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SoundArt Exhibitions Timeline

MAINTAINED BY Jerome Joy & Thom Holmes



Last changed (NYC USA time): 2013/10/31 13:55

Papers, Articles(Edit)

Sound Art :(Edit)

  • ANDREWS, Ian. What's wrong with sound art?. soundwalk.org .

I am writing this in response to an article on SoundCulture '96 by Nicholas Gebhardt, "Can you hear me? What is sound art?" in Real Time 13. This is not in any way meant to be a critique of Gebhardt's article (though I might attempt such a critique in the future). It is just that this article has raised some of the issues, and encapsulated some of the dominant themes of sound theory that have been bugging me for a while. It might help to check out Gebhardt's article before or while reading this.I have always felt uncomfortable with the theoretical position ocuppied by "sound theory." Is sound theory a cross disciplinary area encompassing branches of musicology, acoustic science, linguistics, cultural studies, philosophy, film theory, anthropology and history, or does it occupy, or seek to occupy a position in the gaps between these disciplines? Like the non-objective and dynamic nature of sound itself, sound theory seems to permeate a multitude of disciplines without reference to a single parent discipline or to a genealogical structure within a taxonomy. In other words, it would be equally valid to argue that sound theory is a subset of musicology, as it would be to argue that it is a subset of film theory or philosophy. Thus the sound theorist, who is rarely just a sound theorist, works in the way of a bricolouer, extracting knowledge from a diverse range of disciplines.


  • ALDRICH N.B.. What is Sound Art?. (2003).

Sound Art as nomenclature for the work of a growing body of artists is in common usage. Major presenters and world-wide opinion leaders in the contemporary art world such as the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Cartier Foundation for Contemporary Art, MassMoca, the Hayward Gallery in London and the ICC in Tokyo routinely present Sound Art. Smaller venues regularly featuring (or in some cases entirely dedicated to) sound installations have appeared in most major cities. Festivals in many different countries focus on the work of Sound Artists who now receive major funding from public and private granting institutions around the world. Sound Art has arrived. It's hot. But what is it? Is Sound Art music? Is it distinct from traditional music in some meaningful way? If so, what is the distinction?


  • BANDT, Ros. Sound Installation: Blurring the Boundaries of the Eye, the Ear, Space and Time. In Contemporary Music Review Vol. 25, No. 4, (August 2006), pp. 353 – 365.

Sound installation interfaces musical and visual art through time and space. It is a sonic intermedia practice, which blurs the boundaries of the visual and aural and includes the spatial, the temporal and the haptic. Since 1977 I have been designing sound installations that merge the senses, offering unique experiences for the listener as participating auditor. In the discussion of several of these works the conceptual considerations in the design of cross-disciplinary works are addressed. These include the parameters derived from the disciplines of sculpture, sound, temporal composition, spatial architecture and audience interactivity. Some works merge many interdisciplinary elements such as sculptural forms, video, photography, radio and performance as well as sound, while others may appear almost invisible. The degree of musical composition and sound design features vary from work to work. Sound installations are rarely static, having many possible outcomes and many works have a high degree of immersive and interactive characteristics. As such they are difficult to document. This article will look at representative examples of my sound installations since 1977 showing diverse approaches to sound installation. It is a potent artform, which has stretched the boundaries of the disciplines of fine art and music, merging sound, time and space in new ways.

(available copy)

  • BRUINSMA, Max. Notes of a listener. In Sound by Artists, Edited by Dan Lander and Micah Lexier, Published by Art Metropole and Walter Phillips Gallery, Toronto (1990).

Sound is not a medium, nor a mass medium. It is a neutral presence, silent and speechless, so long as you do not actually listen. Sound is our immaterial environment, just as undeniable as the material, the visible, and just as reticent, so long as we do not project meanings onto it. In a certain sense the modern sound media – radio, record and tape – have made us conscious for the first time of the self-evidence of sound, by isolating from their natural environment the omnipresent but mostly nondescript sounds that surround us. Only then, heard within the safe confines of the listener's room are they conspicuous – the sounds of footsteps, traffic, far away birds, softly rumbling machines – and they lose their self-evidence.


  • BULL, Hank. Radio Art in a Gallery ?. In TDR (1988-), Vol. 37, No. 1. (Spring, 1993), pp. 161-166.

BANFF, January-March 1992 -As the Walter Phillips Gallery had already produced a book of essays called Sound by Artists (Lander and Lexier the curators, Daina Augaitis and Dan Lander, decided to focus this second collaboration on artists who make use of radio, and to present the work as an exhibition. But how can radio be exhibited in a visual art space? What will the gallery visitor actually see?

(available copy)

  • BULUT, Zeynep. The Problem of Archiving Sound Works. In PACIFIC REVIEW OF ETHNOMUSICOLOGY, Vol. 11 (Winter 2006).

This essay discusses the problem of archiving sound works. The case study on which it is based concerns the Sound Archive Project, designed and implemented by the digital arts foundation NOMAD and Istanbul Technical University Dr. Erol Üçer’s Center for Advanced Studies in Music (MIAM). The Sound Archive Project seeks to collect and present sound works by young composers, as well as to encourage interaction between artists and listeners. Thus, the archive functions not only as a research facility, but also as a place where performances, workshops, and panel discussions take place. The conceptual framework of the Sound Archive Project inevitably raises questions about the meaning of archive, sound work, and archiving sound works: What is an archive? Is it silent storage? If so, how can it be turned into a dynamic platform? What does archiving suggest as a technique? What does sound work imply? Is it possible to define or describe sound work as a category? And how can sound work be archived? Accordingly, in this essay I engage and elaborate upon these issues.


  • BULUT, Zeynep. Sound work as contemporary art practice : a study of sound in contemporary art practices.. Thesis (2002).

This thesis investigates and argues for 'sound works in contemporary art practices'. In this context, it is a study on the works by Jody Elff, Susan Philipsz, Ann Lislegaard, and Laurie Anderson, from three particular exhibitions, namely, "New York New Sound New Spaces", "Audible Light", "The Record of The Time". In each chapter, a particular work is considered, not simply in terms of the work 'itself', but also in terms of the experience of the work. Both suggest the discussion of the internal and the external dynamics of the works. Therefore the aim of this thesis is not to find a possible definition of what a sound work is. However the intention is to consider the possible indications, proposals, extensions and expansions of a sound work.

(Registered users only)

  • BUSTAMANTE, Ariel. Sound Art and Public Auditory Awareness. In Hz #12 (2008)

It is irresistible to examine the hierarchy of these two universal medias, the cosmic relevance of light over the planetary relevance of sound. It reasons that humans are physically conditioned to this order; naturally established to give privilege to forms over events, to images rather than sounds. However, this disposition adjusts throughout time according to a cultural tendency. From the Renaissance till today, vision has been the privileged field in perception, and thanks to industrial development and technological abuse (both of information and communication), this favoritism keeps growing. The world is being represented and exposed mainly in images, which attract and impose on our conscious focus of attention through publicity, television or Internet. The ocular-centrism in our culture modifies and exaggerates the perception we have of the world. The postponing of the development of our auditory sense and the ignorance of its mechanisms creates a general, unconscious tolerance to acoustic contamination, a permission to devices of power, control and sound manipulation (sirens, alarms & muzak) and to the imprecise handling of our acoustic environment.


