Volumes for Sound

This website is an archive of artists Melissa Dubbin and Aaron S. Davidson's project Volumes for Sound.
More information about their work can be viewed here.

Dubbin and Davidson's Volumes for Sound combines immaterial, ephemeral and physical elements: sound, performance, sculpture and photography. These volumes can be encountered as objects that silently evoke the potential for sound, be played and reconfigured by performers using them for amplification, and appear in photographs of their various configurations.

Melissa Dubbin and Aaron S. Davidson have exhibited Volumes for Sound at the Zabludowicz Collection, New York (2013), Recess, New York (2013), Henie Onstad Kunstsenter, Oslo from Nov 18 - Dec 16, 2012 and at The Living Art Museum in Reykjavik from May 19 - July 15, 2012.

Notes from the 2012 exhibition at the Living Art Museum in Reykjavik, as part of the Reykjavik Arts Festival:

For (I)ndependent People, the New York-based artists Melissa Dubbin & Aaron S. Davidson, have produced Volumes for Sound. The exhibition presented at the Living Art Museum includes an ensemble of sculptures that also function as speakers, a silent video and black and white photographs. The works presented in this exhibition give shape and form to immaterial elements like sound.

The funneling, folding and porting of sound derives from and requires physical structures. Electric guitar amplifiers and cabinets exploit a deliberately imperfect architecture for energy, while acting as totems delineating an ancestry of sound amplification. Volumes for Sound describes objects whose surface is coded with intent while acting as a method of enveloping and directing the content of sound delivered as acoustic energy.

These nested forms descend from familiar objects which are manufactured independently and then drawn together as a result of relationships in domestic and architectural situations - such as the triangulation that occurs when a listener sits in a chair in front of a pair of stereo speakers. This triangulation has been collapsed into objects containing several variations for configuration. They can be encountered in spaces as forms that silently evoke the potential for sound, be played and reconfigured by performers using them for sound amplification, and appear in photographs of their various configurations, providing a record of these instances.

The basic shapes realized in these forms and the surrounding photographs simultaneously attempt to access the staggered geometries of time-alignment within loudspeakers, and the pre-electrical harnessing of sound within architecture (archaeoacoustics). While electric guitar amplifiers and cabinets exploit the slurred voicings of phase cancellation and non-linear behaviors, time-alignment staggers the position of the individual loudspeakers to create a temporally coherent sound-field, reducing the slurring of sound.

Black and white film renders an optical compression and distortion of tones akin to a guitar amplifiers desirable distortions in the audible realm. Optical compression in the processing of sound has historical roots in musical production, defining a relationship between sound and photography.

During the exhibition, a selection of artists working with sound will be invited to use the Volumes for Sound as speakers for the presentation of their work. Each artist will change the arrangement of the sculptures, creating a new exhibition each week. Participating artists include Auxpan, AMFJ, Stefán Finnboga Pétursson, S.L.Á.T.U.R., Trouble and Stilluppsteypa. This program within the exhibition began with a performance by the trio Three Planes of Silver (Melissa Dubbin, Aaron S. Davidson and Shawn Onsgard) at the opening reception held May 19th at 5 and 6pm.

Volumes for Sound is commissioned by the Reykjavík Arts Festival 2012 and the exhibition (I)ndependent People, curated by Jonatan Habib Engqvist. Parts of the project are produced in collaboration between the Living Art Museum and Henie Onstad Kunstsenter, Oslo, Norway where the works will be shown in November 2012.

For further information please visit:


The photographs on this site are courtesy of:

Melissa Dubbin
Aaron S. Davidson
Ingunn Fjóla Ingþórsdóttir
Marta María Jónsdóttir
Anna Lena Artis
Þröstur Valgarðsson
Freya Steadman

© 2013 Melissa Dubbin and Aaron S. Davidson
Photographs may not be used without permission.