“I’d just returned from a wild camping trip on Dartmoor, walked into the flat in Bethnal Green, bent down to put the bags on the floor, then stood up into a barrage of internal sound”
Artist Victoria Coster is one of an estimated 5 million people in the UK to be living with the condition known as Tinnitus. Like many others to be diagnosed, there is no identifiable cause associated with her experience.
Coster’s three month residency with Free Space Project sees the culmination of a body of work developed as a result of her time at Kentish Town Medical Centre. Arising from the need to find a common language to relate her sudden shift in sound sense perception, Victoria devised a questionnaire for other tinnitus sufferers to respond to. Asking questions such as ‘If your Tinnitus were to be associated with an object, colour or form what would it be?, What does your tinnitus look like? and What sounds would you associate it with?’. Together with her own answers and along with the perceived ambience of sound within the building itself, the questionnaire became the basis of and has informed the outcome of the work produced.
Arrived at through an explorative and experimental process, rooted in the framework of a sculpture practice, Coster presents us with moving image, sound, objects, etching, screen prints and drawing. The physical work presented in Free Space Project gallery is accompanied by work made available on Vimeo and Soundcloud. Digital platforms specifically used to highlight aspects of collection in the work, specifically PHANTOM and Sounds Like, where both of these pieces use footage and sound collected from, and then so returned to the internet.
The works viewed in part could be considered as an extended enquiry into the nature of Self in relation to the constant shifting of sense perception. Where in the case of tinnitus it is the heightened sense of perceived sound within the auditory system. The constant and uninterrupted addition of daily noise as an internal veil, has forced Coster to not only look beyond sound to find an internal place of quiet but has also prompted the question ‘What is silence, where does it reside?’