From the utterance stems the establishment of the category of the present, and from the category of the present is born the category of time. The present is precisely the source of time. It is that presence in the world that only the speech act makes possible, since (if we reflect on this) man has no other way of living “now” at his disposition besides the possibility to realize it through the insertion of discourse in the world.
- Émile Benveniste
Volume: Hear Here is conceived around the vexed question of presence in its entwine with absence. An ontological discussion considered through the tenuous objecthood, but resolute materiality of sonic phenomena. Benveniste's epigraph gives primacy to the speech act, here the intent is to supplant it with the sound act. The event of language taking place in time is replaced by sound as infiltrator, enveloper, occupier of both time and space. This is a moment akin to Tony Smith's famed conclusion following his experience of driving on an unfinished and unmarked portion of the New Jersey Turnpike: "There is no way you can frame it, you just have to experience it." The incompleteness which is a corollary of the decision to dwell on unframed experience is what Michael Fried in "Art of Objecthood" so vehemently resisted and is the condition of possibility of this exhibition project. Returning to the epigraph, the other bias it foregrounds is the role of discourse which also performs a framing function. There is a desire in the twenty-four works by nineteen artists assembled here, however temporary and fraught the exercise of this desire might be, to go beyond meaning, beyond interpretation. Why this desire to seemingly bypass the straight path to knowledge? Hans-Georg Gadamer spoke of a poem speaking not only through a "meaning intention" but that simultaneously a "truth lies in its performance." Serendipitously, he dubbed this dimension volumen.