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AUDIBLE OPENING: 'The Ears Have Walls' Vernissage @ ESS

  • ESS 5925 North Ravenswood Avenue Chicago, IL, 60660 United States (map)
David Kanaga and Fernando Ramallo -  Panoramical

David Kanaga and Fernando Ramallo - Panoramical

Vernissage @ Experimental Sound Studio

Thursday, November 30



Join us for the first of two openings for the exhibition The Ears Have Walls: A Survey of Sound Games. The Ears Have Walls is curated by Stephan Moore and Chaz Evans of VGA Gallery, with artworks on display at both ESS and VGA Gallery. The ESS iteration of the exhibition includes work by Rob Lach, David Kanaga, Cipher Prime, Scott Smallwood, and Bill Parod.

The Ears Have Walls opens at VGA Gallery at 2418 W. Bloomingdale Ave #102 Friday, December 1, 5-8pm.


About the Exhibition:

Human awareness of space is a constant negotiation between many senses—hearing, vision, and proprioception. Underneath our primary focus on the visible world, our ears, minds, and tactile faculties constantly play in an economy of attention; favoring some sounds over others, registering the physical dimensions of our surroundings, distinguishing voices from background atmosphere, or filtering everything out except one critical auditory message. The sonic world is oversaturated with options, and we constantly parse through them, seeking cues to significant occurrences, with a listening attention that is both deliberate and involuntary.

The artworks in The Ears Have Walls experiment with those economies by inverting the ratio of attention between the screen and the speakers within the conventions of video games. In doing so, they assign audio to a lead role instead of merely a support for video or a confirmation of transmitted commands. As an under-recognized, but longstanding, genre in video games, sound games offer frameworks and pose questions that help us better understand and develop new strategies for listening; especially for a historical moment where listening is integrated with electronic media as a constitutive part of everyday experience.

The artworks in this exhibition span all levels of video game production, from solo practitioners like David Kanaga and his dog opera Oikospiel Book #1, to international studio productions like Masaya Matsuura's PaRappa the Rapper, originally released for Sony Playstation in 1996. This is the first dual-gallery exhibition between VGA Gallery and Experimental Sound Studio. This new collaboration is an effort to foster connections between Chicago's video game and sound production communities.

Including work by:

    Robin Arnott

    Michael T. Astolfi and Aaron Rasmussen

    Copenhagen Games Collective

    David Kanaga and Fernando Ramallo

    Rob Lach

    Cipher Prime

    Scott Smallwood

    Paloma Dawkins


    Bill Parod

    Somethin' Else

    Masaya Matsuura and NanaOn-Sha

    and more!


VGA Gallery public viewing hours: Wednesdays 5-8pm/Sundays 12-5pm

ESS Audible Gallery public viewing hours: Sundays 1-5pm


VGA Gallery is generously supported by The MacArthur Funds for Arts and Culture at The Richard H. Driehaus Foundation, a CityArts Grant from the City of Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs & Special Events, the Illinois Arts Council Agency, individuals, and private and corporate foundations.