  • CASSIÈRE, Pierre-Laurent. Écoutez Plastiquement. Conférence, Université de Louvain La Neuve, (Décembre 2006).

Le titre n'est pas neutre, bien entendu. Il est tout d'abord une réponse à l'intitulé du cours dans lequel cette intervention prend place, à savoir: "les interactions entre musique et arts plastiques". Si cet énoncé révèle les liens étroits qui ont longtemps rapproché ces deux domaines, et qui existent encore aujourd'hui, il nous semble également dépassé par certaines pratiques artistiques actuelles relevant de ce qu'il est convenu d'appeler l'art sonore. Si le terme "écoute plastique", a été emprunté à Peter Szendy nous proposons ici de le revisiter. En effet, Szendy applique ce concept à l'écoute de l'arrangement musical. L'arrangeur, en recomposant une oeuvre musicale, ou en l'orchestrant différemment, touche à sa plastique et en propose sa propre écoute. Ce qui met l'auditeur de l'arrangement musical dans une posture d'écoute plastique, c'est qu'il "aura avant tout épousé une forme, une figure d'écoute". L'écoute plastique est donc à la fois une interprétation et une appropriation de la musique. Si cette définition nous semble pertinente, nous regrettons néanmoins qu'elle se limite au domaine musical, surtout lorsqu'elle utilise précisément le terme "plastique".

(available copy)

  • CASSIÈRE, Pierre-Laurent. Installation Sonore - les résonances sociales de l’effet. Université de Liège, Faculté de philosophie et lettres, DEA interuniversitaire en art actuel (2005/2006).

Si la légitimité des pratiques sonores au sein des arts plastiques n'est plus à démontrer, leur reconnaissance hors du champ musical est très récente. La première exposition consacrée aux relations entre musique et arts-plastiques fut organisée en 1980 à l’Académie d’Art de Berlin. Elle était titrée Für Augen und Ohren (“Pour l’œil et pour l’oreille”) et portait en fait sur l’ensemble des développements de la musique mécanique. Elle incluait ainsi un vaste panorama d’objets musicaux tels des automates, orchestrions et autres pianos mécaniques. Son objet était donc bien loin de ce qui est qualifié aujourd’hui d’art sonore. L’art sonore regroupe en fait un ensemble de pratiques très différentes, allant de la sculpture à la performance, en passant par les pratiques audio en réseau, les systèmes interactifs, la phonographie, la spacialisation audio etc. Il est évident que les technologies audionumériques, apparues il y a une trentaine d’années, ont considérablement favorisé cet essor. Aussi passionnantes qu’elles soient, nous laisserons pourtant ces problématiques technologiques de côté dans l’étude qui nous intéresse ici, pour nous concentrer sur des questions liées plus spécifiquement aux modes de réception induits par des œuvres sonores placées dans l’espace, physique et social et couramment appelées installations sonores.

(available copy)

  • COWLEY, Julian. Annotations for Sound Art. (2003)

Technological developments over the course of the past century in the production, recording, storage and distribution of sound have contributed to “music” bursting its terminological banks. The flourishing of sound art in recent years is evidence of the vast excess that “music” struggled to conceal within its tidy classification of sonic phenomena. Modernist admission of dissonance and elements of noise into the strained contours of classical form paved the way for taxonomic breakdown. John Cage, in particular, extended permission to listen seriously and with pleasure outside of previously authorized forms. Sound art swelled to full audibility following steady and widespread erosion of aesthetic categories throughout the twentieth century.


  • COX, Christoph. From Music to Sound: Being as Time in the Sonic Arts. Published in German as “Von Musik zum Klang: Sein als Zeit in der Klangkunst” in Sonambiente Berlin 2006: Klang Kunst Sound Art, ed. Helga de la Motte-Haber, Matthias Osterwold, Georg Weckwerth (Heidelberg: Kehrer Verlag, 2006), pp. 214–23.

For, over the past quarter century, “sound” has gradually displaced “music” as an object of cultural fascination. Not only has “sound art” become a prominent field of practice and exhibition, embraced by museums and galleries across the globe. The academy has also witnessed an explosion of interest in auditory history and anthropology led by social scientists who have turned their attention to sound as a marker of temporal and cultural difference. Within the field of music itself, composers, producers, and improvisers have become increasingly attracted to the broader sonic domains against which music has always defined itself: noise, silence, and nonmusical sound.


  • COX, Christoph. About time: Christoph Cox on Sound Art. In ArtForum International Magazine, (nov 2007).

SOUND ART is an uncertain category and practice. The label itself—in circulation since the mid-1980s but only widespread during the past decade—is dismissed by some prominent practitioners and used sloppily by critics and curators. Visual artists predominantly wonder whether sound art is not really just music, and many musicians either reject the arty whiff of the term or latch onto it in hopes of gaining art-world credibility. Those for whom the term describes a genuine category of artistic practice distinct from visual art and music tend to disagree about its contents and their provenance, about the very nature of the field and its history.


  • DAUBY, Yannick. Paysages Sonores Partagés. (2004)

PAYSAGES SONORES PARTAGÉS est un intitulé représentant, avant toute chose, un processus d'expériences qui ont pour objet l'aspect sonore du réel, ou plutôt un certain rapport auditif à ce qui nous entoure. Se mettre à l'écoute d'un environnement ne consiste pas en une réception passive de phénomènes acoustiques. Il s'agit, selon notre1 perspective, d'inventer des zones de tests, de trouver des situations limites qui seront motivées par un désir d'entendre et d'écouter, d'ouvrir le champ perceptif. Les protocoles employés ne dissocient plus perception et production, car nous modélisons notre activité expérimentale sur le principe de la boucle de réinjection, un effet de "feedback" entre le faire et l'entendre. De même, la réflexion théorique est simultanément cause et conséquence de cette activité. Elle consiste principalement en la réactualisation de la connaissance des enjeux de ces expériences. Elle est donc partie intégrante du processus expérimental.


  • DAVIES, Shaun. Lost in Space — Sound in Space: Adventures in Australian Sound Art. (1995)

To problematise sound art's origins (its 'more general roots') and to make various claims — specious or otherwise — regarding sound's ontological status (that it is 'a thing in its own right' seems only to preclude the possibility of asking more difficult and even obvious kinds of questions, those, for instance, genuinely concerned with the future development of sound art theories and practices. If it seems somewhat odd, therefore, that the curator should lament the 'dearth of serious critical writing' on the subject, then her complaint that the 'commonly accepted way' (i.e. 'philosophical theory') of discussing sound art tends only to 'mystify' and so discourage access 'to a broad general public' not only presents a manifest contradiction, but an even greater oddity, especially given the suggestion that Sound in Space might or should, in fact, present a challenge.


  • DE LA MOTTE-HABER, Helga. Aesthetic Perception in New Artistic Context. In Bernd Schulz (ed.). Resonanzen/Resonancen – Aspekte der Klangkunst/Aspects of Sound Art. (Heidelberg: Kehrer Verlag, 2002).

The following considerations are based on experiences in novel art situations. One finds oneself in the midst of an enigmatic ambience when one enters a darrk room un which whitened loudspeakers are grouped in rectangular fields. Tones that seem pure wander around and through the entire room ; they seem to widen and narrow these fields. [...] Such new forms of art require new ways of viewing art — and there has been no lack of these in recent years.


