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Sound art is an artistic activity in which
sound In physics, sound is a vibration that propagates as an acoustic wave, through a transmission medium such as a gas, liquid or solid. In human physiology and psychology, sound is the ''reception'' of such waves and their ''perception'' by ...
is utilized as a primary medium or material. Like many genres of
contemporary art Contemporary art is the art of today, produced in the second half of the 20th century or in the 21st century. Contemporary artists work in a globally influenced, culturally diverse, and technologically advancing world. Their art is a dynamic c ...
, sound art may be
interdisciplinary Interdisciplinarity or interdisciplinary studies involves the combination of multiple academic disciplines into one activity (e.g., a research project). It draws knowledge from several other fields like sociology, anthropology, psychology, ec ...
in nature, or be used in hybrid forms. According to Brandon LaBelle, sound art as a practice "harnesses, describes, analyzes, performs, and interrogates the condition of sound and the process by which it operates." In
Western art The art of Europe, or Western art, encompasses the history of visual art in Europe. European prehistoric art started as mobile Upper Paleolithic rock and cave painting and petroglyph art and was characteristic of the period between the Pa ...
, early examples include
Luigi Russolo Luigi Carlo Filippo Russolo (30 April 1885 – 4 February 1947) was an Italian Futurist painter, composer, builder of experimental musical instruments, and the author of the manifesto ''The Art of Noises'' (1913). He is often regarded as one of ...
's ''
Intonarumori Intonarumori are experimental musical instruments invented and built by the Italian futurist Luigi Russolo between roughly 1910 and 1930. There were 27 varieties of intonarumori built in total, with different names. Background Russolo built th ...
'' or noise intoners (1913), and subsequent experiments by
dada Dada () or Dadaism was an art movement of the European avant-garde in the early 20th century, with early centres in Zürich, Switzerland, at the Cabaret Voltaire (in 1916). New York Dada began c. 1915, and after 1920 Dada flourished in Paris ...
ists,
surrealists Surrealism is a cultural movement that developed in Europe in the aftermath of World War I in which artists depicted unnerving, illogical scenes and developed techniques to allow the unconscious mind to express itself. Its aim was, according to l ...
, the
Situationist International The Situationist International (SI) was an Proletarian internationalism, international organization of social revolutionaries made up of avant-garde artists, intellectuals, and Political philosophy, political theorists. It was prominent in Eu ...
, and in
Fluxus Fluxus was an international, interdisciplinary community of artists, composers, designers and poets during the 1960s and 1970s who engaged in experimental art performances which emphasized the artistic process over the finished product. Fluxus ...
events and other
Happening A happening is a performance, event, or situation art, usually as performance art. The term was first used by Allan Kaprow during the 1950s to describe a range of art-related events. History Origins Allan Kaprow first coined the term "happ ...
s. Because of the diversity of sound art, there is often debate about whether sound art falls within the domains of
visual art The visual arts are art forms such as painting, drawing, printmaking, sculpture, ceramics, photography, video, filmmaking, design, crafts and architecture. Many artistic disciplines such as performing arts, conceptual art, and textile arts ...
or
experimental music Experimental music is a general label for any music or music genre that pushes existing boundaries and genre definitions. Experimental compositional practice is defined broadly by exploratory sensibilities radically opposed to, and questioning of, ...
, or both. Other artistic lineages from which sound art emerges are
conceptual art Conceptual art, also referred to as conceptualism, is art in which the concept(s) or idea(s) involved in the work take precedence over traditional aesthetic, technical, and material concerns. Some works of conceptual art, sometimes called insta ...
,
minimalism In visual arts, music and other media, minimalism is an art movement that began in post–World War II in Western art, most strongly with American visual arts in the 1960s and early 1970s. Prominent artists associated with minimalism include D ...
,
site-specific art Site-specific art is artwork created to exist in a certain place. Typically, the artist takes the location into account while planning and creating the artwork. Site-specific art is produced both by commercial artists, and independently, and can ...
,
sound poetry Sound poetry is an artistic form bridging literacy and musical composition, in which the phonetic aspects of human speech are foregrounded instead of more conventional semantic and syntactic values; "verse without words". By definition, sound poetr ...
,
electro-acoustic music Electroacoustic music is a genre of popular and Western art music in which composers use technology to manipulate the timbres of acoustic sounds, sometimes by using audio signal processing, such as reverb or harmonizing, on acoustical instrumen ...
,
spoken word Spoken word refers to an oral poetic performance art that is based mainly on the poem as well as the performer's aesthetic qualities. It is a late 20th century continuation of an ancient oral artistic tradition that focuses on the aesthetics o ...
,
avant-garde The avant-garde (; In 'advance guard' or 'vanguard', literally 'fore-guard') is a person or work that is experimental, radical, or unorthodox with respect to art, culture, or society.John Picchione, The New Avant-garde in Italy: Theoretical ...
poetry,
sound scenography Sound scenography (also known as acoustic scenography) is the process of staging spaces and environments through sound. It combines expertise from the fields of architecture, acoustics, communication, sound design and interaction design to convey a ...
, and
experimental theatre Experimental theatre (also known as avant-garde theatre), inspired largely by Wagner's concept of Gesamtkunstwerk, began in Western theatre in the late 19th century with Alfred Jarry and his Ubu plays as a rejection of both the age in particula ...
.


