Soundings: A Contemporary Score
Barbara London and Anne Hilde Neset
Soundings: A Contemporary Score investigates the ways in which some of the most innovative contemporary artists are working with sound today. These artists approach sound from a variety of disciplinary angles – visual arts, architecture, performance, computer programming and music – yet they share an interest in working with, rather than against or independent of, material realities. Their responses include architectural interventions, visualizations of otherwise inaudible sound, explorations of how sound ricochets within a gallery, and a range of field recordings – of bats, abandoned buildings in Chernobyl, fifty-nine bells in New York City and a factory in Korea. The diversity of these works echoes the complexities of the contested field of ‘sound art’, but together they posit something specific: that sound can elicit – from both the maker and the audience – modes of active, focused listening and a heightened relationship between interior and exterior space. At a time when headphones have become ubiquitous and thus our soundtracks more individuated, shared and dynamic aural spaces are increasingly rare. The artists here aim to create such social realities, immersing listeners in sound and connecting them in space. Many of these works draw links between disparate topographies and subjects, giving rise to new notions of place, time and experience.