The Hidden Noise: Tinnitus and Art
8 October - 31 October
OVADA is delighted to host an exhibition of work by commissioned artists Fern Thomas and Nina Thomas, who are set to transform our warehouse into a multi-layered exploration of their shared experiences of tinnitus.
From 8th – 31st October 2021 the artists will present their new work, created as part of a 2-year Arts and Humanities Research Council project – Tinnitus, Auditory Knowledge and the Arts. The project brings together Dr Marie Thompson from the Open University, Dr Patrick Farmer from Oxford Brookes University’s Sonic Arts Research Unit, The British Tinnitus Association and OVADA to investigate how the arts might help to enrich understandings of tinnitus and the diverse ways it affects listeners. This newly commissioned work, created during the Covid-19 pandemic, will be exhibited alongside creative responses from project workshop participants which explored how arts activities could be used to share different experiences of tinnitus.
Tinnitus is the conscious perception of sound for which there is no external source. Around 30% of people experience tinnitus at some point in their lives. It tends to be thought of as an unpleasant ringing in the ears, but everyone’s tinnitus is different. Some people may hear whistling, buzzing, crackling or even music. Tinnitus may be constant or intermittent. Or it might change in relation to a person’s mood or environment. In exploring the relationship between tinnitus and the creative arts, this project aims to expand common cultural tropes about the condition, and develop new approaches for sharing experiences that can allow for its variability.
Through the mediums of installation, moving image, and artist publication, Nina Thomas’ work explores the relationship between loss, memory, and tinnitus. Her project draws on her personal experience of developing tinnitus following a sudden hearing loss. Also drawing from her lived experience of tinnitus, artist Fern Thomas explores a speculative world where humans become receivers of the invisible frequencies transmitted by natural phenomena. From the singing of stars to the sucking of sea water through stones, the work seeks out experiencing these inner sounds as something meaningful.
Preview Event: Thursday 7 October 2021 (4-8pm*)
Exhibition Open: 8 – 31 October 2021
(Thursdays – Sundays, 12-6pm*)
*Please check the latest visitor information on the day of travelling to attend the exhibition or events as opening hours may change at short notice.
Accessibility Guide for OVADA Visitors:
www.accessable.co.uk/oxford/oxford-city-council/access-guides/oxfordshire-visual-arts-development-agency-ovada If you have any access requirements you would like us to be aware of or to discuss exhibition content in advance of visiting, please contact: email@example.com.
ABOUT THE ARTISTS:
Fern Thomas is an artist and writer working in text, sound, performance and participatory practice. Her work explores folk-belief, place-based knowledge and histories, archives and pedagogical spaces; and is increasingly drawn to examining the invisible capacities of vibration. She has exhibited in Norway, Mexico, New Zealand, Germany, USA and in venues across the UK including Anthony Reynolds Gallery, London. She currently has a Fellowship with g39 gallery, Cardiff as part of the Freelands Foundation Arts Programme and is part of the Tŷ Cerdd Experimental Sound Programme in Cardiff. www.fernthomas.com
Nina Thomas is a visual artist, using the mediums of video, photography, artist publication and installation. She is interested in stories and histories which might be overlooked or underexplored. Much of her recent work has focused on her experience of becoming deaf and subsequently seeking to understand deaf histories and experiences. A few years ago, she began making work which explores tinnitus as a bodily experience and its relationship to other experiences of loss. Nina has exhibited at venues such as Tate Exchange, St. Margaret’s House, LUX (online) and HeART in Chatham. She is also a founding member of The Film Bunch (a deaf and hard of hearing film organisation). www.ninathomas.org