Origin of term

According to
Bernhard Gál Bernhard Gál (born 1971) is an Austrian artist, composer and musicologist. Biography Bernhard Gál (a.k.a. Gal) works between the categories, creating music for instruments and electro-acoustic compositions, as well as art installations. Many ...
's research, the first published use of the term was found in
Something Else Press Something Else Press was founded by Dick Higgins in 1963. It published many important Intermedia texts and artworks by such Fluxus artists as Higgins, Ray Johnson, Alison Knowles, Allan Kaprow, George Brecht, Daniel Spoerri, Robert Filliou, ...
on the cover of their 1974 Yearbook. The first use as the title of an exhibition at a major museum was 1979's "Sound Art" at the Museum of Modern Art in New York (MoMA), featuring
Maggi Payne Maggi ( or ) is an international brand of seasonings, instant soups, and noodles that originated in Switzerland in the late 19th century. The Maggi company was acquired by Nestlé in 1947. History Early history Julius Maggi (1846–1912 ...
, Connie Beckley, and Julia Heyward. The curator, Barbara London defined sound art as, "more closely allied to art than to music, and are usually presented in the museum, gallery, or alternative space." Commenting on an exhibition called "Sound/Art" at The Sculpture Center in New York City in 1984 art historian Don Goddard noted: "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."


Sound installation

Sound installation is an
intermedia Intermedia is an art theory term coined in the mid-1960s by Fluxus artist Dick Higgins to describe various interdisciplinarity art activities that occur between genres, beginning in the 1960s. It was also used by John Brockman to refer to wor ...
and time-based art form. It is an expansion of an
art installation Installation art is an artistic genre of three-dimensional works that are often site-specific and designed to transform the perception of a space. Generally, the term is applied to interior spaces, whereas exterior interventions are often calle ...
in the sense that it includes the sound element and therefore the time element. The main difference with a sound sculpture is that a sound installation has a three-dimensional space and the axes with which the different sound objects are being organized are not exclusively internal to the work, but also external. A work of art is an installation only if it makes a dialog with the surrounding space. A sound installation is usually site-specific, but sometimes it can be readapted to other spaces. It can be made either in closed or open spaces, and context is fundamental in determining how a sound installation will be aesthetically perceived. The difference between a regular art installation and a sound installation is that the latter contains a time element, which gives the visiting public the option to stay longer to explore the development of the sound over time. This temporal factor also gives the audience an incentive to explore the space more thoroughly and investigate the disposition of the different sounds in space. Sound installations sometimes use interactive art technology (
computer A computer is a machine that can be programmed to carry out sequences of arithmetic or logical operations (computation) automatically. Modern digital electronic computers can perform generic sets of operations known as programs. These prog ...
s,
sensor A sensor is a device that produces an output signal for the purpose of sensing a physical phenomenon. In the broadest definition, a sensor is a device, module, machine, or subsystem that detects events or changes in its environment and sends ...
s, mechanical and kinetic devices, etc.), but they can also simply use sound sources placed at different points in space (such as
speakers Speaker may refer to: Society and politics * Speaker (politics), the presiding officer in a legislative assembly * Public speaker, one who gives a speech or lecture * A person producing speech: the producer of a given utterance, especially: ** I ...
), or acoustic instrument materials such as piano strings played by a performer or by the public (see Paul Panhuysen). In the context of museums, this combination of interactive technology and multi-channel speaker distribution is sometimes referred to as
sound scenography Sound scenography (also known as acoustic scenography) is the process of staging spaces and environments through sound. It combines expertise from the fields of architecture, acoustics, communication, sound design and interaction design to convey a ...
.


