Mercredi 04 février 2015
Expanding the praxis and contexts of sound
Over the last Century, urban walking has been at the centre of a vast interdisciplinary literature and, in recent years, of a renewed theoretical interest that goes hand in hand with the transformations and expansion of the contemporary city. At the same time, urban walking and wandering emerged in
visual arts and literature as critical ways of engaging the urban, subverting and challenging both the traditional and official representations of the city, while crossing disciplinary boundaries and redefining the praxis and contexts of art.
Since the 1960s, urban walking became one of the possibilities of “expansion of field” (R. Krauss) also for composers, musicians and some of the artists who gave rise to sound art. They progressively came out of their studios, acting directly in the urban sphere, and created mobile listening dispositifs, events, and experiences reshaping the old topos of city wondering in the sonic domain. Therefore – from Max Neuhaus to Adrian Piper, from Michael Parsons to Dennis Oppenheim, from Hildegard Westerkamp, to Logos Duo or Willem de Ridder – a whole tradition of sound projects based on walking was progressively developed both in Europe and in the USA.
Meanwhile, in the context of the World Soundscape Project, soundwalking was introduced as an educational and aesthetic participatory practice. Nowadays, many artists coming from different disciplines (music, art, performance, dance, theatre, architecture, literature) continue to create expanded sound trajectories in urban space through performances, interventions, events, scores, installations, sound-and audio-walks, using a variety of strategies, approaches, media.
Drawing on art history, on the interdisciplinary cultural literature on mobility and city walking, on sound and mobile media studies, this seminar explores peripatetic sound art practices and the relationship between wandering, listening and producing sounds in the contemporary arts, with an emphasis on urban space. Therefore, considering walking as a way to establish a dialectical, multilayered relationship with the everyday and the urban context, we will address the expansion of music and sound art in these spheres by investigating how, since the 1960s, artists have reshaped everyday auditory practices and figures and engaged the urban in its physical, cultural, historical, social or imaginary aspects through errant sound and listening.