Yann Novak is a queer interdisciplinary artist and composer based in Los Angeles. His work is guided by his interests in perception, context, movement, and the felt presence of direct experience. Through the use of sound and light, Novak explores how these intangible materials can act as catalysts to focus our awareness on our present location in space and time. Novak’s diverse body of works—audiovisual installations, performances, architectural interventions, sound diffusions, recording, and prints—ask participants to reclaim the present moment as a political act.
His work has been experienced through exhibitions and performance at AB Salon, Brussels; Armory Center for the Arts, Pasadena, California; The Broad, Los Angeles; Commonwealth & Council, Los Angeles; Danspace, New York; de Young Museum, San Francisco; Dimensions Variable, Miami; Fylkingen, Stockholm; The Getty Villa, Pacific Palisades, California; Hammer Museum, Los Angeles; The Henry Art Gallery, Seattle; Human Resources, Los Angeles; Iklectik, London; Institute of Modern Art, Brisbane; LACMA, Los Angeles; Mutek Festival, Montreal; PICA, Portland; SFMoMA, San Francisco; Soundfjord, London; and The Stone, New York, among others. His recorded sound works have been released by 901 Editions, Dragon’s Eye Recordings, LINE, Room40, and Touch, among others.
Novak is a recipient of a 2019 California Community Foundation Fellowship for Visual Artists. He has participated in numerous artists residencies including EMS Elektronmusikstudion, Stockholm; Jental Artist Residency, Sharidan, Wyoming; Melbourne Electronic Sound Studio, Melbourne; Mountain School of Arts, Los Angeles; Taliesin Artist Residency, Spring Green, Wisconsin; and the Touch Mentorship Programme, London, among others. Novak’s work has been the subject of articles and reviews in publications including C Magazine, Drain Magazine, Inside Art, LA Weekly, Los Angeles Times, Neural Magazine, Signal to Noise, The Stranger, and The Wire, among others.
In my work I explore notions of perception, context, and movement through the construction of immersive spaces that seek to heighten the audience’s awareness of the present moment. Rooted in the “objectless” nature of intangible materials—sound and light—my work often takes on an intermediate character, offering enough information to transform space while preserving and enhancing the audience’s sense of their own embodied experience. This quality is intended to resist the tendency of dominant culture to monopolize our attention and pull us away from our own experience. Through this monopolization we become disenfranchised from our own experience, and thus the reclaiming of awareness becomes a political act.
My work draws on a wide range of sources, including raw and altered field recordings, analog and digital sound synthesis, manipulated artificial and natural light, and projection, to produce slowly evolving and interrelated sonic and visual fields. The distinct historical lineages of ambient electronic music and Light and Space are thus conjoined in service of a critical engagement with modernism, wherein its culturally unipolar and utopian tendencies are rejected in favor of its emphasis on the necessarily contingent and specular nature of works of art. Through careful consideration, my works not only address sight and hearing, but simultaneously expose the methodologies of looking and listening themselves. Taking the form of audiovisual installations, performances, architectural interventions, sound diffusions, recording, and prints, my work allows audiences to reclaim the present moment and explore the politics of awareness.