Category Archives: art

My Current Top Ten (well, Eleven) Pieces of Sound Art

Katie_Paterson_Langjokull_4

10. Proto-Corinthian aryballos, artist unknown (670BCE)

9. ‘Silence/Noise‘, Antonio Manuel (1975)

8. TIE: ‘Rhythmic Manufacture‘, Amor Muñoz (2015/2017) and ‘Record Release (12 inch)‘, Christof Migone (2012-)

7. ‘Langjökull, Snæfellsjökull, Solheimajökull (Ice Record)‘, Katie Paterson (2007)

6. ‘Handphone Table‘, Laurie Anderson (1978)

5. ‘Das Schweigen (The Silence)‘, Joseph Beuys (1973)

4. ‘Times Square‘, Max Neuhaus (1977/2002/2016)

3. ‘Letter to My Neighbours‘, Sarah von Sonsbeeck (2006-2010)

2. ‘Electrical Walks‘, Christina Kubisch (2004-)

1. ‘Box With The Sound Of Its Own Making‘, Robert Morris (1961)

Matthew Herbert: The Politics of Othering

“I’ve completely failed here tonight if that’s what you think I’ve said about my work.” – Matthew Herbert, 23 January 2018

There were a lot of mixed messages emanating from the stage at last night’s “Matthew Herbert: The Politics of Listening” event at the British Library, but one thing was certain: Herbert does not like his work to be questioned.
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The Great Glitch in the Sky: Sennheiser’s ‘Sound Experiences’ at the V&A

Masks of the members of Pink Floyd on display in the exhibition Pink Floyd: Their Mortal Remains at the V&A.

Masks of the members of Pink Floyd on display in the exhibition Pink Floyd: Their Mortal Remains at the V&A.

The Victoria & Albert Museum in London can hardly be faulted for experimenting with new forms of exhibitions. Museums worldwide have been seeking new ways to engage with visitors for decades in an attempt to avert whatever crisis museums feel they are currently embroiled in, and technological innovation is usually a sure-fire path to surging visitor numbers. Continue reading

Sound Maps in the 21st Century: Where Do We Go From Here?

Sound maps are boring. Why? I would argue it’s because they’ve become stuck in a rut that began when the idea of ‘sound map’ became synonymous with online, Google API-based or other forms of point-and-click, CD-ROM era interface design. If we want sound maps to become less boring, this needs to stop. But how do we as sound artists (or would-be ‘sound cartographers’) break free of the point-and-click model? Continue reading

Film Review: Francofonia

“All museums must be prepared for war,” states director Alexander Sokurov during his ongoing narration of his latest film, Francofonia, a meditation on European cultural heritage and conflict via the Louvre. Continue reading

The Exhibition Catalogue As Printed Echo

When a museum exhibition ends, all we’re left with are memories.

Well, that and a catalogue.

Museum exhibitions are collaborative projects, culminations of the work of many people with a variety of skills: Continue reading

Listening to Museums: Sound Mapping Strategies for Visual Environments

I presented this paper at the 2015 Ecrea Media & The City conference at the Faculty of Political Sciences at the University of Zagreb.

You can read the abstract below.


 

The multisensory experience of museums is becoming increasingly relevant to curators, the visiting public, and academics, with many museums even beginning to include participatory activities based on listening to their own soundscapes in their public engagement programs. But what does it mean to listen to a visual environment? What are some effective strategies for engaging with a museum soundscape? Could listening to museums lead to the development of new cultural institutions devoted to sound? In my artistic practice, I have spent the last five years making sound maps of several museums and archives including the Egyptian Museum in Cairo (shortly before the Arab Spring revolution), the British Library’s Sound Archive, the Art Institute of Chicago, Tate Modern, and The Pitt Rivers at Oxford. Eschewing a top-down, Google Maps API approach, my sound maps exist as immersive sound compositions that lead the listener through an audio tour of a different kind, a cognitive map that juxtaposes the sounds of objects and environments in new configurations and contexts much like museum curators juxtapose items in exhibitions. In addition to the sound maps, I also make blind listening sketches of museum soundscapes in situ, closing my eyes and drawing the sounds I hear for a predetermined duration using a system of mark making that is gradually becoming a lexicon of museum sound symbols. My research into the sonic experience of museums presents these soundscapes as cognitive maps, my personal journeys that are moving closer and closer to an attempt to define the authentic essence of what museums sound like. In this paper, I document the inspirations and thinking behind my museum sound mapping strategies along with a selection of their results, including sound compositions, videos, and drawings that map my acts of listening to various museum spaces, archiving them for the future.