This summer, la Gaîté Lyrique is cranking up the sound, but mostly, we are "showing" sound, to shed light on an unsung aspect of the music, social and artistic underground: the sound system!
INSTALLATIONS, PHOTOGRAPHY, VIDEO, SOUND EXPERIMENTS, CONCERT PREMIERES: THE EXHIBITION "SAY WATT? THE CULT OF THE SOUND SYSTEM" TAKES YOU ON A JOURNEY IN SEARCH OF THE ORIGINAL FORM OF CONTEMPORARY MUSICAL EXPRESSION AND THE MANY WAYS IN WHICH IT HAS BEEN ARTICULATED THROUGHOUT THE WORLD.
Sound systems, portable audio systems, mobile discos... The terms may vary, but one fact remains a constant: the invention of this form of musical expression came from the streets. From raves in Europe to demonstrations from Kingston to Belem, from France to Columbia by way of Kenya and the huge K7 sound players favored by rappers, the amplified sound of sound systems has been the common ground among popular and musical gatherings these past few decades.
And what started out as nothing more than a portable disco in the ghettos of Jamaica or in U.S. basements in the 50s has revolutionized the way we listen to music. Since then, radically different cultures have adopted this cult object, making it their own through all manner of tinkering and manipulation.
The sound system also has the unique quality of having been, throughout the years and as needed, an artistic, religious and political loudspeaker. For the very first time, an exhibit comes along that explores the technical component at the root of all forms of contemporary urban music, which played a part in the birth of major musical movements. But not just that: by claiming its codes for themselves, many contemporary artists also ended up bringing their own vision to "sound system culture" over the years, by questionning sound's colonization of public space
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