Sound art

Sound art

Sound art is a diverse group of art practices that considers wide notions of sound, listening and hearing as its predominant focus. There are often distinct relationships forged between the visual and aural domains of art and perception by sound artists.

Like many genres of contemporary art, sound art is interdisciplinary in nature, or takes on hybrid forms. Sound art often engages with the subjects of acoustics, psychoacoustics, electronics, noise music, audio media and technology (both analog and digital), found or environmental sound, explorations of the human body, sculpture, film or video and an ever-expanding set of subjects that are part of the current discourse of contemporary art. [Douglas Kahn. 2001. "Noise, Water, Meat: A History of Sound in the Arts". Cambridge: MIT Press]

From the Western art historical tradition early examples include Luigi Russolo's "Intonarumori" or noise intoners, and subsequent experiments by Dadaists, Surrealists, the Situationist International, and in Fluxus happenings. Because of the diversity of sound art, there is often debate about whether sound art falls inside and/or outside of both the visual art and experimental music categories. [Alan Licht. 2007. "Sound Art: Beyond Music, Between Categories" New York: Rizzoli]

Other artistic lineages from which sound art emerges are conceptual art, minimalism, site-specific art, sound poetry, spoken word, avant garde poetry, and experimental theatre. Early practitioners include Tristan Tzara, Kurt Schwitters, Filippo Tommaso Marinetti, Hugo Ball and Henri-Martin Barzun.

Origin of the Term in the United States

The earliest documented use of the term in the U.S. is from a catalogue for a show called "Sound/Art" at The Sculpture Center in New York City, curated by William Hellerman in 1983. The show was sponsored by "The SoundArt Foundation," which Hellerman founded in 1982. The artists featured in the show were as follows: Vito Acconci, Connie Beckley, [ Bill and Mary Buchen] , Nicolas Collins, Sari Dienes & Pauline Oliveros, Richard Dunlap, Terry Fox (artist), William Hellermann, Jim Hobart, [ Richard Lerman] , Les Levine, Joe Lewis, Tom Marioni, Jim Pomeroy, Alan Scarritt, Carolee Schneeman, Bonnie Sherk, Keith Sonnier, Norman Tuck, Hannah Wilke, Yom Gagatzi. The following is an excerpt from the catalogue essay by art historian Don Goddard: "It may be that sound art adheres to curator Hellermann's perception that "hearing is another form of seeing,' that sound has meaning only when its connection with an image is understood... The conjunction of sound and image insists on the engagement of the viewer, forcing participation in real space and concrete, responsive thought rather than illusionary space and thought." [William Hellerman and Don Goddard. Catalogue for "Sound/Art" at The Sculpture Center, New York City, May 1-30, 1983 and BACA/DCC Gallery June 1-30, 1983.]

Sound Artists

ound art organizations and festivals

*Sonic Arts Network
*NOMAD's "Project_ctrl_alt_del" festival
*Tellus Audio Cassette Magazine

ee also

*List of topics related to Sound Art
*custom-made instruments
*list of custom-made instrument builders
*Sound installation
*Sound sculpture
*Electronic music
*Experimental music
*Circuit bending
*Experimental musical instrument
*Noise music
*Acoustic ecology
*Noise music
*Sound poetry
*Installation art
*Performance art
*Transmission art
*Radio art


Further reading

*Jacques Attali, (1985) University of Minnesota Press, Translated by Brian Massumi. Foreword by Fredric Jameson, afterword by Susan McClary
*John Cage, "Silence: Lectures and Writings" (1973) Wesleyan (first edition 1961)
*Cox, Christoph, 2003. "Return to Form: Christoph Cox on Neo-modernist Sound Art—Sound—Column." "Artforum" (November): [pages] . []
*Cox, Christoph and Daniel Warner, eds. 2004. "Audio Culture". New York: Continuum. ISBN 978-0826416155.
*de la Motte, Helga, Bernhard Leitner, and Bernd Schulz, eds. 2003. "Resonances". [Place] : [Publisher] . ISBN 3-933257-86-7.
*Drobnick, Jim, ed. 2004. "Aural Cultures". [Place] : [Publisher] ISBN 0-920397-80-8.
*Hegarty, Paul. "Noise Music: A History" (2007) Continuum International Publishing Group
*Kahn, Douglas. 2001. "Noise, Water, Meat: A History of Sound in the Arts". Cambridge: MIT Press. ISBN 0262611724
*LaBelle, Brandon. 2006. "Background Noise: Perspectives on Sound Art". New York and London: The Continuum International Publishing Group. ISBN 0826418449 (cloth) ISBN 0826418457 (pbk)
*Lander, Dan, and Micah Lexier, eds. 1990. "Sound by Artists". Toronto: Art Metropole/Walter Phillips Gallery.
*Licht, Alan. 2007. "Sound Art: Beyond Music, Between Categories" New York: Rizzoli.
*Lucier, Alvin and Douglas Simon. 1980. "Chambers". Middletown, Connecticut: Wesleyan University Press. ISBN 0819550426.
*Oliveros, Pauline. 1984. "Software for People". Baltimore: Smith Publications. ISBN 0914162594 (cloth) ISBN 0914162608 (pbk)
* [ Paik, Nam June. 1963. "Post Music Manifesto," Videa N Videology. Syracuse, New York: Everson Museum of Art.]
*Joseph Nechvatal, "Towards a Sound Ecstatic Electronica" (2000) The Thing []
*Peer, René van. 1993. "Interviews with Sound Artists". Eindhoven: Het Apollohuis.
*Schafer, R. Murray. 1977. "The Soundscape". Rochester, Vermont: Destiny Books. ISBN 0892814551
*Toop, David. 2004. "Haunted Weather: Music, Silence, and Memory". London: Serpent's Tail.
*Wishart, Trevor. 1996. "On Sonic Art", new and revised edition, edited by Simon Emmerson. Contemporary Music Studies 12. Amsterdam: Harwood Academic Publishers.

External links


* [ Boundaries and Definitions: The SoundAsArt Conference, Aberdeen Scotland (24–26 November, 2006)] by Scott Wilson in CeC eContact! 9.2
* [ feature on Sound Art (January 2006)]
* [ The Art of Noise] by David Toop, Tate Online, Issue 3, Spring 2005
* [ Bring Da Noise: A Brief Survey of Sound Art] by Kenneth Goldsmith in newmusicbox the webmagazine of American Music Center, March 1, 2004.
* [ Return to Form: Neo-Modernism in Sound Art] by Christoph Cox, ArtForum, November 2003.
* [ The sound installation by Manuel Rocha Iturbide] , unpublished, 2003.
* [ What is Sound Art?] by N.B. Aldrich, August, 2003.
* [,3605,596122,00.html GUARDIAN: Prick up your ears, Stephen Poole on sound art] Saturday November 17, 2001
* [ " It's Sound, It's Art, and Some Call It Music "] By Kyle Gann, New York Times, January 9, 2000
* [ Aesthetical Issues of Sound Art by Paul Panhuysen] , 2000?


* [ UBUWEB - Audio Art examples to Download]
* [ Sound Art links page]
* [ Sound Art links page in Spain]
* [ Sound Art links page in Mexico]
* [ mp3 audio archive of Tellus Audio Cassette Magazine ]
* [ Sound Art articles fr]
* [ Sounds and Sound Art listen fr ]
* [ Sound Art Museum (Rome, Italy)]

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