Sound structure in sound installations

#The simplest sound form is a repeating sound loop. This is mostly used in
Ambient music Ambient music is a genre of music that emphasizes tone and atmosphere over traditional musical structure or rhythm. It may lack net composition, beat, or structured melody.The Ambient Century by Mark Prendergast, Bloomsbury, London, 2003. It ...
-like art, and in this case the sound is not the determinant factor of the art work. #The most used sound structure is the open form, since the public can decide to experience a sound installation for just a few minutes or for a longer period of time. This obliges the artist to construct a sound organization that is capable of working well in both cases. #There is also the possibility to have a linear sound structure, where sound develops in the same way as in a
musical composition Musical composition can refer to an original piece or work of music, either vocal or instrumental, the structure of a musical piece or to the process of creating or writing a new piece of music. People who create new compositions are calle ...
.


Sound sculpture

Sound sculpture is an
intermedia Intermedia is an art theory term coined in the mid-1960s by Fluxus artist Dick Higgins to describe various interdisciplinarity art activities that occur between genres, beginning in the 1960s. It was also used by John Brockman to refer to wor ...
and time-based art form in which
sculpture Sculpture is the branch of the visual arts that operates in three dimensions. Sculpture is the three-dimensional art work which is physically presented in the dimensions of height, width and depth. It is one of the plastic arts. Durable ...
or any kind of art object produces
sound In physics, sound is a vibration that propagates as an acoustic wave, through a transmission medium such as a gas, liquid or solid. In human physiology and psychology, sound is the ''reception'' of such waves and their ''perception'' by ...
, or the reverse (in the sense that sound is manipulated in such a way as to create a sculptural as opposed to temporal form or mass). Most often sound sculpture artists were primarily either visual artists or
composer A composer is a person who writes music. The term is especially used to indicate composers of Western classical music, or those who are composers by occupation. Many composers are, or were, also skilled performers of music. Etymology and Def ...
s, not having started out directly making sound sculpture.
Cymatics Cymatics (from grc, κῦμα, translit=kyma, translation=wave) is a subset of modal vibrational phenomena. The term was coined by Hans Jenny (1904-1972), a Swiss follower of the philosophical school known as anthroposophy. Typically the surf ...
and kinetic art have influenced sound sculpture. Sound sculpture is sometimes site-specific. Sound Artist and Professor of Art at
Claremont Graduate University The Claremont Graduate University (CGU) is a private, all-graduate research university in Claremont, California. Founded in 1925, CGU is a member of the Claremont Colleges which includes five undergraduate (Pomona College, Claremont McKenna C ...
Michael Brewster described his own works as "Acoustic Sculptures" as early as 1970. Grayson described sound sculpture in 1975 as "the integration of visual form and beauty with magical, musical sounds through participatory experience."


Sound sculptures with Wikipedia articles

* Blackpool High Tide Organ * Gesundheit Radio * Sea organ * Singing Ringing Tree (Panopticons) * A Sound Garden * Golden Gate Bridge#Wind


Gallery

Image:DallasPublicLibrary Textured Screen.jpg, Harry Bertoia, Textured Screen, 1954 Image:Singing Ringing Tree Stitch.jpg,
Panopticon The panopticon is a type of institutional building and a system of control designed by the English philosopher and social theorist Jeremy Bentham in the 18th century. The concept of the design is to allow all prisoners of an institution to be ...
: The Singing Ringing Tree Image:Blackpool tide organ.jpg, The Blackpool High Tide Organ Image:The cristal baschet.jpg, The Cristal Baschet Image:Moodswinger.jpg,
Yuri Landman Yuri Landman (born 1 February 1973) is a Dutch inventor of musical instruments and musician who has made several experimental electric string instruments for a number of artists including Lee Ranaldo of Sonic Youth, Liars, Jad Fair of Half Jap ...
, Moodswinger, 2006 Image:Electrocardiophones with electroencephalophone softub4.jpg, 2 electrocardiophones & electroencephalophone Image:Sea organ Zadar 1.jpg, Bašić's sea organ


See also


Notes


References

* Kenneth Goldsmith, ''Duchamp Is My Lawyer: The Polemics, Pragmatics, and Poetics of UbuWeb'', Columbia University Press, New York * Kahn, Douglas. 2001. ''Noise, Water, Meat: A History of Sound in the Arts''. Cambridge: MIT Press. . * Licht, Alan. 2007. ''Sound Art: Beyond Music, Between Categories'' (with accompanying compact disc recording). New York: Rizzoli International Publications. . *Peter Szendy. 2008. ''Listen: A History of Our Ears'', Fordham University Press *Brandon LaBelle. 2006. ''Background Noise: Perspectives on Sound Art'', London & New York: Continuum. .


