b'Jack RyanThe Politics of SoundCharlie TatumArtist Jack Ryan considers himself a sculptor of sound. 1Although his artworks are physical, they often are best understood in relation to the seemingly empty space around them, a field filled with sonic vibrations both within and beyond the human range of hearing. In a work on view in What Needs to Be Said, Ryan modifies the so-called Schumann resonance, the frequency of the earths electromagnetic field, into an audible drone, which he plays through a transducer connected to a plinth with an array of everyday objects, including a seashell and coffee maker. In this process, the artist transforms objects not normally used to transmit sound into amplifiers, producing a low humming tone. In previous works, Ryan has affixed transducers to glass, steel, and even a 30,000-year-old woolly mammoth tooth. Following the tradition of John Cage, George Brecht, and others, the artwork prompts close listening and draws attention to the ways that sound gives form to life.Ryan began considering sound in his art nearly twenty years ago, but he traces his interest in the therapeutic possibilities of noise to his time as a mental health records technician in Berkeley, California, right out of college. In works like Mammoth Tooth (2017), Ryan manipulates beta and theta wavestwo of the brains regular frequencies. His use of these brainwaves as the mathematical basis for new sound works alludes to the way neuroscience and pop psychology have theorized transcendence, mindfulness, and the subconscious. Theta waves, for example, are associated with the brains capacity to generate creative thought in meditative states. 2In con-versation, Ryan is quick to acknowledge that the utopic potential of sound is also tied to more sinister applications. Think of the insidious use of Beethovens symphonies in Anthony Burgesss A Clockwork Orange (1962), or the mysterious sonic attacks in Havana, Cuba, in late 2016. 3Ryan is currently researching the early sound artist Manford Eaton, who may have collaborated with the CIA when the agency was developing no-touch torture techniques. 4This dualitybetween tranquility and harm, liberation and controlgives much of Ryans artwork a dark humor, which often relies on the relationship between what is seen and heard Opposite: Jack RyanSchumann Resonance Conduction Unit, 201519 (detail)68'