  • DE LA MOTTE-HABER, Helga. Konzeptionen von Klangkunst. Conference given in Berlin in 2002 and published in Soundbag website, number 117 (2003).

Klangkunst war ursprünglich nur eine Übersetzung des englischen Wortes Soundart, das seinerseits eine Variante von Visual Art gewesen war. Gemeint war mit Soundart der Umstand, dass bildende Künstler begannen, mit Klang zu arbeiten. Inzwischen aber ist Klangkunst eine Art Gattungsbegriff geworden, eine Bezeichnung, die sich auf den Zwischenbereich zwischen den traditionellen Kunstgattungen bezieht. Der herkömmliche Kanon der Künste hat sich mit der Entwicklung von Mixed und Multimedia allerdings längst aufgelöst; somit ist auch als definitorisches Merkmal die 'Zwischenstellung' dahingeschmolzen. Trotz zahlreicher Kritiken, die auf die Unschärfen hinweisen, hat der Begriff Klangkunst jedoch eine große Zählebigkeit bewiesen und dies, obwohl es nur wenige Institutionen gibt, die seiner Festigung dienen. Es handelt sich um einen 'Regenschirmbegriff', der sehr Verschiedenes überspannt. Rosalind Krauss hat diese schöne Metapher für alle neuen Begriffe, die im 20. Jahrhundert entstanden sind, gebraucht.

http://wiki.dxarts.washington.edu/sandbox/groups/soundart/wiki/8389f/attachments/6d54f/ConcepcionesDelArteSonoro.pdf (versión en español)

  • DREVER, John Levack. The exploitation of ‘tangible ghosts’: conjectures on soundscape recording and its reappropriation in sound art. In Organised Sound / Volume 4 / Issue 01 / (January 1999), pp 25-29.

The aim of this paper is to question and explore why this ostensibly benign and increasingly common procedure (i.e. the routine of soundscape recording/sampling/abstracting, editing, retouching, transforming, mixing, recontextualising . . . ) may result in a durable confrontation with ‘terror’ accompanied by ethical compromise. To articulate a personal and intuitive response, I will refer to critical writings on photography to illuminate sound (i.e. utilising the photograph as a counterpoint to the sonic record). I will be focusing in particular on the recording and the reappropriation of human utterance in electroacoustic music, as it is probably the most intimate, as well as familiar, sonic material to humans. You cannot escape from your own voice.


  • DUNN, David. Nature, Sound Art and the Sacred. In TERRA NOVA, Nature & Culture, MIT Press, Vol. 2, No.3, (1997).

In the conclusion to his book, Let Us Now Praise Famous Men, James Agee describes the depth of meaning and intelligence conveyed through the late night calls of two foxes. In his nine page description of these calls he invokes archaic sentiments and a profound contradiction that humans must have always felt. We hear in the world talking to itself a sense of otherness that simultaneously mirrors our deepest sense of belonging. Agee compares the quality of laughter in these fox calls to the genius of Mozart, "at its angriest, cleanest, most masculine fire." Somehow we have always intuited that music is part of our reflection to and from the non-human world. We hear the alien quality of the non-human in our music and the humanity of music in nature. [...] Each of us is constructed as a miraculous community of systems that function together to form the coherent totality of a living thing capable of sensing the external world. Since that coherence is finite there are real limits on what we can sense. All of the sound we hear is only a fraction of all the vibrating going on in our universe. What we do hear is the result of a dance between the world and how we are made. In a real sense, we organize our reality out of this dance. Since this is true for all living things, and since each thing is made differently, each form of life hears a slightly different multiverse. Each species of insect, frog, bird and mammal listens to a distinct reality that arises from the constraints of how they are constructed.


  • FÖLLMER, Golo. Audio Art. (2004).

The three basic media techniques of transmission, storage and synthesis have helped to define artistic strategies dealing with sounds which go beyond the traditional notion of music and ask for a new terminology. While the term «sound art» has established itself for the general, non-media-specific expression of this phenomenon, in the present context «audio art» stands for sound art for whose production technical media are either essential or necessary.Intermedia connections, space as a musical determinant, media-specific forms of narration, detemporalization, virtualization and dehierarchization will be discussed by way of example in the present text.


  • ELOY, Céline. Le son peut-il être spectaculaire ? L’exemple de l’art sonore. In CeROArt [En ligne], 5 / 2010, mis en ligne le 14 avril 2010.

Le spectaculaire est indéniablement lié à l’approche visuelle des expositions. L’art sonore, en tant qu’art immatériel, est par sa nature opposé à cette évidence. Est-il dès lors considéré comme exempt de tout spectaculaire ? L’analyse des œuvres sonores permet d’envisager différemment la signification du mot.


  • ENGSTRÖM, Andreas, STJERNAA, Åsa. Sound Art or Klangkunst? A reading of the German and English literature on sound art. In Organised Sound (2009), 14:11-18 Cambridge University Press.

The article is a study on the literature of sound art from two language areas, German and English. The text reveals two different discourses. The German texts on Klangkunst (sound art in German) focus upon the sound material’s relation to a spatial location where sound sculptures and installations are given central focus. These are genres that transcend the old divisions between spatial arts (Raumkunst) and the time-based arts (Zeitkunst). A strong emphasis on the dual aspect of seeing and hearing could be described as a central point of departure. Klangkunst concerns an investigation of both time and space, through ear and eye. In the English literature on sound art, there are often references to sound’s inner aesthetical qualities. The perspectives on sound’s relation to room is evident also here, but the perspectives are however broader, in the sense that the aspects of space and locality are diversified and pluralistic. One will find an even larger scope of literature and references if the area of sound art also includes cultural-studies perspectives on sound, sonic experiences and acoustic phenomena, the influx of new technologies on the everyday soundscape, and sound design.


  • FLOOD, artist group. What is Sound Art ?. soundwalk.org .

Contained in or demonstrated by objects, works, actions and performative events that are realized by way of various artistic applications, methodologies and practices, sound art (term first coined in 1982) explores the dynamics relating to the experiential progression of sound from hearing, to listening, to “poetistic” perception and, finally, to aesthetic appreciation. Unlike music, sound art is the aural equivalent of cinema, painting, theater, sculpture and literature. Music may function as or provide material for sound art; however, music is not sound art. Typical of many contemporary art forms, sound art frequently relies on interdisciplinary processes that give rise to multi-media presentations and hybridized forms. As a result, collaborative projects are common and involve participants and hierarchies who collaborate either in physical, conceptual and/or spatial clusters or as extended constellations and networks. Such projects can entail the coordination and the connectivity of individuals and technologies within rooms, across borders and between hemispheres.


  • FRANK, Peter. Soundings at SUNY. In Art Journal, Vol. 42, No. 1, The Education of Artists. (Spring, 1982), pp. 58-62.

The entire fall season at the Neuberger Museum of the State University of New York, College at Purchase, was occupied by a single massive exhibition: Soundings, a tremendously ambitious undertaking, curated by Neuberger director Suzanne Delehanty, which billed itself as "the first American survey of visual artists' use of sound, music and acoustical phenomena from 1900 to the present." There have been any number of exhibitions exploring the active engagement, conceptually or physically, of sound in the plastic arts. Most of these, however, have been in Europe, and those mounted in the United States have, indeed, not matched Soundings in their chronological or methodological breadth. It was all the more frustrating, therefore, to note how many gaps there were. Especially since Soundings provided a wealth of information in a manner highly engaging in terms of simple entertainment, it is regrettable that a few too many small errors - and way too many glaring omissions - prevented the show and its attendant catalogue from providing a truly definitive historical and contemporary overview of the sound art phenomenon.

