The cities, they tremble is a three-part audio-visual installation that traces the connections between place, identity and sound, through an examination of resonance and vibration in everyday life.

When speaking of our ‘sounding’ environments, the distinction between the body and its environment becomes blurred—our bodies literally resonate with our surroundings through the vibration of sound. By foregrounding everyday ambient sounds, the listener becomes more aware of the sounds that are constantly being processed by their body.

The cities, they tremble examines how sound in its ephemerality allows us not simply to react to our surroundings as they appear, but offers us the opportunity to reimagine our surroundings through listening – using sound as a means to reveal the vibrancy within domestic objects and surfaces that are generally perceived to be inanimate.


Main Gallery


18 September – 5 October 2019

Image credit: Listening with the river by Alexandra Spence, 2016, Audain Gallery Vancouver. Photo by Lukas Engelhardt.


Alexandra Spence

Alexandra Spence is an artist and musician from Sydney, Australia. She makes installations, compositions and performances based on (everyday) sound and listening.

Alex’s art and music explores the idea of listening as active practice, examining the ways in which our individual notions of place and identity are shaped and mediated through sound. Through her practice she attempts to reimagine the intricate relationships between the listener, the object, and the surrounding environment as a kind of communion or conversation. With an interest in resonance, vibration and everyday sound, her aesthetic favours unusual sound sources: small sounds, inaudible frequencies, and object interventions (she holds the pseudo-scientific belief that electricity might actually be magic). 

Alex has performed and presented work in concerts, festivals, symposiums and galleries in Australia, Canada, and Europe, including the Vancouver Art Gallery; Engineroom International Sound-Art Competition, London; Ausland, Berlin; Le Cube, Paris; Musée Guimet, Paris; NOW Now Festival, Sydney; UNSW Galleries, Sydney; and Siteworks Festival, Bundanon (w. the Splinter Orchestra). 

Artist website: alexandraspence.net


This project was supported by the NSW Government through Create NSW.