12 September –18 October 2020


“Sonia Leber and David Chesworth are cultural investigators, landing lightly in foreign territory, weighed down only with a mixed bag of pre-entry research, a camera, some sound equipment and a couple of laptops. The work they are going to make is out there waiting; images and events to be re-interpreted, re-framed, recorded and edited.” Fiona Gruber

What Listening Knows is an immersive 3-channel audio and video installation by artists Sonia Leber and David, made for our second Moving Image exhibition at Messums Wiltshire this autumn. Currently underdevelopment, the research and filming was undertaken here in Wiltshire in summer 2019, when Sonia and David were Messums Wiltshire’s first artists-in-residence.

What Listening Knows creatively interrogates different concepts around the act of listening, particularly the concept of ‘the microphone’s gaze’, which shifts the idea of the ocular gaze, or camera gaze, into an acoustic dimension.

‘The microphone is a finger pointing at an object so as to make it heard…whoever holds the microphone receives the sound intimately and internally, already freighted with intention and purpose’. -Brunhild Ferrari

“The project is built up around three individual performers acting as ‘field recordists’ in the landscape, trailing through cornfields, traversing unfathomable henges and earthworks, and scanning anthills and ancient forests. Each performer, armed with microphones and headphones, was prompted to physically interrogate the landscape from non-typical perspectives, activating their listening to find new ways to capture the acoustic forces of the environment. Following these acoustic cues, we have been developing a camera style detached from its ocular-centric perspective, imbued with an acoustic consciousness, at times tipping and rotating the landscape, levitating rocky masses, and trailing growths in the forest from both macro and micro perspectives.We aim to experiment with how humans re-frame and manipulate their experience of the world, causing different translations of the world around us. Key in this, is how the act of listening informs us differently to visual perception.”