(available copy)

  • FROST, Everett C. Why Sound Art Works and the German Horspiel. In The Drama Review: TDR, Vol. 31, No. 4 (Winter, 1987), pp. 109-124.

Taken broadly to include audio art (or text/sound) productions, radio drama is the only form of radio activity that creates ex nihilo (see Wagner Jourdain 1986) - it begins from nothing and creates structure and meaning out of words and sound, or better, out of sounding words. As such it is a modern technological revival of something very ancient and primal: oral tradition, in which the uttered word makes aural sense without first passing through the frozen medium of print. When its principles are properly understood, radio drama allows us to "feel ourselves back in that primeval age where the word was still sound, the sound still word" (Arnheim 1972:35)

(available copy)

  • GEBHARDT, Nicholas. Can you hear me? What is sound art?. SoundCulture, San Francisco (1996).

Events like SoundCulture, which capitalise on the massive expansion of both aesthetic theory, cultural analytics and technological invention, demonstrate the difficulty of locating (and organising) a specific concept of art in favour of a highly deregulated field of artistic production in which, ultimately, anything (and everything) goes. Hybridity was the dominant formula through which much of the work was rendered. Yet the attempt to draw together such apparently disparate elements as contemporary music, sculpture, screen-based art, sound design, radiophonic arts, performance, scientific research, philosophy and DJ culture into an argument about the encompassing nature of sound was bound to run into all sorts of conceptual, sensory and geographical problems.


  • GOTTLIEB, Baruch. What is Sound Art ?. In Eyeball, Media Art Magazine (2008).

Sound Art is not a trend. Sound art has existed since time immemorial. One can argue that wind chimes and waterclocks are early forms of sound art. The fact that sound art has become more of interest to scholars and critics in the past 10 years may be a kind of reaction to the visual hypertrophy of the human experience in the internet era. The fact that Sound art has enjoyed a spike of interest in Korea of late proves only that the local art market is now saturated, which allows for a surplus of foreign-trained Korean artists to begin to look towards less profitable veins of expression to distinguish their practice. Korea's art market is forbiddingly resistant to modes of expression which cannot be marketed. Sound art, noisy by nature, is not generally appropriate for the demure bourgeois collector's home. It persists, in Korea, only among artists too eccentric or too wealthy or both to care much about profiting from their art work.


  • GUIGANTI, Bruno. Entre Bruits et Silences - Essais sur l'art audio.

Pour une acousophie — Les termes de "musique expérimentale" et d’"art audio" sont généralement considérés comme étant synonymes et interchangeables. En fait, il est difficile d’identifier précisément un art audio en regard de son lien historique avec la musique. La musique étant sonore par essence si l’on peut dire, une fâcheuse habitude terminologique s’est instaurée, qui rapporte le domaine entier des phénomènes sonores au domaine musical. [...] L’audicibilité du monde appelle alors le désir d’écouter et de se faire entendre dans un "j’ouïr" commun. Pas de privilège pour telle structuration du plaisir d’écoute en le soumettant à l’ordre par un dressage, à la restitution d’un programme. Pas d’entente sans un respect pour tous les modes d’apparition des sons, sans une dé-hiérarchisation de l’écoute.


  • HAMILTON, Andy. The Sound of Music. In Sounds and Perception: New Philosophical Essays ed. M. Nudds and C. O'Callaghan, (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2006).

According to the acousmatic thesis defended by Roger Scruton and others, to hear sounds as music is to divorce them from the source or cause of their production. Non-acousmatic experience involves attending to the worldly cause of the sound; in acousmatic experience, sound is detached from that cause. The acousmatic concept originates with Pythagoras, and was developed in the work of 20th century musique concrète composers such as Pierre Schaeffer. The concept yields important insights into the nature of musical experience, but Scruton's version of the acousmatic thesis cannot overcome objections arising from timbral and spatial aspects of music, which seem to relate sounds to the circumstances of their production. These objections arise in part from music's status as a performing art rooted in human gesture and behaviour. Hence I defend a two-fold thesis of "hearing-in", which parallels Richard Wollheim's concept of "seeing-in": both acousmatic and non-acousmatic experience are genuinely musical and fundamental aspects of musical experience. Musical sounds are essentially part of the human and material worlds. While the acousmatic thesis is ultimately unpersuasive, however, the concept of the acousmatic places an interesting interpretation on traditional debates. It is also the case that a more developed musical understanding tends towards the acousmatic. I conclude by considering some implications for the metaphysics of sound, arguing that the two-fold thesis of the experience of music implies that one can experience the location and production of sounds through hearing alone.


  • HAMILTON, Andy. Music and the Aural Arts. In British Journal of Aesthetics, Vol. 47, No. 1, (January 2007).

The visual arts include painting, sculpture, photography, video, and fi lm. But many people would argue that music is the universal or only art of sound. In the modernist era, Western art music has incorporated unpitched sounds or ‘noise’ , and I pursue the question of whether this process allows space for a non-musical soundart. Are there non-musical arts of sound — is there an art phonography, for instance, to parallel art photography? At the same time, I attempt a characterization of music, contrasting acoustic, aesthetic, and acousmatic accounts. My view is that there is some truth in all of these. I defend the claim that music is an art with a small ‘a’ — a practice involving skill or craft whose ends are essentially aesthetic, that especially rewards aesthetic attention — whose material is sounds exhibiting tonal organization. But acoustic and acousmatic accounts help to distinguish between music and non-musical soundart, since music must have a preponderance of tones for its material.

(available copy)

  • HEIMBECKER, Steve. Audio Art: The Illusion of Repetition. (2007).

From the German publication initiative, Media Art Net 1: Survey of Media Art, 2004, Dr. Golo Föllmer tells us in the introduction to his definitive chapter on Audio Art, that his paper will, “allow the clear identification of the radical change that separates Audio Art from the traditional understanding of music”.1 He continues to investigate Audio Art by segmenting his article into 21 sub headings, which in themselves are interesting and are listed here: transmission (radio), participation, aesthetization, radio art, storage, musique concrète, sound, principles of chance, musique d’ameublement, sound installation and ambient music, synthesis, sound composition, score synthesis, intermedia, space, media narration, detemporalization, virtualization, dehierarchization, and audio art as a phenomenon of the modern age. For the closing of his chapter, Dr. Föllmer summarizes his arguments: “Three fundamentally new ways of implementing technical media thus distinguish Audio Art from the traditional understanding of music as manifested in the use of mechanical musical instruments. These differences define audio art as a phenomenon of Modernity. First, Audio Art accepts the structural peculiarities of media as the source of aesthetic rules of design. Secondly, it accepts the task of the experimental investigation of media specific phenomena of perception. Thirdly, it uses media both in a critical and in a playful way against media themselves by deliberately seeking the loss of control: because the plurality of access and the unpredictableness of the results are considered to be the condition of development”.


  • HINANT, Guy-Marc. L'Art Sonore. In L’Art Même n°22, (février 2004), Bruxelles.

