A tour of ‘sound’ at the Design Museum Holon

When sound meets art.

The “Sound” exhibition at the Design Museum Holon. (photo credit: SHAI BEN EFRAIM)
The “Sound” exhibition at the Design Museum Holon.
(photo credit: SHAI BEN EFRAIM)
The “Sound” exhibition at the Design Museum Holon in is an exploration of the relationship between sound and design. Museum visitors are immersed in sound and sight in a sensual experience created by no fewer than 100 speakers strategically located around the building.
Sound is an integral design element of space; it helps define it – for example, the sound of a muezzin or church bells. It is harder to close one’s ears than it is to shut one’s eyes. We are surrounded by and flooded with sounds, amounting to a contamination of noises, says Maya Dvash, the museum’s chief curator. The exhibition is designed to sharpen our focus; to look back at the changes in music from stationary to portable, prompting us to really listen to sound and music, not just take it with us and hear it.
The exhibition spans the entire museum, including the building structure itself. Designed by Ron Arad, the building takes the shape of music waves transformed into a musical instrument. Upon entering the atrium, visitors are exposed to the exhibition presentation text; it is not only to read, but it can be also heard. By leaning on the wall of the lower gallery, the visitors can listen to the presentation of the exhibition.
The main exhibition in the upper gallery features “Seeing Sound,” an exhibition that was originally created by Elisabetta Pisu and brought here from Italy and redesigned by Israeli curators Anat Safran and Lila Chitayat. The exhibition displays stationary and interactive exhibits.
The stationary exhibits are varied – historical and modern: furniture, old radios, sculptures and décor objects – all converted to contain speakers and produce sound. In one exhibit, the objects are orchestrated into an installation with sounds composed by different artists that can be listened to separately, or together as one musical piece.
The interactive exhibit includes a broad range of objects that are used as sound creators and modifiers – based on the visitors’ behavior and activities. Visitors are not just spectators; they become part of the exhibition, composing and varying the music they hear by interacting with the objects.
The lower gallery comprises one large ambient exhibit called “Sensing Sound.” Visitors are immersed into the exhibit, becoming part of it. A large circular couch is located at the center of the big room. The audience stretches on the sofa and in coordination with a sensor, a projection of the mass of the audience is projected on the ceiling, changing according to the audience’s movement. This is synchronized with sound from surrounding speakers, creating a memorable immersive experience in a multi-sensory arena.
In addition to the two galleries, there is a jewelry exhibition “Through the Mesh” by Dana Hakim Bercovich in the round corridor of the museum. The items of jewelry are made of the metal mesh used in loudspeakers.
This brings together the private and public spaces and the collision between them; as the digital world becomes wearable, the question of “Big Brother” arises. The exhibition also conveys the fact that music has become portable and wearable. The artist is a goldsmith, and the jewelry, a hybridization of art and design, is beautiful.
Lastly, the Design Laboratory features “Play on a Loop” with items from the museum collection representing the repetition element in both music and design. The lab is used for children’s activities, with a program for children during the exhibition in order to explore sound.
The exhibition, strikingly different than most art exhibitions, was built in collaboration with Morel, a world-leading Israeli company that specializes in speakers and audio drivers.
My tip: come in the afternoon, when it is usually not as busy! Sound and Matter in Design, until October 28. NIS 17 to 30 at the Design Museum, 8 Pinkhas Eilon St., Holon, www.dmh.org.il, 073-215-1525.