An Ear to the Sky

Bronze 228cm x 101cm x 38cm
Permanent Installation: Apec Naru Park, Busan South Korea
Busan Biennale 2008

An Ear to the Sky developed out of my fascination with sensory perception and an exploration of human biology’s apparent limits within our terrestrial and temporal forms. In my solo exhibition, Three Senses, I installed sculptures of human sense organs that are free from the constraints of the body and have their own corporeal mobility. The projects were placed in public areas to allow viewers to encounter the surveillance and sensory aspects of the work in unexpected contexts. Through my research on the senses I have translated various physical sensations into sound, video and sculptural installations. I decided to design a sculpture of an ear that could be both a passive surveillance device and an aquatic object that was easily visible from the shore.

When anchored on the eastern seaboard of North America, An Ear to the Sky appeared as a sensory organ ‘listening’ to the water’s ambient sounds. It was like an island passively absorbing all the audio waves in its vicinity. As an aural surveillance object in the water, it transmitted the sounds of the harbour to the headset on shore. In the APEC Naru Park in Busan, South Korea the left Ear’s function has been inverted: rather than a listener it has become a speaker, patiently channeling unexpected sounds that were recorded by the right Ear in North America. In function it remains a passive object broadcasting sound from another continent yet its muscular form and bright colour evoke its visual power.