Le fait est là : galeries et musées, lieux autrefois silencieux, se remplissent de bruits et de fracas, parfois de souffles ou de sifflements - il y a quelque chose de changé au royaume muséal. Le son qui remplissait les rues, les kiosques et les salles de concerts s’arrêtait aux portes consacrées à d’autres muses, mais depuis un siècle, ces muses se sont pas mal entre- mêlées. Ce double mouvement de décloisonnement des catégories et des avancées technologiques place les arts dans une perspective inédite - la sculpture sera sonore, le son, non musical, l’image-vidéo, abstraite, le film, sans image; le sound art, qui nous occupe ici, est un élément issu de ces hybrides.


  • HEON, Laura. In Your Ear: hearing art in the twenty-first century. In Organised Sound: Vol. 10, No. 2. (August 2005). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press: 91-96.

Over the past century, an art form has emerged between the realms of visual art and music. Created by composers and sculptors, ‘sound art’ challenges fundamental divisions between these two sister arts and may be found in museums, festivals or public sites. Works of sound art play on the fringes of our often-unconscious aural experience of a world dominated by the visual. This work addresses our ears in surprising ways: it is not strictly music, or noise, or speech, or any sound found in nature, but often includes, combines and transforms elements of all of these. Sound art sculpts sound in space and time, reacts to environments and reshapes them, and frames ambient ‘found sound’, altering our concepts of space, time, music and noise.

(available copy)

  • HUBERMAN, Anthony. The Sound of Space. In Art Review 3:5 (May/June 2005).

The author assesses the impact and legacy of the Sixties sound art pioneers.

(available copy)

  • ITURBIDE, Manuel Rocha. The Sound Installation. (2003).

In this paper I analyze the interaction between sound and the visual arts as well as its development through the acoustic space and time. In other words, I am trying to understand the aesthetic implications of the sound sculpture and sound installation disciplines. Nevertheless, in order to understand the main characteristics of this relatively new media, we need first to consider some important premises:
1. - Sculpture and installation become expanded disciplines when sound is added to them. In this case the sound element attached could be part of the objet, related with the object, or completely alien to the object.
2. - When we add an element that has an alien language to the visual field, we inevitably create a x connection between the senses of our ear and our sight.
3. - The experience of the artistic visual work is modified completely when we use sound as an integral element, due to the generation of a new temporal perception of the space.
4. - The characteristics of the place modify completely our perception of the sound element of an installation; this specific place will also determine a x context that will alter the interpretation of the work.
5. - We do not necessarily need a visual element to have a sound artwork, an installation can be structured only with sounds.


  • JOHNSON, Richard. Time in Sound Art. Study.

Ways of organizing time.


  • JONES, Stuart. Space-dis-place: How Sound and Interactivity Can Reconfigure Our Apprehension of Space. In Leonardo Music Journal 16 (2006): 20-27.

The author examines the plasticity of the perceptual spaces generated by sound and interactivity and how their dynamic relationships to other perceptual spaces, both mediated and physical, affect our overall perception of the space we are in. He does this by analyzing some of his own work, in the wider context of architecture and time-based art and design, referencing work by other makers.


  • KAHN, Douglas. The Arts of Sound Art and Music (Sound Art, Art, Music).

I am not particularly fond of the term sound art. I prefer the more generic sound in the arts. My last book was subtitled a history of sound in the arts; there was no mention of sound art and not only because it was outside the historical scope of the book. Sound in the arts is a huge topic, especially when one keeps in mind the synthetic nature of the arts, i.e., the various intersecting social, cultural, and environmental realities wittingly and unwittingly embodied in any one of the innumerable factors that go into producing, experiencing, and understanding a particular work. Sound art is a smaller topic, if what is meant is that moment that artists, in the general sense of the word, began calling what they were doing sound art. In my experience, artists started to use sound art in this way during the 1980s, although there were plenty of artists doing similar things with sound earlier and not necessarily calling what they did sound art. The topic becomes smaller still if what is meant is the term that refers to what began a few years ago, and it is this meaning that has become well known.


  • KNOWLES, Julian. Sound Ideologies?. (2002).

This paper is a preliminary exploration of the distinction (real or created) between sound art and contemporary music practice in the Australian context. As a result of this examination one can identify a range of artistic and political issues which, I will suggest, exert a real influence on contemporary sound/music practice. I will take a 'top to bottom' approach; first considering the role of institutions and ideology, then attempting to identify differences between composers and sound artists.


  • KOFOED, Kristian. The Sound of Art. A conversation with Steve Roden. Artweek, October issue, pg 12 & 29 Wood, Eve, “Reviews,” Artweek, (October 2003).

When the critical history of sound/art is written, Steve Roden will occupy an important chapter. Perhaps uniquely among sound artists, he builds an enhanced sense of place, using sound as internal walls and visual art as windows through the site. Roden is sensitive to the reciprocal effect of art-space and art-work, saying of one Seattle exhibit: "I was sitting on the steps looking at the work and all of a sudden it looked like a bunch of quiet ships floating in the night-something I never connected the sculpture with before-and I love how the installation can change works in this way."

(available copy)

  • KOSTELANETZ, Richard. Text-Sound Art: A Survey (Concluded). In Performing Arts Journal, Vol. 2, No. 3. (Winter, 1978), pp. 71-84.

The key issue dividing North American text-sound practitioners from their European counterparts is the use of electronic machinery, for native text-sound art at its best is either more technological or less technological than European. In the first respect, the text-sound artist uses either multi-tracking, sound-looping and microscopic tapeediting to achieve audio tape effects that technically surpass European work. The principal figures here are Steve Reich, Charles Amirkhanian, Glenn Gould, Charles Dodge, Jerome RothenbergCharles Morrow, John Giorno, and myself. The other strain of American text-sound artists consists of those who have largely avoided electronic machinery, except of course to record themselves in permanent form: John Cage, Jackson Mac Low, Norman Henry Pritchard, W. Bliem Kern, Bill Bissett, Emmett Williams, Charles Stein, Michael McClure, and the Four Horsemen, a Canadian group.

http://www.jstor.org/stable/3245364 (available copy)

  • LABELLE, Brandon. Short Circuit: Sound Art and The Museum. In Journal BOL, No. 6., (Insa Art Space, Korea; 2007); 155-175.

Having witnessed a general move towards what is called "sound art" on the part of art institutions and museums over the last 3 years or so, increasingly I have experienced a genuine enthusiasm coupled with subtle disappointment. For it seems that while sound art is sought as an important category and practice, the terms by which it is apprehended, displayed and thus defined seem lacking. Of course, this is to walk the tightrope of "definition" which, following John Cage, has a way of "taking the life out of things." And certainly, a key aspect to not only sound art but also other forms of sound practice in general is its ambiguity and immediacy — for sounds duck and dive under the representational grip, skirting across meaning, and slipping over the disciplinary divides. Yet, definitions do come into play, since art institutions are bound up not only with display but the processes of historicization.


  • LANDER, Dan. Introduction to Sound By Artists. From Sound by Artists, edited by Dan Lander and Micah Lexier. (1989)

The desire to compile this anthology was driven by the noticeable lack of information and critical analysis regarding an art of sound. Although there has been an abundance of activity centred around explorations into sonic expression, there is no sound art movement, as such. In relation to artists' works, sound occupies a multitude of functions and its employment is often coupled with other media, both static and time-based. As a result, it is not possible to articulate a distinct grouping of sound artists in the way one is able to identify other art practices.


