Norrie Neumark
Shock in the Ear


Norie Neumark is a sound/radio and new media artist. Her sound pieces have been commissioned and broadcast by the Listening Room, ABC Classic FM and rebroadcast in the U.S. by New American Radio and the Performing Arts. Her new media installation work has been supported by the New Media Arts Fund of the Australia Council for the Arts and exhibited at Artspace (Sydney), Artemesia Gallery (Chicago) and the Performance Space (Sydney -forthcoming). She also works as a lecturer in Sound and Cultural Studies at the University of Technology, Sydney. She has given papers about sound and multimedia at Sound Culture 96, and at several ISEAs. Her published works include articles in Essays in Sound 2  and 4, Leonardo. and Media Information Australia.

Conceptual Description
Shock in the Ear is an experimental art CDROM which explores shock -- from culture shock to electric shock and reverberating beyond into shock aesthetics. The project of the work is to engage the user sensually with shock as an experience of deep and abrupt physical and psychic change. It aims to shift perceptions as the user explores the moment after the shock event -- a moment of dislocated time/space and altered perceptions and senses.

A sound-centred CDROM, Shock in the Ear  is composed through interactive stories, performances, music and sounds, as well as screens. The invitation for the user is to an intense and poetic experience, through their senses, especially hearing. The work challenges the usual articulation of art and interactivity, with its hierarchy of vision over sound, and solely vision-centred interactivity. The work thus formally expresses the 'shocking' concept that sound is the medium most appropriate to interactivity, as a new and engaging artistic form, because sound goes beyond the interface, into time, into the body, and into the imagination and emotions.

Shock in the Ear  avoids the slick and controlled look and sound of cyberspace, and explores instead the potential of CDROM for poetic movement, understandings, emotions, and sensations. The sorts of movements and perceptions provoked in the piece are different, disorienting, disrupting to 'traditional' CDROM aesthetics and kinaesthetics. The interactivity is slow, contemplative and sensually engaging -- a refusal of the usual rapid clicking.

Shock in the Ear  engages with the question of how to retrain the ear and the hand in the computer era in the way that cinema retrained the eye in early modernist era -- to answer the need thrown up by computer culture to undo the already moribund habits of hand/eye/ear control. The work also addresses the common critique that new media art is non-corporeal. Its strategy is not to represent the body but rather to remember and evoke it -- not to display wounds but rather to etch along their kinaesthetic, physical, memory pathways.

Shock in the Ear  has won a number of new media awards and been exhibited in galleries and new media festivals throughout Australia and internationally. Awards include the CDROM award at COMTECart (Dresden, 98), a Silver Medal at Invision 98 (U.S.), 3rd prize in the National Digital Art Awards (1998) and special mention at Videobrasil (98).

Shock in the Ear  grew out of the sound/radio work, Shock, commissioned by ABC Audio Arts, and was funded as an installation by the New Media Arts Fund of the Australia Council for the Arts and as a stand alone CDROM by the Australian Film Commission. The assistance of the University of Technology Sydney is also gratefully acknowledged.

The artists:

Norie Neumark, concept, direction and sound

Maria Miranda, painting and visual design

Richard Vella, music

Greg White, technical producer and programmer

David Bartolo, interface consultant