Infinite Ear : WITHIN/Infinite Ear (2016)

After 3 years of workshops and talks, WITHIN/Infinite Ear was the first presentation of the inquiry as a space. This article is composed of the exhibition text and of a presentation of the five collections on display. You can download the booklet of the exhibition here.

You are in Sentralbadet, a swimming pool long frequented by the city of Bergen’s residents and visitors. You jump in the pool. When you float in the water your body is caught in its undulations. You feel the variation of these movements and your ears perceive sound trajectories in a different manner. Listening has long been an enigma and certain sages believed the ear housed an ocean. The ocean in your ear moves at the pace of your stride, your red blood cells vibrate at very high-pitched frequencies, your skeleton can conduct vibrations in each part of the body and if a hundred of you were to walk on a bridge at a particular speed you could make it collapse. Water enters your ears and it stays there when you leave the pool. The spiral of the cochlear that transforms air compressions into electric impulsion and enables us to perceive sound is obstructed by the water. You gradually loose your hearing. You feel off kilter and have difficulty making out speech. You search your memory for sonic events. You strain to concentrate. Your attention is focused on the vibrations your whole body perceives, then you understand that the movement around you gives some indication about the sound you can no longer perceive. You see the trajectories of the people around you, you see spaces and groups as sonic forms, sometimes harmonious, sometimes oppressive. You invent a corporeal language that expresses the timbre of your voice which you can no longer hear. You are suddenly more attentive to these sensations despite their having always been there. They alter the way you see and communicate. This leads you to realize that hearing is connected to the other senses and that the relationship between these senses changes from person to person. You use equipment that amplifies and indicates the presence of sound around you. They say a sonic world exists beyond perception, in black holes, photosynthesis, the decomposition of fungi, and that there is no such thing as silence. Now you negotiate all of these sensations to create a music beyond hearing, that undulates like water on the body and on the surface of buildings. Welcome to the Infinite Ear.

WITHIN/Infinite Ear, Bergen Assembly 2016

The exhibition WITHIN / Infinite Ear proposes spaces to explore, understand and represent the diversity of the hearing experience. Combining the scientific history of hearing with the history of sonic arts and Deaf culture, these sites seek to renew the ways we relate to sound perception. The exhibition consists of a number of collections:

Musical instruments that have the potential to address both Deaf and hearing persons developed by acoustic instrument makers, speaker designers, software engineers, and musicians who have been working with Tarek Atoui for the past years.

Selection of WITHIN instruments by Tarek Atoui

— A series of sonic exercises inspired by somatic practices such as deep listening (Pauline Oliveros), sound massage (Thierry Madiot), silent walk (Myriam Lefkowitz) and fake therapy (Valentina Desideri).

Deep Listening session with Pauline Oliveros

— Recordings of rare and inaudible phenomena displayed in a sonic café called the White Cat. While ordering a drink, one can experience more than thirty different recordings, of such things as: plant decomposition, the snapping sound of pistol shrimps or the collision of two black holes.

White Cat

— A display of artworks, facsimile and objects from cultural, natural, and history museums that have addressed diverse hearing experiences.

Some of the artifacts on display at Sentralbadet pool

— A varied program of films and videos (documentaries, filmic essays, artists’ videos, and dance performance recordings).

Lawrence Abu Hamdan, Rubber Coated Steel, 2016, was part of the film programme of the exhibition

Assembled into one exhibition, these collections create both a social space and a space of production offering diverse listening situations in the forms of a concert venue, a studio, a visual display, a café and a screening room. All together, WITHIN/ Infinite Ear is a para-institution devoted to the diversity of hearing.

WITHIN / Infinite Ear is a collaboration between Council and Tarek Atoui


  • Instruments and performances
  • conceived by Tarek Atoui
  • with
  • Julia Alsarraf
  • Daniel Araya
  • Hein B. Bjerck
  • André Bratten
  • Johannes Goebel
  • Mats Lindström
  • Trond Lossius
  • Jeffrey M. Lubow
  • Thierry Madiot
  • Perrin Meyer
  • Greg Niemeyer
  • Alwynne Pritchard
  • Espen Sommer Eide
  • Gerhard Stäbler
  • Pauline Oliveros
  • Kari Telstad Sundet


  • Café with selection of sound recordings by
  • Tarek Atoui
  • Hein B. Bjerk
  • Chris Chafe
  • Carl Michael von Hausswolff
  • Jacob Kirkegaard
  • Morten Norbye Halvorsen
  • Eric La Casa
  • Gareth Lee Paterson
  • Matthieu Saladin
  • Minoru Sato
  • Thomas Tilly
  • Chris Watson


