Week 2 // (10/03/16)
This lecture provides an overview of sound art from the beginning of the 20th century to contemporary works. Sound Art looks at certain works that have common characteris. Sound Art characterises work that is looked at as breaking away from traditional music forms, such as classical music as well as the move to break away from traditional exhibitions and performance venues, like concert halls. However at the same times these experiences have roots in music, especially innovations within the 19th and 20th century, Highlighting how we cannot reference sound art without referencing music as a form of expression and engagements.
Sound art incorporates all oral experiences, highlighting the departure away from formal music traditions. It relates to other forms and disciplines in the executions, engaging in many diffrence forms like audiences, architecture and conceptual art. It’s not a discrete field due to the different connections made through other creative practice fields.
Alan Licht’s book, Sound Art: Beyond Music, Between Categories looks at a general survey of sound art from three different angles.
“Sound art comes from the appreciation of the total environment of sounds, both wanted and unwanted” (Licht 116)
Sound is looked at as temporal medium, meaning as you listen to it, attention needs to be made. The lecture looked at Bill Viola’s, ‘Reasons for Knocking at an Empty House: (Writings 1973-1994)’ as his stories illustrate how fundamental a temporal axis to the audio medium is to experience, separating sounds from visual.
Another example used was Luigi Russolo’s and view of not creating the art of music and harmony but just the noise, in his book ‘The Art of Noise’ he states;
“At first the art of music sort purity, Liberty and sweetness of Sound. Then difference sounds were amalgamate, care being taken, however, to caress the Car with gentle harmonies. Today’s music, as it becomes continually more complicated strives to amalgamate the most dissonant, strange and harsh sounds. In this way we come ever closer to noise sound” (Russolo)
He looks at the idea of the break so a new modern sound can be created, along with stating;
“Dismiss coevolution is parallel by the multiplication of machines, which collaborate with man on every front. Not only in the roaring atmosphere of major cities, but in the country too, which until yesterday was totally silent, the machine today has created such a variety of rivalry of noises that pure sound, in its exiguity and monotony, no longer arouses any feeling” (Russolo)
Highlighting why we should celebrate the technology and noise of the city, compared to the quiet of the country sides, so machines can celebrate along with relationship of the sounds these machines make.
- New Recording Sound Technology:
Sound technology created a revolutionary, fundamental break for human culture experiences, with technological inventions including the ‘Phonautograph’, Thomas Edison’s ‘Phonograph’, ‘Magnetophone’ leading to Guglielmo Marconi invention of the ‘Radio’.By the early 20th century there was anticipation for this technology to be used by musicians and composers, as a new form of expression. Along with this the relationship between sound and cinema is the backbone to how a sound can be manipulated, just like recorded images. Through experimenting with sound art, new technologies were discovered such as looping and sampling as well as changing the quality of sound as you add it. John Cage’s piece ‘4’33’ was a conceptual/idea driven art piece that was very popular throughout it’s time looking at the Idea of sound through metaphorically opening your ears, creating an individuals to hear more rich strands, along with a sound scape.
‘The World Soundscape Project’ is a documentary archive/ sound snap shot that looks at Phonautograph and the idea of what actually contributes your acoustic ecology, and what marks the sound of play.