Further reading

* Attali, Jacques. 1985. '' Noise: The Political Economy of Music'', translated by Brian Massumi, foreword by
Fredric Jameson Fredric Jameson (born April 14, 1934) is an American literary critic, philosopher and Marxist political theorist. He is best known for his analysis of contemporary cultural trends, particularly his analysis of postmodernity and capitalism. James ...
, afterword by Susan McClary. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press. (cloth) (pbk.) *Bandt, Ros. 2001. ''Sound Sculpture: Intersections in Sound and Sculpture in Australian Artworks''. Sydney: Craftsman House. . * Cage, John. 1961. "Silence: Lectures and Writings". Middletown, CT: Wesleyan University Press. (Paperback reprint edition 1973, ) *Cox, Christoph. 2003.
Return to Form: Christoph Cox on Neo-modernist Sound Art—Sound—Column
" ''Artforum'' (November): ages *Cox, Christoph. 2009
"Sound Art and the Sonic Unconscious"
''Organised Sound'' 14, no. 1:19–26. *Cox, Christoph. 2011
"Beyond Representation and Signification: Toward a Sonic Materialism"
''Journal of Visual Culture'' 10, no. 2:145–161. *Cox, Christoph, and Daniel Warner (eds.). 2004. ''Audio Culture: Readings in Modern Music''. New York: Continuum. . *Drobnick, Jim (ed.). 2004. ''Aural Cultures''. Toronto: YYZ Books; Banff: Walter Phillips Gallery Editions. . *Groth, Sanne Krogh, and Holger Schulze (eds.). 2020. ''The Bloomsbury Handbook of Sound Art''. New York: Bloomsbury. . * Hegarty, Paul. 2007. ''
Noise Music Noise music is a genre of music that is characterised by the expressive use of noise within a Noise in music, musical context. This type of music tends to challenge the distinction that is made in conventional musical practices between musical a ...
: A History''. New York: Continuum International Publishing Group. (hardcover) (pbk) * *Kim-Cohen, Seth. 2009. ''In the Blink of an Ear: Toward a Non-Cochlear Sonic Art''. New York: Continuum. *LaBelle, Brandon. 2006. ''Background Noise: Perspectives on Sound Art''. New York and London: The Continuum International Publishing Group. (cloth) (pbk) *Lander, Dan, and Micah Lexier (eds.). 1990. ''Sound by Artists''. Toronto: Art Metropole/Walter Phillips Gallery. * Lucier, Alvin, and Douglas Simon. 1980. ''Chambers''. Middletown, Connecticut: Wesleyan University Press. . * Nechvatal, Joseph. 2000. "Towards a Sound Ecstatic Electronica".
The Thing
'. * Oliveros, Pauline. 1984. ''Software for People''. Baltimore: Smith Publications. (cloth) (pbk)
Paik, Nam June. 1963. "Post Music Manifesto," Videa N Videology. Syracuse, New York: Everson Museum of Art.
*Peer, René van. 1993. ''Interviews with Sound Artists''. Eindhoven: Het Apollohuis. *Rogers, Holly. 2013. ''Sounding the Gallery: Video and the Rise of Art-Music''. Oxford: Oxford University Press. * Schaefer, Janek, Bryan Biggs, Christoph Cox, and Sara-Jayne Parsons. 2012. "Janek Schaefer: Sound Art: A Retrospective". Liverpool: The Bluecoat. . *Schafer, R. Murray. 1977. ''The Soundscape''. Rochester, Vermont: Destiny Books. *Schulz, Berndt (ed.). 2002. ''Resonanzen: Aspekte der Klangkunst''. Heidelberg: Kehrer. . (Parallel text in German and English) *Skene, Cameron. 2007.
Sonic Boom
. ''The Montreal Gazette'' (13 January). * Toop, David. 2004. ''Haunted Weather: Music, Silence, and Memory''. London: Serpent's Tail. (cloth), (pbk.) *Valbonesi, Ilari. ''A.A.A.A.A.A.A. Cercasi Sound Art''. ARTE E CRITICA, ISSUE 64, (2010) *Wilson, Dan. 2011.
Sonics in the Wildernesses – A Justification
" ''The Brooklyn Rail'' (April) * Wishart, Trevor. 1996. ''On Sonic Art'', new and revised edition, edited by Simon Emmerson (with accompanying compact disc recording). Contemporary Music Studies 12. Amsterdam: Harwood Academic Publishers. (cloth) (pbk.) (CD recording) {{DEFAULTSORT:Sound Art Visual arts genres Contemporary art Visual music Digital art New media art Experimental music genres Audio works Cassette culture 1970s–1990s