Capitol Hill Art Walk: Noelle Maline at the Stairwell Gallery
Sound Maps is inspired by a story told by Maline’s mother. When her parents were traveling in Czechoslovakia in the late 70’s, their taxi driver from the airport firmly instructed her mother and father to only speak in whispers for the remainder of the trip. As he explained, everything was bugged – their hotel, the phone lines – even the pipes running through the walls.
Within the Eastern Bloc, surveillance was woven into the fabric of everyday life. Paranoia seeped across oceans and borders, not to begin lifting until the fall of the Berlin Wall and liberalization of the Eastern Bloc.
Sound Maps is an art installation that touches upon concepts of freedom through references to different modes of communication, whether they be through secretively passed stories or layered in different planes of existence. When black ink is scribed across and between the faces in old black and white photographs, we are made to understand that messages and information have been and are being passed between bodies.
Sound Maps is a map of found images and objects that appears as a constellation of a larger contextual story. We may not explicitly know the linear narrative, but we intuit that the narrative is embedded within the unconscious mind.