The Status of Sound: Writing Histories of Sonic Art
CALL FOR PAPERS / Due August 15, 2012
Notification: September 1, 2012
Is “sound art” defined more by the medium of sound or the context of art? It is with this deceptively simple question that we invite papers for The Status of Sound: Writing Histories of Sonic Art, an interdisciplinary conference on sound art and experimental music to be hosted at the Graduate Center, City University of New York on Friday, November 30, 2012, with Dr. Christoph Cox, Hampshire College, serving as the moderator for a roundtable of eminent scholars, composers, and artists.
While the term “sound art” only came into being in the 1980s, sound in the visual arts has a far longer history, ranging from Modernist experiments with synesthesia to the avant-garde exploits of Dada and Futurism. Sound art also has a distinctly musical heritage, emerging from the compositional experiments of John Cage, Tony Conrad, La Monte Young, Maryanne Amacher, and Pauline Oliveros, among others. Rather than attempting to link “sound art” to a particular history, how can one frame a history that is informed by both experiments in art and sound together? The aim of this conference is to use historical and contemporary instances of sound in the visual arts to consider new theoretical and methodological models for writing histories of sonic art.
– How do we define “sound art”? What are its parameters and boundaries?
– What is the difference between sound art and music, or is that difference simply determined by context?
– How does sound as medium challenge or change the visual basis of art history? What does the sonic provide in opposition to the visual? How does it relate to the audience/viewer?
– Are the existing frameworks of synesthesia and phenomenology merely a way for pictorial and sculptural conventions to be applied to sound as medium? Are these frameworks still tenable, or do new approaches need to be conceived?
– What modes of exhibition are appropriate for sound art works, and how can one address the contextual problems that arise when curating audio?
– How does sound pressure disciplinary boundaries, and how might this be productive?
Papers that probe interdisciplinary explorations of sound and music in the arts; theoretical frameworks for sound art (such as phenomenological, perceptual and gestalt theories); and historical moments in avant-garde audio culture are also welcome.
To submit a proposal, please send an abstract of approx. 300 words, a CV, and complete contact information to firstname.lastname@example.org by August 15, 2012.
This program is supported in part by the John Rewald Endowment of the Ph.D. Program in Art History.