  • LOUTH-ROBINS, Tristan. Still and Moving Lines. Listening and Signification in Sound Art. Dissertation M.Mus at the Elder Conservatorium, University of Adelaide, (July 2010).

This dissertation explores the act of listening within the context of sound art, examining how a particular mode of listening is essential to understanding and appreciating sound art works, and how this differs from conventional music contexts. While sound art is regarded as an art form and area of musical practice in its own right, it is often a discipline that is misunderstood or overlooked due to its cognitive impenetrability. A heightened form of awareness and listening is important to its reception by the listener, whilst it also informs the aesthetic and compositional decisions of the artist.


  • LICHT, Alan. What is Sound Art ?. In Sound art : beyond music, between categories, by Alan Licht, (New York, N.Y. : Rizzoli International Publications, 2007).

In this article Alan Licht explains where and how derives ‘sound art’ from originality of sound. It also tries to define what is sound art and what is not. "Sound art, like its godfather experimental music, is indeed between categories, perhaps because its effect on the listener is between categories. It’s not emotional nor is it necessarily intellectual. Music either stimulates, reinforces, or touches on emotional experiences either directly or indirectly.”

(available copy)

  • MARTINEZ, Luc. Installations Sonores... ou Musicales ?. (2005).

En préalable, je ne considère pas du tout qu’une “installation sonore“ sous-tende une connotation “sous musicale“ et péjorative, mais devant la multiplication et la diversité heureuse de ce genre, il semble nécessaire d’introduire quelques nuances. Le terme d’installation sonore regroupe aujourd’hui toutes les installations dont le son est le médium (ou l’un des -) principalement mis en oeuvre. Le son produit peut être d’origine acoustique ou électrique, Il peut résulter d’une recherche minimaliste autour d’un objet ou d’une matière sonore répondant à un propos ou son environnement immédiat, réel ou virtuel… mais il peut aussi témoigner d’un véritable travail de création musicale assorti d’une proposition d’écoute originale.

(available copy)

  • MAXIMIN, Guillaume. Avant-garde et art sonore chinois : FM3, Li Chin Sung, Aitar et 718. (2006).

"Art sonore". Qu'est-ce que cette bête là ...du son, et plus, des vibrations, aléatoires, organisées, accentuées ou dépassées, selon l'intention du musicien plasticien. Et pourquoi la Chine semble-t-elle si éminente dans un mouvement traditionnellement européen (de Pierre HENRY à Henri POUSSEUR en passant par les expérimentations des dadaïstes et des industrieux tels Einsturzende Neubauten ou Throbbing Gristle) ? Et bien, le son chinois ne se veut pas dictateur ou talonnant contrairement aux bruitistes d'influences japonaises à la Merzbow ou KOJI Tano ; ni dansant ou excitant comme les anglo-saxons ; et enfin, moins élitiste et plus planant que par chez nous... libéré enivrant, transcendant, dans une tradition semblant amener le calme des lointaines montagnes sacrées au milieu des voitures des mégalopoles chinoises et leurs insignifiants musées perdus dans la furie du verre et de l'acier (allez à Shanghai vous comprendrez).


  • MCLENNAN, Andrew. A Brief Topology of Australian Sound Art and Experimental Broadcasting. (2006).

While the notion of an art of sound continues to be puzzling for many who have not yet stumbled into programs like The Listening Room, or its community radio equivalents, and those perhaps who have more frequently found themselves in galleries listening to sounds instead of staring at the walls, it might be instructive to draw up some kind of topology for Australian sound art and its connections with Australian broadcasting.


  • MUNGAN, Remzi Yagiz. Preliminary Study on Alternative Audio Practices.

This paper is an introductive study to the fields that approaches sound in alternative and new ways. Four subclasses of sound-based art are introduced: sound art, experimental music, noise art, and environmental acoustic. On each subclass a brief history is given. Works of John Cage, Christian Marclay, John Oswald, Karlheinz Stockhausen, Pierre Schaeffer, Iannis Xenakis, Luigi Russolo, Masami Akita, Marcel Duchamp, R. Murray Schafer, Terri Rueb, Ben Rubin and Mark Hansen are investigated with reference to external texts and interviews. Each project’s place in main sub-genres of sound-based art is discussed. The study shows the variety of projects and even the variety of additional medium and the problems of classifying the variety. Finally, links for audio and video based extra related material is given.


  • NEUHAUS, Max. Sound Art. First published as an introduction to the exhibition "Volume: Bed of Sound", P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center, New York, (July 2000).

From the early 1980s on there have been an increasing number of exhibitions at visual arts institutions that have focused on sound. By 1995 they had become almost an art fad. These exhibitions often include a subset (sometimes even all) of the following: music, kinetic sculpture, instruments activated by the wind or played by the public, conceptual art, sound effects, recorded readings of prose or poetry, visual artworks which also make sound, paintings of musical instruments, musical automatons, film, video, technological demonstrations, acoustic reenactments, interactive computer programs which produce sound, etc. In short, 'Sound Art' seems to be a category which can include anything which has or makes sound and even, in some cases, things which don't.


  • ORGANISED SOUND, An International Journal of Music and Technology (2009), Volume 14 - Issue 01 (Sound Art), Cambridge University Press.

Sound art is a slippery term, not well defined and absorbing new artistic practices so rapidly that it is in danger of collapsing as a meaningful category. Perhaps a lack of definition and clear delimitations is also what makes sound art so attractive, allowing for its large diversity and offering few of the taxonomy restraints that generally characterise music and art historical academic discourse. Yet this sensed freedom does not mean that the genre is free from institutionalisation. Thus, the increasing number of artistic productions broadly labelled sound art that are penetrating both white cubes and public spaces is a phenomenon that warrants closer investigation. (Jøran Rudi)

Contents :
LICHT, Alan. Sound Art: Origins, development and ambiguities
ENGSTRÖM, Andreas, STJERNAA, Åsa. Sound Art or Klangkunst? A reading of the German and English literature on sound art
COX, Christoph. Sound Art and the Sonic Unconscious
CAMPESATO, Lílian.A Metamorphosis of the Muses: Referential and contextual aspects in sound art
DEMERS, Joanna. Field Recording, Sound Art and Objecthood
IOSAFAT, Dani. On Sonification of Place: Psychosonography and Urban Portrait
TITTEL, Claudia. Sound Art as Sonification, and the Artistic Treatment of Features in our Surroundings
D'ESCRIVÁN, Julio. Sound Art (?) on/in Film
OUZOUNIAN, Gascia. Impure Thinking Practices and Clinical Acts: The sonorous becomings of Heidi Fast
CHAPMAN, Owen. The Icebreaker: Soundscape works as everyday sound art
MADSEN, Virginia. Cantata of Fire: Son et lumière in Waco Texas, auscultation for a shadow play
KLEIN, Georg. Site-Sounds: On strategies of sound art in public space


  • PANHUYSEN, Paul. Aesthetical Issues of Sound Art. (2000 ?)

Convention tends to demarcate: a painting is a painting, an opera is an opera; a visual artist is a visual artist, not a musician or a composer... It works like a wall surrounding a closed system - fencing in, fencing out. Embracing this concept means turning one's back to reality as it is: a tangle of circumstances, events and developments; a perpetual state of madness [in which] people have always striven to find a system...


