To mark the 2012 opening of the Tanks, Tate Modern’s dedicated live art space, a number of artists working across film, installation, new media, performance, and other live art forms were invited to present works. This comprised a number of historical artworks, as well as new pieces developed specially for the space. In addition, a variety of participatory and educational events were presented, including the symposium ‘Playing in the Shadows’, which took place over the 26 and 27 October in the Starr Auditorium and was accompanied by a programme of four performances by Tina Keane, Patrick Staff, Kerry Tribe and Aura Satz in the Tanks. The symposium included talks and papers from a number of speakers, highlighting the work of scholars exploring expanded media and intersections between art, film and the live event. In particular, they focused on artists’ use of illumination and darkness as a response to the unique space of the Tanks at Tate.
Aura Satz’s In and Out of Synch was presented in connection with the work of Lis Rhodes,1 which was also on display in the Tanks during this period. In and Out of Synch looked at the intersection of sound, light and projection, and particularly the presentation of sound in a visual format. In the film element of the work, Satz played a recorded dialogue, performed by herself and Rhodes, through a 16mm mono and 35mm stereo optical sound camera; these are the machines which print sound tracks, or sound negatives onto film. The cameras projected the visualisation of the audible dialogue into the space as abstract patterns of light.
Alongside this there was a live vocal and cello performance by Mikhail Karikis and Anton Lukoszevieze, which achieved a similar blending of the aural and visual through the use of a Ruben’s Tube. Manipulating waves of flame, rather than light, the Ruben’s Tube responded to the sound made by the two performers, again creating a visualisation of the sounds being made. Taking two instances of different technologies which were able to attain the same effect within different mediums, Satz explored the link between light and dark, sound and silence. The simultaneous projection of both sound and light, although radically different in their formats and the audience’s sensual experience of them, demonstrated their relationship to one another as cause and effect.
All four of the performances presented alongside ‘Playing in the Shadows’ dealt differently with the nature of sound, light, projection and performance, pulling together issues raised in the symposium. The works allowed the audience to consider the theoretical arguments from a fresh perspective, and to experience a range of contemporary creative work investigating light and darkness, image and action.
- 1. Lis Rhodes’s Light Music 1975 was one of the works on display for the full duration of the Tanks at Tate: Art in Action programme.
Sound Seam: Aura Satz, exhibition catalogue, Wellcome Collection, London, 2010.
Melissa Gronlund, ‘Aura Satz’, Frieze, November–December 2010, https://frieze.com/article/aura-satz?language=en, accessed October 2015.