  • Collective and individual sonic exercises by
  • Myriam Lefkowitz and Valentina Desideri
  • Thierry Madiot
  • Pauline Oliveros and Ione


  • Artworks by
  • Douwe Jan Bakker
  • Antonia Carrara
  • Fairy Char
  • Giovanni Crupi
  • Aurelien Gamboni and Sandrine Teixido
  • Dora Garcia
  • Joseph Grigely
  • Alexandre Guirkinger
  • Alison O’Daniel
  • Baudouin Oosterlynck
  • Facsimile, documents and video documentation
  • Items from local collection


  • Movies and videos by
  • Lawrence Abu Hamdan
  • Robert Ashley
  • KK Bosse
  • Jonathan Burrows and Matteo Fargion
  • Abel Gance
  • Friedrich A. Kittler
  • Xavier Le Roy
  • Christian Marclay
  • Alison O’Daniel
  • Simon Ripoll-Hurier
  • Walter Ruttmann
  • Myroslav Slaboshpytskyi
  • Noé Soulier and Jeffrey Mansfield
  • Andrei Tarkovsky
  • George W. Veditz
  • Frederick Wiseman


  • Edited by Emma McCormick-Goodhart
  • with
  • Nabil Ahmed
  • Lendl Barcelos
  • H-Dirksen Bauman
  • John Cage
  • Steven Connor
  • Roald Dahl
  • Charles Michel De L’Épée
  • Denis Diderot
  • Veit Erlmann
  • Paul Feigelfeld
  • Michele Friedner
  • Madeline Gins
  • Steve Goodman
  • Mike Gulliver
  • Stefan Helmreich
  • Adolf Loos
  • Jeffrey Mansfield
  • Tom McCarthy
  • Emma McCormick-Goodhart
  • Joseph Murray
  • Pauline Oliveros
  • Sheila Patek
  • Avital Ronell
  • Louise Stern
  • Jonathan Sterne
  • John Varley
  • Norbert Wiener
  • Ines Weizman
  • Sophie Wolley
  • Texts can be downloaded here.


  • A 58 page publication is produced for the exhibition.

WITHIN/Infinite Ear
an artistic project of the Bergen Assembly, 2016
Sentralbadet, Bergen, Norway
1 September – 1 October 2016


  • Ellie Armon Azoulay
  • Rayya Badran
  • Flora Katz
  • Emma Mc Cormick-Goodhart


  • Don Pippo


  • Conceived and implemented with students from Bergen School of Architecture (BAS)
  • Håkon Asheim
  • Linda Victoria Figueiredo
  • Kevin Maung Aye
  • Maria Helena K. Nerhus
  • Frida Nytun
  • Turid Skålden
  • Christina Vaagland
  • Ragnhild
  • Thorset Våge
  • Based on a first proposal by architect and long-term collaborator Jeffrey Mansfield
  • Exhibition set up by Jacob Alrø and Terje Sandkjaer Hanssen


  • Haakon Alexander Thuestad, director
  • Sunniva Vik, administrative coordinator
  • Victoria Trunova, head of communications
  • Linn Heidi Stokkedal, communications assistant
  • Stefan Törner, head of production
  • Ingrid Engesæther Røen, production coordinator
  • Espen Johansen, project manager
  • Tor Steffen Espedal, project coordinator
  • Linn Heidi Stokkedal, Communications assistant
  • Lona Hansen, coordinator
  • Kristoffer Jul-Larsen, project coordinator
  • Bergen Assembly is supported by Art Council Norway.


  • Artist in Residence Bergen at USF Verftet (AiR Bergen)
  • Bergen Deaf Society
  • Bergen School of Architecture (BAS)
  • BIT20 Ensemble
  • Ekko Festival
  • Grieg Academy of University of Bergen Nordahl Grieg High School nyMusikk


  • UC Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive (BAMPFA) & the MATRIX Program for Contemporary Art
  • Bergen Center for Electronic Arts (BEK)
  • Galerie Chantal Croules, Paris
  • The Curtis R. Priem Experimental Music and Performing Arts Center (EMPAC)
  • Kvadrat Soft Cells
  • Meyer Sound
  • Zentrum für Kunst und Medientechnologie (ZKM)


  • Air de Paris, Paris, France
  • The Deaf Society of Bergen
  • De Hallen Collection, Harlem, Netherlands
  • The Maritime Museum of Bergen
  • The Norwegian Deaf Museum, Trondheim
  • Paula Cooper Gallery, New York, US
  • University Museum of Bergen, Cultural History Museum
  • University Museum of Bergen, Natural History Museum
  • University of Bergen, Wellcome Collection