  • PROY, Gabriele. Sound and Sign. In Organised Sound / Volume 7 / Issue 01 / (April 2002), pp 15-19.

In discussing different sound environments – sound in the field of art as well as sound in the context of our daily sonic environment – this article makes reference to semiotic theories. Sound without source. Electroacoustic media shape our perceptive realities. There are multiple tools available to record and reproduce sound, but is it possible to handle the fleeting nature of sound, the escape of sound? Certainly there are tools to manipulate sound, to create new soundscapes in this way. We can generate virtual soundscapes – projecting soundscapes via speakers, via headphones in a new context – but what are we listening to?

(available copy)

  • PRUNNEAUX, Céline. L'Installation Sonore : un espace en réserve dans l'art contemporain (1960-2000). Mémoire de Diplôme d’Etudes Approfondies, Département « musique, histoire, société » de l’École des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales EHESS (2002/2003).

Parmi la multitude de propositions artistiques concernées par les pratiques de l’installation, la mise en situation de dispositifs sonores convoque l’affirmation d’un travail spécifique et les enjeux d’une réception délicate. Un véritable tour de force agit au sein de ces environnements qui font advenir autre chose qu’une sculpture, autre chose qu’une diffusion musicale, - autre chose - qui serait un « art sonore » rendu étranger par un effet d’hybridation. Depuis le début des années soixante, les pratiques artistiques se diversifient par l’appropriation de techniques, matériaux, concepts inattendus, tentant de provoquer un lâcher prise sur les déterminismes traditionnels de la réception de l’oeuvre. Le geste artistique est alors pensé comme une attitude. Ce décloisonnement a pu être perçu comme une « transgression » dirigée contre l’unité esthétique de l’œuvre, il inaugure surtout une réflexion générale de la création selon des modalités expérimentales.

(available copy)

  • RESONANCE EUROPEAN SOUND ART NETWORK. What is ‘Sound Art’?. (2010).

Sound art lives the twilight zone wherein visual art, sound, music and technology come together. Early 20th century artists who considered “sound” as the matter of their work lay the historic foundations until the term “sound installation” emerged in 1971. Nowadays sound art is referring to a vast collection of audible installations and sound sculptures. Important exhibitions recognised the importance of the genre: “Sonambiente” (Akademie der Künste, Berlin, 1996/2006), “Sonic Boom” (Hayward Gallery, London, 2000), “Frequenzen” (Shirn Kunsthalle, Frankfurt, 2002), “Sonic Process” (Macba Barcelona/ Centre Pompidou Paris, 2002-03) and “Son & Lumière” (Centre Pompidou, Paris, 2004). In sound art, the traditional form in which music is conveyed is abandoned in favour of a new sound/space experience. As with a visit to an exhibition, recipients are able to configure the chronological and spatial organisation of the way that they perceive things. The historic sources of sound art can be described on the one hand as being the opening up of music to noise and the associated expansion of the material and the incorporation of chance processes and ideas of space into the musical composition, and on the other hand as the integration of sounds and noises into the configuration of sculptures and installations.


  • RUYTER, Thibaut de. Volume Minimal — Un art de la projection du son / Sound Art — Minimal Elements. In ArtPress, 315, (septembre 2005), 49-54.

Dans un croissant géographique qui part de la Norvège, passe par la Suède, la Finlande et finit à Berlin, travaillent des artistes sonores au minimalisme extrême. Attirés par une approche scientifique du son, ils branchent quelques câbles, captent des ondes radio, posent sur une table leur attirail technique et tentent de révéler l'inaudible.
''In the mid-1990s a group of artists — well, not really a group (they never made any joint statements or had any common programs) — emerged in galleries, museums, and biennals and on the stage in more or less underground gigs. For you are just as likely to find articles about Carl Michael von Hausswolff, Carsten Nicolai, Tommi Grönlund & Petteri Nisuhen, Mika Vaino and Ryoji Ikeda in the music press (such as the authoritative Englsih magazine The Wire) as you are in art magazines. This miwing modes is deliberately promoted by the artists themselves, wo not only have their own labels.

(available copy)

  • SÁNCHEZ, Luz María. Art et son (Arte y sonido).

L'art sonore appréhendé comme un espace hybride où se rejoignent arts visuels et musique, ou plus précisément les initiatives d'artistes visuels et de musiciens, est un terme de facture relativement récente. Malgré l'usage qui en a été fait, ce terme ne peut certainement pas être considéré comme une catégorie en soi ; ce n'est ni un genre, ni un courant, ni un mouvement au sein de l'art contemporain. Cependant, de même qu'il existe certains auteurs qui défendent l'idée de l'art sonore en tant que branche de l'art conceptuel, il en est d'autres qui, en revanche, ont misé sur la libre circulation des pratiques esthétiques, admettant ainsi la possibilité d'un espace flexible où finalement les caractéristiques du phénomène sonore prennent toute leur vigueur au delà des limites du support utilisé. Le fait qu'un terme aussi ambigu que celui d'"art sonore" prenne vigueur à travers des sites spécifiques - les festivals thématiques sont parfois des ghettos difficiles à briser : je pars du principe qu'il n'existe pas un " art sonore ", pas plus que n'existent les "artistes sonores" - peut, d'autre part, se constituer dans l'opportunité de souligner le large épanouissement du visuel dans le domaine artistique au détriment du lent développement de l'auditif. Cette situation, grâce à l'irruption des technologies digitales et d'Internet, tend à se modifier vers un réajustement plus équilibré.

http://mexiqueculture.pagesperso-orange.fr/nouvelles2-luzmsanchez-es.htm (versión en español)

  • SCHULTZ, Bernhard. Resonances : Aspects of Sound Art.

In the course of the past two decades, on the frontier between the visual arts and music, an art form has developed in which sound has become material witin the context of an expanded concept of sculpture. The term which has come into use for the works thus emerging — for the most part works that are space-shifting and space-claiming in nature — is “Sound Art”.


  • SEIFFARTH, Carsten. A Look at a Young Genre. (2009)

Although sound art has been established for a number of decades now as a new form of art in the threshold between visual art and music, it plays a rather marginal role in the area of contemporary music and also in traditional exhibitions. In sound art, the traditional form in which music is conveyed is abandoned in favour of a new sound/space experience. As with a visit to an exhibition, recipients are able to configure the chronological and spatial organisation of the way that they perceive things.


  • STÉVANCE, Sophie. Les opérations musicales mentales de Duchamp. De la "musique en creux. Images Re-vues [En ligne], 7 / 2009, document 2, mis en ligne le 20 avril 2011.

Une grande majorité du public ignore encore qu’en 1913, Duchamp a composé deux partitions musicales : "Erratum Musical", pour trois voix, et "La Mariée mise à nu par ses célibataires même / Erratum Musical" pour clavier ou autres instruments nouveaux. Il s’agit, pour Duchamp, de transformer l’appréhension de l’œuvre musicale de sorte qu’elle cesse d’être là pour ses qualités sensibles, flatteuses ou expressives, devenant ainsi le prétexte exemplaire à tout un monde d’idées sur le son qui seront énoncées sous la forme de partitions ou par de simples formules. Si, pour fonctionner en tant que musique, la musique peut, avec Duchamp, ne plus être sonore, quels seraient les éléments constitutifs et le terrain d’étude de ce qui apparaît dorénavant comme étant une « musique conceptuelle » ?


