Wail That Was Warning (detail), 2018

Aura Satz
Wail That Was Warning (detail), 2018
5 daisy-chained sirens mounted on aluminium; 117 x 98 x 64 cm
Installation view: Art in the Age of Anxiety, Sharjah Art Foundation, 2020
Courtesy of the artist and Fridman Gallery, New York
Photo: Danko Stjepanovic


Aura Satz’s practice encompasses film, sound, performance and sculpture. She creates bodies of work that reflect on the relationship between human beings and machines. Mainly enriched by the history of media and the constant shift in technology, her work often brings to light the usually understated role of female figures in technological and scientific fields.  
The Wail That Was Warning (2018) is a sound sculpture in which five hand-cranked sirens are daisy-chained, each tuned to a different RPM to generate a spectrum of sounds that oscillate between a growl, a moan, a howl, a wail and a scream. The sirens’ ambiguous temporality, warning of future dangers and mourning tragedies past, is enmeshed with its non-human associations, recalling different affective qualities of animals or non-verbal communication. The sculpture gives rise to different possible readings of the siren beyond a simple call to attention or a marker of civil (dis)obedience. Satz invites visitors to hand-crank the sirens, questioning the state of an age in which people are becoming desensitised to the sounds of the sirens that are continually howling around them.