Gail Priest




SonoLexic is a sound driven installation that explores how we process, communicate and generate the listening experience through language. Proposing a new variant of synaesthesia, or ‘ideathesia’, SonoLexic considers the intimate cross-modal association of sound and words.

In a darkened room, a soundscape plays through standard speakers. At the same time a voiceover, meditating on the act of listening, is delivered via an ultrasonic hyper-directional speaker, which allows it to hover in a defined space. In the distance a glowing plasma tube – a proto hologram – displays liquid images of sonic visualisations and text. Sounds are seen at the same time as they are heard, the physical yet invisible nature of the aural realm captured in this ghostly image. SonoLexic seeks a language of listening, exploring how we speak to ourselves and to others about what we hear. It also questions the extent to which a description of sounds can stimulate sonic imagining.

Concept, text, sound and video by Gail Priest. Object design and fabrication by Thomas Burless (tomikeh).


Click here to view the Language of Listening – interactive e-publication.


An Experimenta and Australian Network for Art and Technology (ANAT) Commission.

mixed media installation

video and three channel sound (stereo + ultrasonic speaker), mild steel, wood, perspex tube, liquid

150 x 200 x 450 cm

25 mins

Artwork Archive

Gail Priest is a Sydney-based artist whose practice features sound as the key material of communication and investigation. She has exhibited sound installations and performed electro-acoustic compositions nationally and internationally including at ISEA2016, Hong Kong; Werkleitz Festival, Germany; the Sonoretum, Kapelica Gallery, Slovenia; Tokyo Wonder Site, Japan; Artspace, Sydney; and Performance Space, Sydney. She has undertaken several commissions for ABC Radio and released five albums. She is also a curator of concerts and exhibitions, and writes factually and fictively about sound and media arts, in particular for RealTime magazine.

In 2015-2016 Priest was the Australia Council Emerging and Experimental Arts Fellow, developing a body of ficto-critical work exploring what art will sound like in the future. Her upcoming projects explore an ‘ideasthesia’ of sound and text by developing a hybrid form of ‘sound-writing’.

Images courtesy of the artist © the artist