Kunstjournalen B-post 2012
The 2012 issue introduces audio art, sonic art, sound art – art that makes use of sound in one form or another.
As a concept, sound art has a number of parallel histories. Depending on the creative environment and the country, it is referred to by a variety of names that cover more or less the same range of activities. Sound art has now become a very broad field that includes experimental music, sound sculpture, installation, performance, radio art, loudspeaker installations, electronic art, field recordings, and much more
Key to the sound arts is an active consideration of listening as an experience that locates us in the world. The sound arts draw out listening to query how the ear conditions our perception and understanding of things. In doing so, it is my proposal that the sound arts ultimately highlight sound as a specific paradigm, and listening as a performative mechanism by which to reflect on the behaviors of audibility, and what it means to hear and to be heard.
Nicholas H. Møllerhaug and Espen Sommer Eide have worked together on a number of projects in fields ranging from music and language to art and philosophy. From 2001 to 2006, they arranged Trollofonen, an annual music festival held in a Skoda 9TR electric trolleybus. The vehicle’s electric motors provided power not just for the bus itself but also for the musicians. Rural Readers consists of a growing archive of texts, images, sounds, and other approaches to documenting and reading a location or landscape. Arkivsirkus (Archive Circus) is an ongoing project that crosses an archive with live performance. All are organised under the umbrella of Pilota.fm.
In February 2012 Moderna Museet in Stockholm hosted the eighth version of freq_out, a sound installation which may well be the biggest separate sound work ever to be presented at an art museum. The first version was developed during a workshop in 2003 at Charlottenborg in Copenhagen, under the heading Disturbances (Sound as Space Creator). Other versions have since been presented at art and music festivals such as Nuit Blanche, Sonambiente, Happy New Ears and Ultima. The only-ever outdoor version took place in Thailand, in the garden of the CMU Art Museum, under the direction of the Land Foundation in collaboration with Building Transmissions from Belgium.
In the 16 years that I have been active as a curator and producer in the vast field of sound art, my focus on this young art form has increasingly shifted from music to the fine arts. The term «sound art» is mostly used as an overarching generic term for practices as diverse as sound installations, sound sculptures, radio art, sound poetry, sound performances and, at its most extreme, even computer music or auditive net art. By contrast, the sound art I focus on in my curatorial work is primarily what Bernhard Leitner once labelled «sound-space-art».
English text will be published here
The thing is I’m not a performer. I’m what you might call a professional listener. I think like a member of the audience, not as a composer. Perhaps that makes a difference to the way one arranges concerts. One is also part of a professional field, but not a performer oneself.
In an environment where images are over-abundant and the spectator’s eyes are exposed to a multitude of images every day, what role can creative visual work play in alluding to auditory phenomena? The combination of visual and auditory elements as a creative resource has a long history in art and the cinema. However, only in a few cases has it been deliberately used to generate uncertainty and stimulate the spectator's mind, allowing one to listen to what one’s own mind produces in a kind of inter-subjective speculation. The experience of listening itself becomes a result of all the conjectures that have been produced by others previously while, at the same time, the listening is somehow based on similar personal experiences.
The release of the record Ambient I: Music for airports in 1978, saw the emergence of a new musical genre. Eno wanted to create music that could function as ambience, accommodating «many levels of listening attention without enforcing one in particular», being «as ignorable as it is interesting», inducing «calm and a space to think».[i] Ambient music drew inspiration from the Musique d'ameublement of Erik Satie and John Cage's extensions of music to embrace silence, everyday sound and noise, as well as 1960's minimalism. In turn, ambient music would serve as an inspiration to later genres, such as ambient house and dark ambient, and also influenced other fields, such as theatre.[ii]