Curated by Lara Pan
November 2 –22, 2009


Performa’s third installment of its sound art exhibition and performance series at Chelsea’s White Box gallery, White Noise III: Pandora’s Sound Box consisted of an exhibition in the main space, rotating installations in the WBX PROJECTS space, and two performances. The show’s subtitle, inspired by Georg Wilhelm Pabst’s 1929 film Pandora’s Box, which explored the fear of female sexuality, referred to sound works addressing contemporary alarm about war, terrorism, and immigration. In Tanja Ostojic’s Misplaced Women, performer Valentina Medda carried a large suitcase through the streets, frequently stopping to unpack and repack it, enacting the kind of everyday displacement experienced by transients, migrant workers. and disaster refugees against the aural backdrop of New York street noise—traffic, sirens, and voices—representing the city’s obliviousness to the plight of this woman. Artists Michael Aerts and Vaclim Vosters’s Refence featured a five-minute fencing tournament in which the performers, wearing glossy black leather and latex costumes, battled each other to a specially composed sound piece by DJ duo Ief Permans and Johan Vanoeckel. Works in the exhibition included Oswaldo Macia’s sound installation Darfur, in which the sounds of two hundred barking dogs are heard on twelve channels, suggesting a world that refuses to listen to or act on the suffering of others. and Davide Bertocchi’s video Exhaust, which compiles YouTube excerpts of the “sound tests” performed on automobile exhaust pipes, highlighting the pointless expense and pollution involved. Together the sound works explored the noise that permanently surrounds us in everyday life—a cacophony that we have trained ourselves to ignore.

—Lara Pan

Participating artists: Michael Aerts and Vadim Vosters, Pierre Bismuth, Olaf Breuning, Diango Hernandez, Agnieszka Kurant, Matthieu Laurette, Robert Lazzarini, Oswaldo Macia, Tanja Ostojic, and Carlo Zanni.


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