Wednesday, February 09, 2011


The College Art Association is in town this week, hosting its 99th Annual Conference. The ARTspace "conference within a conference" offers programs free to the public, as a service to artists. This morning's sessions were titled  "The Aesthetics of Sonic Spaces" - four talks on the nature of sound art, what it is, what the tools are, and how sound art intersects with environmental art. Like installation art and performance art, sound art had its genesis in the 60's and in situational esthetics. Two of today's questions were "who owns the air space in which sound occurs?" and "how do we make sound art that does not reference music?"

So the image I've chosen does not accurately represent what today's talks were about, but it does identify a seminal modern composer and sound architect whose drawings were the subject of an exhibition last year at the Drawing Center in Soho. I am sorry I missed that, but grateful for the opportunity today to be introduced to his work. I see it as a point of entry for my own installation work - not to jinx the subject, I'll save writing about that for later when I'm deeper into it.

Other take-aways from the talks today:

Jonny Farrow's Soundwalks along the Gowanus Canal and in Fort Greene. I'll walk more slowly and listen more intently next time I'm headed for the studio.

China Blue's Seventh Kingdom projects that invent new "bioforms" from the detritus of urban life. Her use of seismic recorders to catch vibrations in the structure of the Eiffel Tower - and then ratchet them up so as to be audible to humans - make me wonder what the inner shiftings of the earth sound like, to paraphrase Octavio Paz, sounds from the other side.

No comments: