Talking pictures: the interactive poetics of imagined sound

Seán Street


A combination of complementary senses gives us our place in the world. As we examine a work of art, be it a painting, a sculpture or a photograph, we possess the capacity to “hear” as well as see it based on numerous clues it provides. Just as the old radio truism, “the pictures are better in sound” offers us the imaginative relationship between the ear and the mind, so the power of the visual to suggest sound unlocks a new layer of meaning in the world of apparently static and “silent” images… By consciously tuning the ears to partner the eyes, we interpret the visual world with new strata of experience and meaning. Unbound by restrictions of nationalism and linguistics, we listen to messages from international voices expressed through art in our own language while remaining true to the sounds of their recreated worlds.


Art; listening; painting; poetry; radio; sound

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