Michael Craig-Martin Hearing Things 2003

Michael Craig-Martin
Hearing Things
© the artist

This artwork is a picture of an assortment of seven fairly ordinary domestic objects. Each object is drawn as a simple outline and they appear not to be hand-drawn because the lines are so perfectly realised, as if produced by a computerised software package. Some of these linear diagrams overlap each other and overlaying the entire picture surface is a drawing of a pair of Walkman-type headphones. Behind this are a number of other objects: starting from the top of the page there is a step-ladder. To the right of that is the handle of a garden fork which is drawn diagonally across the page to the bottom left, where the tines are shown. In the top right hand corner there is a fire extinguisher. In the bottom right hand corner there is a bucket. In the bottom left hand corner there is a torch and finally in the top left corner there is a toilet. The title of the drawing, Hearing Things, is a phrase with multiple meanings, just as this is a picture with multiple subjects. ‘Hearing Things’ can mean imagining that you heard something that was never there, and it can also mean things that enable you to hear. The objects in this drawing fall into various categories: the only object designed purposefully to transmit noise is the pair of headphones. However some of the other objects also make noise: the fire extinguisher, bucket and the toilet. Michael Craig-Martin’s drawing is like an instruction manual of diagrams of how to listen in to the domestic environment.