Back to All Events

GALLERY HOURS: The Ears Have Walls

  • Experimental Sound Studio 5925 North Ravenswood Avenue Chicago, IL, 60660 United States (map)
David Kanaga's  Oikospiel Book #1

David Kanaga's Oikospiel Book #1

ESS Gallery Hours: 1-5pm Sundays or by appointment.

VGA Gallery Hours: 5-8pm Wednesdays & 12-5pm Sundays.

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 are video games that experiment with those economies by inverting the ratio of attention between the screen and the speakers. 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:

@ VGA Gallery, 2418 W Bloomingdale Ave #102, Chicago, IL, 60647 & Experimental Sound Studio Audible Gallery, 5925 N Ravenswood Ave, Chicago, IL 60660


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.