John Wynne Exhibited at The Saatchi Gallery

John Wynne
Installation for 300 speakers, Pianola and vacuum cleaner


300 speakers, Pianola, vacuum cleaner, audio amplifiers, hard disc recorder, speaker wire, suction hose, piano roll

Dimensions variable

John Wynne’s untitled installation for 300 speakers, player piano and vacuum cleaner is at once monumental, minimal and immersive. It uses sound and sculptural assemblage to explore and define architectural space and to investigate the borders between sound and music. The piece has three interwoven sonic elements: the ambient sound of the space in which it is installed, the notes played by the piano, and a computer-controlled soundtrack consisting of synthetic sounds and gently manipulated notes from the piano itself. Because none of these elements are synchronised with each other, the composition will never repeat. The music punched into the paper roll is Franz Léhar’s 1909 operetta Gypsy Love, but the mechanism has been altered to play at a very slow tempo and the Pianola modified to play only the notes which most excite the resonant frequencies of the gallery space in which it is installed. Sound moves through the space on trajectories programmed using a 32-channel sound controller, creating a kind of epic, abstract 3-D opera in slow motion. Originally developed at Beaconsfield Gallery, a former Victorian ‘ragged school’ in South London, this piece draws on notions of obsolescence and nostalgia, combining early 20th -century technology and culture with a vast collection of recently discarded hi-fi speakers. These disparate components are brought together through contemporary digital technology which not only distributes the sound but also controls the (found) vacuum cleaner which in turn drives the Pianola. The piece is site-specific, but it also carries traces of its own history: some of the synthetic sounds were created in response to the light industrial ambience of the work’s original location, some in response to its new site in the Saatchi Gallery. The mountainous formation of speakers, inspired by the recycling plant from which they were rescued, functions both visually and as a platform for the projection of sound, creating, in the words of writer Brandon LaBelle, ‘a soft balance between order and chaos, organization and its rupture’.

Other artists in

Caroline Achaintre    Tasha Amini    Hurvin Anderson    Maurizio Anzeri    Jonathan Baldock    Anna Barriball    Steve Bishop    Karla Black    Lyn. Yiadom Boakye    Pablo Bronstein    Alan Brooks    Peter Linde Busk    Carla Busuttil    Nicholas Byrne    Gareth Cadwallader    Juliana Cerqueira Leite    Spartacus Chetwynd    Steven Claydon    Clarisse d'Arcimoles    William Daniels    Matthew Darbyshire    Graham Durward    Tim Ellis    Tom Ellis    Richard Evans    Tessa Farmer    Marcus Foster    Robert Fry    Ximena Garrido-Lecca    Jaime Gili    Nick Goss    Luke Gottelier    Kate Groobey    Anthea Hamilton    Anne Hardy    Gabriel Hartley    Nicholas Hatfull    Iain Hetherington    Alexander Hoda    Sigrid Holmwood    James Howard    Graham Hudson    Dean Hughes    Des Hughes    Mustafa Hulusi    Paul Johnson    Edward Kay    Idris Khan    Scott King    Ansel Krut    littlewhitehead    Christina Mackie    Alastair Mackinven    Goshka Macuga    Ryan Mosley    Rupert Norfolk    Arif Ozakca    Mark Pearson    Dan Perfect    Peter Peri    Olivia Plender    Henrijs Preiss    Ged Quinn    Clunie Reid    Barry Reigate    Luke Rudolf    Maaike Schoorel    Daniel Silver    David Brian Smith    Renee So    Fergal Stapleton    Clare Stephenson    Systems House    Caragh Thuring    Phoebe Unwin    Donald Urquhart    Jonathan Wateridge    John Wynne    Toby Ziegler

John Wynne's Biography

John Wynne
Born in 1957, Canadian Air Force base, Zweibrücken, Germany
Lives and works in London, UK


Anspayaxw. Satellite Gallery, Museum of Anthropology, Vancouver, Canada

Anspayaxw. Alley Cat Gallery, San Francisco, in conjunction with Ethnographic Terminalia and the American Anthropological Association
Installation no. 2 for high and low frequencies. Curated by Fieldgate for Angus-Hughes Gallery, London

Installation for 300 speakers, Pianola and vacuum cleaner. Beaconsfield Soundtrap commission, London
Wireframe. Surrey Art Gallery, Vancouver, Canada

Transplant. Collaborative installation w Tim Wainwright, The Nunnery, London and Beldam Gallery, Brunel University, Uxbridge
Hearts, Lungs and Minds. (half-hour radio piece) BBC Radio 3

Flow. Collaborative installation w Tim Wainwright, Old Operating Theatre Museum, London

230 Unwanted Speakers (Walnut Grained Vinyl Veneered Particleboard Construction). Hull Art Lab, Hull, UK

Hearing Voices. Installation, Botswana National Museum, National Art Gallery of Namibia, Brunei Gallery, London
Hearing Voices. Half-hour radio piece, BBC Radio 3

Response Time. Public sound installation, Metro Hall Square, Toronto for New Adventures in Sound Art

Grasping and Clinging. Collaborative installation w Denise Hawrysio, Project 304, Bangkok, Thailand


What is What. Cold Atlantic. Blurred Edges, Frise Kunslerhaus, Hamburg, Germany

Cold Atlantic. Volume: Hear Here, Justina M Barnicke Gallery, Toronto, Canada
Transplant. 'Sound Art: Sound as a Medium for Art', ZKM Institute, Karlsruhe, Germany

Installation no. 1 for high and low frequencies. Hearing Loss. 'Air I Breathe', Gazelli Art House at the Rochelle School, London

Anspayaxw. ‘Border Zones: New Art across Cultures’, The Museum of Anthropology, Vancouver

Faster Higher Stronger. ‘Sound Proof 2’, independent art space, London

Response Time II. ‘Parallax’, Fieldgate Gallery, London
Someone Else and ITU. Collaborative installations w Tim Wainwright, Deep Wireless Festival, Gallery 1313, Toronto

Push comes to Shove. Collaborative installation w Denise Hawrysio, ‘Analogue & Digital’, Fieldgate Gallery, London and ‘Transcentric’, Lethaby Gallery, London
Hearing Loss. ‘Signal and Noise’, VIVO, Vancouver
Feeding the Habit of Energy. Podcast soundwalk, RADAR, Loughborough University
ITU. Collaborative video w Tim Wainwright, ‘The Performance of Sound’, TATE Britain. Also shown at The Old Operating Theatre Museum, London and ‘The Art of Immersive Soundscapes’, Regina, Canada

Sound CAD. E:vent, London
Do(n’t). Text/sound interventions on the BBC Big Screen, Humber Mouth Literary Festival, Hull

Hmm. ‘Noises’, Open Arts Platform, London
Fallender ton für 207 lautsprecher boxen. 2yk Galerie, Berlin
Motion-triggered plastic carrier bags. Great Hall, Goldsmiths College
Medicine Box. Soundtrack for film by David Leister, Rotterdam International Film Festival

Auditory Alarm Study 6.03. Wapping Hydraulic Power Plant

Horisontista Horisonttiin. ‘Runaway Spatial Plan Project’, Helsinki, Finland

Cry Wolf. ‘Transience’, Kiasma, The Museum of Contemporary Art, Helsinki, Finland