ISD! Introductions: Hannah Kemp-Welch and Lisa Hall

Listening for Instruction 

Listening for Instruction 

Hannah Kemp-Welch and Lisa Hall

Hannah Kemp-Welch is a sound artist, activist and educator. Through performance, sound and digital technologies, works explore the voices prominent in society, how we listen to others and how we come to understand the world around us. Works invite play and encourage collective action as a catalyst for change.

Lisa Hall is a sound artist based in London. Her works take the form of urban interventions, digital interventions, sound installations and prints / books. Focused on spaces, places and how we move through them, her works explore the sonority of the built environment and the body through the push and pull of sound. 

Hannah and Lisa have worked together since 2012, on commissions for galleries including Tate Modern and Firstsite. 

Listening for Instruction It Sounds Devicive! FaB18

Listening for Instruction is a survey of how sounds are used as signifiers in public space, within service industries and commercial products. Collecting the beeps, hisses and tones we hear daily, alongside automated voices giving us instructions and information, this work looks at how human workers are replaced by recorded sound, how sound is used to direct our behaviour, and how the voice is positioned within that to convey messages of greater complexity.

Probing current debates around the potential changes automation brings to working lives, this piece explores themes of work, globalisation, gender parity and the voice. Advocating for an automated future (supporting the anti-work movement’s call for ‘the right to the idle’), this piece looks at how messaging is delivered via the medium of sound, and how this is absorbed, noticed or ignored.

The work takes the shape of a listening post – we narrate a journey, which samples the public service announcements and their associated sound effects we hear along the way. Replaying these voices and beeps, we seek out similarities that transcend context in both use and sonic quality. We question how devices are used in way-finding and other contexts, bringing out the sonic quality we filter out in daily life as the sound is replaced by it’s meaning. A transcript is provided, to sit alongside the listening posts, and a glossary of sounds that help us navigate public space. /