're writing a text, together. In. Many ways my work is always about the space between, voices. And, notion of a shared voice and so I'm really I, like. To think of my work since dialogues, both. In. Terms of the subject matter but also in terms of the method and, so, the conversations, with Liz are always, feeding into this as well as conversations, with other people. Maybe. I'll show this film and, then we can talk about that relationship. Of being able to, have. A conversation with an artist yeah again, but yeah in, a different way so. Definitely, I'm was an electronic, music pioneer, she's, British working, in the late 60s, and she invented this machine called the aram X machine. Which. Used optical, sound so the thing I showed earlier similar principle, but on clear, film and.
Essentially. She came, up with a new form. Of sound right. It's a kind of Sonic alphabet, of since. It. Is as if the human being has, thousands. Upon thousands, of, energy. Stores each. Tuned, for. A purpose. Each. Charge, with. A potential. Which, allows it to sound. Forth. So. I might just leave it. Because. I think the visuals of this so this. Film was so interesting. In the way that we think about how, sound, has been constructed, through a physical, film, you, know Daphne Ram was an. Amazing, amazing composer. Experimenting. With, different. Technologies, and pushing, the, sort of limits of what could be possible for electronic, music. There's. That new Ram who created the was. It dr. Heath um, she was part of the BBC radio phonic when Delia. Derbyshire was, there proposing, elements I mean it's really interesting cos going back to this idea of kind, of a, cynic, yeah language, or a language that doesn't quite have a clear. Direction. You, know if you think of electronic, music this is a new soundscape, it's not a sound that is made by a body that is familiar to us so in those early days of electronic, music you know, there are two, kind of interesting things to point out one is that a lot of those sounds, were relegated. To, either horror, film or science, fiction and. Asus idea of like we don't know which body it has and so it's. Kind of immediately either the object or the you. Know the futuristic, or the elsewhere it's not the here and now that is familiar to us and then. At. The same time there's, a sense in which for women in particular you. Know because music, composition. Wasn't. Necessarily, available, to them as lots, of forms of Education, weren't available to women, you. Know historically but, to be able to write a piece of music and music, can get an orchestra, to perform it you needed the, contacts, you needed the money you needed the investment, and. Electronic. Music short-circuited. That because. Suddenly you, could go straight from whatever it was that you were thinking in, your, mind to, the performance of it without having to go through an, interpreter, or through the kind of. Structures. And hierarchies that, would have enabled it to come into speech and so. That's another reason that I've tended. To focus on music, in. Addition to this idea of a kind of sound that doesn't quite you. Know is it a human like the theremin is it human is it machine is it otherworldly. Is, it of this. Body. And. All. Of those things to me a full. Of potential full of a kind. Of I suppose. I think of it as a kind of open, capacious. Language, it's the language that doesn't shut. Down but rather when, I was talking only about this idea of a portal, or a doorway it kind. Of points to other. Threads. And they're possible, call. It futures or possible presence. And. That is something that I really I keep returning to in. Different ways. And in different I. Suppose. Incarnations, sometimes it's specifically, sound and, sound writing, but other times it's its. Other. Forms, of, you. Know necessarily. The history of Technology always although that is really, interesting to me for, many reasons can, we talk a little bit about the construction of, the film. You. Mentioned that Orin, passed away many years ago so you didn't you, weren't able to have that conversation directly, with her but, I feel there's something interesting, in the way that you approached. Filming, the, machine, you know this invented, machine by her. To. Kind, of to. Speak, and have. A conversation with, the, way that she, was thinking, about. About. Sound. Through. These, and. Through. This way this, way of making you know through that kind of immediacy, of being. Able to kind of communicate, and create a composition. Yeah. I mean I as. I said earlier like even when I'm not in. Conversation. Directly. The. Works are conversations. In part with. With. Maybe historical, figures in the past and kind of animating, them into the present or bringing. Those voices. Back, into, circulation so. For me having made the film about definitely. Around and I spent a lot of time with the archives, I read through her texts. And, manuscripts. And her book and. I. Do. Think of it as a conversation. Whether. It was a kind, of direct conversation, or not I. Suppose. It's because I think of my you know going back to the first image the.
First Film around. Ventriloquist, idea, of being an antenna, or a medium, or a kind of portal for another voice to appear, and that's how I thought of myself, in. Relation to making, some. Of these films around historical, figures that maybe have been overlooked, I mean I made that film in 2011 and since then Daphnia, Rome has become much more well-known and, that. Machine was only discovered just. Before. I, made. That film it had been lost, in some shed in France and so. That. Idea of bringing her voice back into, circulation and creating. A space carving, out a space for. Her. Machine. For her aerobics machine and form, of notation to be visible and for her music. And her voice to be audible. Was. It was part of my practice as an artist I mean obviously my. Voice is in it too but I do think of myself as the space for other you. Know we're all always. Inhabited, by other voices we're, always sharing voices, and speaking, and being spoken, through and that's, something that I really. Hold. Dear yeah, I think. It's a good thing you know it's not it's not a negative thing to be. Inhabited. By other voices, it's something we should be more open. To, an embrace yeah. Which. Makes total sense in terms of your selection, for this evening. Please. Join me in thanking or this. Evening and for, sharing, so much. For. More information, please click. On the link in the description, thank you very much. You.