art of presumption – Natálie Pleváková

Gallery 3 / 7. 12. 2023 — 9. 3. 2024

Artist: Natálie Pleváková
Curator: Adéla Machová

The sound installation art of presumption plays with the scale of sensitivity to the perception of the sound environment. It is based on an objectively given fact – sound is, for most of us, a fundamental element of the construction of reality. The Czech title of the work itself is a play on the place reflected and its official designation.

The moderated composition works with the ephemerality of sound; its abstract nature, which we perceive in a fragmented way depending on our own experience. Our selective perception often deprives us of the music of places. At the expense of visual perception, and in order to maintain mental well-being, we neglect sonic details or entire realities. This is despite the fact that our brain forms its idea of reality not only by sight, but precisely on the basis of psychoacoustic phenomena. So what is reality, and don’t we all perceive it differently? Psychoacoustic science studies how people perceive and interpret sound. It deals with how our ears and brain work together to process and understand auditory information, including aspects such as tone, loudness, sound colour, and spatial localisation. It plays a key role in understanding how we hear.

In her composition, using sounds at the Ústí nad Labem House of Arts, Natálie Pleváková detects places, accentuates objects and materials, and transfers frequencies outside the audible spectrum into perceptible sensations. At the same time, she does so before the visitors perceive the space itself. They first listen to the composition’s version of a parallel reality in a shared experience, where subjective sensitivity is opened. They can then compare it with their own experience.

The sound installation is complemented by QR codes – reflective points located at the recording spots of the used soundtracks. In a way, this creates a virtual gallery in the exhibition spaces, which the visitor can experience individually in a given place. The imagination and the sound experience gradually reveal the contours of the captured reality of the environment.

Natálie Pleváková is a composer and sound artist. She studied Multimedia Composition at the Janáček Academy of Performing Arts in Brno, and Interactive Media Theory at the Institute of Musicology at Masaryk University in Brno. In her work she seeks a way out of the temporal determination of music and fragmented musical perception. Balancing on the edge of apparent chaos and precise composition, she invites audiences to discover new aesthetic categories in music and to increase listening sensitivity. She regularly collaborates on theatre productions performed at Studio Hrdinů in Prague and other theatres. She also teaches sound arts at the Centre for Audiovisual Studies at the Film and Television Faculty of the Academy of Performing Arts and the Scholastika Higher Vocational School in Prague.


texts: Natálie Pleváková and Adéla Machová

graphic design: Lena Sára Grochowiecová

The gallery space (Gallery 3) creates a specific environment for the presentation of artists working with sound and spatial perception. The presentation here defines a sound point prepared by the author — a place where you can listen, deeply concentrate, share or resonate. The default format of listening through headphones brings both, a moment of focused perception and a certain variability in the form of site-specific creation. Works presented can come for example as sound installations, audiovisual creations or sound mapping.