Janet Cardiff was born March 15th 1957 and is still alive today. She is a Canadian artist who works with audio and sound installations. She is best known for her audio walks which are usually a guided walk in a site specific place. Her multimedia works create multi sensory experiences that draw the viewer into different narratives, some of them unsettling.
“I am interested in how audio affects our perception of the physical world. We understand three-dimensional space by using our vision , but also by the character of sounds we hear. If these sounds are manipulated and changed, then our perception of reality can be drastically affected” – Janet Cardiff
In these famous audio walks or installations Cardiff gives instructions for participants to follow, encouraging them to navigate a specific place through her perspective. Her audio walks mix imagination with reality. Her soothing and almost eerie voice creates a sense of adventure. The participant experiences the site through her eyes by listening in headphones or additionally watching on a camera or phone, listening to background noises along with her musings.
Her goal is to explore how audio affects our perfection of the world and I think she does a good job of this. Her walks remind me of the importance of stopping, looking and listening to what is around you. She challenges and manipulates how we see the world. She creates stories, evoking emotional responses through her walks and installations. I like that some of her work has a darker tone to it because it makes contemplating her musings much more thought provoking.
I have a watched most of the audio videos I could find on youtube and all of them are truly engaging and interesting. However, “The Dark Pool” is my favorite one so far. This was her first multimedia installation with George Bures Miller (also her husband). This installation was a dark room adorned with vintage, and old objects and when visitors moved around the room it would trigger sounds and portions of conversations and stories. It reminds me of being directly into one of those first person horror games. I like the mysterious vibe, almost like it is a puzzle that needs to be solved.
Janet Cardiff is by far my favorite arist of the week. I really enjoy this form of art. It is so different and digs into your emotions and inner self.