Margaret Noble’s “Resonating Objects”

by Molly Gilmore for OLY ARTS

“Look, don’t touch” is a general rule with art. But “Resonating Objects,” at The Gallery at South Puget Sound Community College (SPSCC), invites viewers to touch and then listen.

The exhibition of Margaret Noble’s sculptures incorporating sound, along with a video installation, has its opening reception Sept. 23.

Noble’s objects are silent until the viewer opens a book, lifts a lid or turns a crank.

“Anything where the sound is living in the piece is where I’m at now,” said Noble, a native San Diego, Californian who worked as a DJ before getting a degree in sound design from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

To hear “Head in the Sand,” one must be willing to bend over and insert his or her head into a wooden box. The resulting soundtrack gradually builds in intensity–a bit like a train coming closer, perhaps, but the soundtrack is ambiguous.

Many of the exhibit’s sounds, though, are more or less familiar: a cricket’s chirp, the crash of waves, an ice-cream truck’s tune–or is it a music box?

“It’s not just about what the sound is,” Noble said. “It’s about what memories the sound evokes.”

The exhibit, open through Oct. 21, is unlike anything the college has hosted before, said gallery coordinator Nathan Barnes. “You have to interact with it,” he said, “and you have to give it a few seconds to figure out what’s going on, and then it becomes mesmerizing.”

What: Resonating Objects

Where: The Gallery at the Kenneth J. Minnaert Center for the Arts,
South Puget Sound Community College,
2011 Mottman Rd. SW, Olympia

When: reception 6-8 p.m. Friday, Sept. 23;
exhibit through Oct. 21;
gallery open noon – 4 p.m. weekdays or by appointment

How much: free

More information: 360-596-5527 |