The 1950s and ’60s were a fertile period when boundaries between musical composition and art dissolved into the ether like never before or since. This show looks at the powerful sounds that erupted from the Eastern Bloc in the postwar years, a time of surveillance, propaganda and oppression. Be warned, though. This isn’t a show of sound art, it’s a show about it. The graphic scores on display are just paper, the video footage just documentation.
The best moment comes when you actually get to feel the sound overwhelm you a little. Dora Maurer's installation, ‘Kalah’ (1980), gets its own pitch-black room. It’s powefully disorientating, and hypnotic.
Which only goes to make the show frustrating. All this incredible experimentation, where composers were artists and sound was art, and all you get is some headphones and a bunch of graphic scores. As a history lesson, it’s fascinating. As an exhibition, it’s disappointing.