Exhibition LISTENING WITH YOUR HANDS: Obsolete Media, Ephemeral Messages

12.05.2023 to 07.01.2024
  • Escoltar amb les mans
  • Disco Demolition Night
  • Mauricio Kagel

The possibility of recording sound and reproducing it entails, from the beginning, the need for physical mediums: shellac cylinders, stone or vinyl discs, and magnetic tape. Their recording and their subsequent reproduction involve friction on the material they are made of: it follows and traces an irregular groove containing information, and confers a physical identity to the ephemeral temporality of the music. They materialize what at first glance seems immaterial - ideals, feelings, thoughts and emotions - and capture their abstraction by assigning a  tangible form of the medium to the sound waves. Perhaps if the vinyl record and magnetic tapes have survived in this digital age, in which we are immersed, it is because they offer another layer to the listening experience. Listening is therefore a tactile experience: we also listen with our hands.

LISTENING WITH YOUR HANDS: Obsolete Media, Ephemeral Messages, reflects on the fragility, durability and capabilities of analog media, how these have determined listening, memories and imaginaries, individual or collective, as well as the way we relate to sound , either as listeners or as creators.

The exhibition is based on the determined dialogue between three areas of action. The first contextualizes the problems of mediums and their historical and conceptual impact. The artistic and subversive uses of formats, within the artistic and sound manifestations of the second half of the XXth century onwards, are presented in the second area. The third, thanks to a selection of objects and documents, presents three musical works, I Am Sitting in a Room (Alvin Lucier, 1970), Vinyl Coda (Philip Jeck, 1999-2003), and The Disintegration Loops (William Basinski, 2002 -2003), presented as rereadings and reinterpretations of the ephemeral, finite and material qualities of analogue media.

What is recorded, what is saved, what is lost, what is forgotten, what is recorded again and also what new opportunities are generated? What is archive and what is amnesia? How do we deal with "memory loss", a collateral effect of the cyclical processes that these technologies give rise to? How do we manage, interpret and store these obsolete modern archaeological remains, manufactured in a post-industrial capitalist context where technical reproducibility continues to produce, prescribe, recycle and pile up an immeasurable volume of analogue junk and digital waste?

Curated by Ferran Fages, the exhibition proposes a journey through the blurred and permeable contours that analog formats hide and reveal.

«Memory is no longer conceived as the need to retain the past to prepare the future, but it manufactures the futures and the pasts it needs.»

Joan Fontcuberta. Revelacions. Dos assaigs sobre fotografia, 2019

Ferran Fages
Participants i col·laboradors
Idea original: Jordi Alomar

Suport al comissariat: Mariona Villanueva

Amb la col·laboració de: Biblioteca Nacional de Catalunya, Centre de Documentació de l’Orfeó Català, Museu de Badalona, Museu del Joguet de Catalunya, Museu Nacional de la Ciència i la Tècnica de Catalunya, Escola Superior de Música de Catalunya

Disseny expositiu: Emiliana Design

Escoltar amb les mans és una producció del Museu de la Música – Centre Robert Gerhard.


Museum's timetable


Included in Museu de la Música entrance ticket


Museu de la Música