  • STUBBS, David. Welcome back the art of noise. In The Sunday Times, (May 9, 2010).

The invasion of sound, noise and music into the hushed environment of art galleries is not completely new. With both futurists and dadaists staging theatrical, cacophonous “happenings” as an adjunct to their visual artworks in the early 20th century, it was asserted that modern art would be an audible, as well as visual, rude blast against the decrepit old order. In that brief, revolutionary period, art and noise were in tandem. Yet the two worlds subsequently drifted apart, their avant-gardes enjoying contrasting fates (one very public, conferring fame and fortune on its most notorious practitioners, the other marginalised, obscure). In the 1960s, however, with movements such as Fluxus and the rise of John Cage in particular, the notion of sound being presented as a branch of conceptual art began to take hold. The phrase “sound art” was coined in the mid-1980s by the Canadian composer Dan Lander. Today, it is an increasingly widespread practice.

(available copy)

  • SZENDY, Peter. Installations Sonores ?. In Résonance n° 12, Ircam - Centre Georges-Pompidou, (septembre 1997)

Le son s'installe, dit-on : dans les salles de concerts, certes, mais aussi dans de nombreux autres lieux. Dans l'installation, l'artiste joue l'espace et laisse au spectateur-auditeur le choix de sa propre temporalité. A cela, l'Ircam ne peut rester insensible: d'une part, parce que ces installations questionnent notre perception de la musique et, d'autre part, parce qu'il n'y a pas d'installation sans technologie musicale. Dans l'installation, le son provient toujours d'un support technique, même rudimentaire, qu'il soit enregistré sur une bande sans fin ou qu'il soit stocké sous la forme d'un fichier informatique interagissant avec les mouvements du spectateur.

(available copy)

  • TOOP, David. The Art of Noise. In Tate Etc. issue 3: (Spring 2005).

Sound is ubiquitous, unstoppable, immersive, the agency through which spoken language is understood and music is absorbed. Sound works quietly with other senses to scan an environment, to define orientation within a place, to register the feeling that we describe as atmosphere. Without sound, the world can be an indecipherable, remote and dangerous place, yet sound is the sense that we take for granted – the sense that comes to the forefront of our attention when a restaurant is too loud, when a neighbour’s television penetrates the walls, when a car alarm shatters the peace of a Sunday morning. [...] For many artists working with sound, this unpredictable evanescence forms a large part of what makes it so interesting. Visual work has boundaries; a position that is fixed, if only from moment to moment; a capacity to express specific ideas. Sound, on the other hand, may come and go; be perceived at all points in a space, even behind the listener’s head or out of sight; be resistant to verbal interpretation, or attachment to any kind of meaning other than the way it alters an environment. Sound work may be the environment itself.


  • TOOP, David. A foreword to John Wynne's Hearing Voices. (2005).

Sound art is a relatively open field, an area of activity in which the central focus of the work - sound - can be examined, or developed, through media other than sound. At its most basic (or sophisticated), this may be a guided tour through sites of remarkable sonic interest. The capacity to listen with sensitivity, a marginalised quality in our society, is where the work begins. Perhaps one of the reasons why sound art has taken so long to become recognised as a valid activity is because of the breadth of its origins. Painting, physics, architecture, music, literature, sculpture, cinema, photography, theatre, radio, conceptual art, and the social sciences have all contributed elements to this hybrid practise, and so a confusion persists: what exactly is sound art? This turns out to be a productive confusion, since sound art requires some effort to be 'read' , even at its most accessible. A sound art installation that communicates immediately still asks the question: what is going on here?


  • TYRANNY, Blue Gene. A Short History of Sound Art. (2003).

There is an aesthetic tradition, based on our natural attraction to unique sounds in and for themselves, that has been called Sound Art. This love of sounds per se can be found in works for the concert hall, art gallery and open air, as well as in published recordings and computer software. The sounds themselves are discovered in the natural environment or are generated by acoustic and electronic devices, many built by the composer-performers, installation artists, sound designers, sound effects (SFX) mixers, etc., themselves. The main incentive has always been to search for new and interesting sounds and to present them in innovative ways.


  • VEJVODA, Goran. Always Back to Silence. In Brise-Glace, numéro zéro, (2002).

Le phénomène de l’art sonore aurait pu logiquement s’épanouir, il y a bien des années. Ce n’est que vers la fin du XXème siècle, que le sound art finit par connaître une respectabilité et surtout une audience inconcevable auparavant. Dan Lander écrivait en 1989 : "Le potentiel du microphone/magnétophone est illimité comme instrument d'expression artistique et sociale (compact, alimenté par batterie autonome, peu coûteux et aisément disponible). N'importe quelle activité sociale ou privée qui émet du son peut être enregistrée. (…) Etant donné que les systèmes de play-back sont nombreux, et que les magnétophones à cassettes accessibles, les artistes travaillant avec le son enregistré ont, au moins théoriquement, des possibilités intéressantes d'atteindre une audience diversifiée, sans tenir compte des institutions et de la bureaucratie liées au système contemporain du musée d'art".


  • WOLSEY, Merrilee. Perceiving Voices in Contemporary Art: An auditory exploration of image, sculpture and architecture. Thesis in The Department of Art History, Concordia University, Montreal, Quebec, Canada, (August 2008).

This thesis investigates some recent developments of sound in contemporary art through an exploration of image, sculpture and architecture. While the areas of image, sculpture and architecture are so crucial to art history that they are included in most important introductory texts to art history, most of these texts remain relatively silent as to the impact that sound and visual art has mutually had on the other. The author seeks to understand how sound might be important to the "silent" image, object, or building. This thesis argues that sound and image can be used together in art to map out new territory, that psychologically stimulating effects occur when sound is projected on to objects, and that sound spaces can be constructed giving an impression of architecture space and material. By approaching sound in art through image, sculpture and architecture, this thesis may assist in establishing the lexicon of sound that is so familiar in other fields of study in art historical terms. This is absolutely crucial for ongoing studies of contemporary art where sound has become so prevalent.


  • ZURBRUGG, Nicolas. Sound art, radio art,and post-radio performance in Australia. In Continuum: The Australian Journal of Media & Culture, vol. 2 no 2 (1989) .

In 1935 Raoul Hausmann, the dadaist writer, gave a recital of excerpts from his novel. It was a text overloaded with details, precisely described; lengthy revelations; a baroque richness in every sentence ... The acoustical emphasis, the foaming waterfall of words, anticipated a literature of phonograph records and of the radio - not yet accepted but in the making. As Laszlo Moholy-Nagy suggests in Vision in Motion (1947), one of the most significant literary developments of the twentieth century is the emergence of 'a literature of phonograph records and of radio'. At this point in the late 1980s, it is now possible to look back at the evolution of radio art, and at the same time, to look forward toward those more recent multi-media artforms deriving from radio art, and extending the potential of radio art into new, 'post-radio' realms. What is 'radio-art'? Defined most simply, radio art might be identified as that creativity predominantly dependent upon radio technology for its conception, for its realization, and for its distribution. In its most pure form, radio art might be thought of as exclusively radiophonic materials orchestrated and disseminated by radiophonic technology. The East German composer George Katzer's Aide Memoire (1985), typifies many aspects of this genre.


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