We generally assume art to be an engagement with the visual. How does our experience and understanding change when our engagement is primarily through our ears? This arts workshop investigates sound as it comes into play in contemporary visual art practice, installation art, experimental music, and various confluences of these. We will study historical examples of early recording technologies, and explore experimental sound works that provide the intellectual and conceptual antecedents for sound art today. We will also think analytically and historically about the concepts of “noise” and “silence.” Students will explore the potential of sound as an artistic medium by creating sound-based works as well as studying the work of other artists (John Cage, Pierre Schaeffer, Max Neuhaus, Pauline Oliveros and Iannis Xenakis are some historical touchpoints; Marina Rosenfeld, Christian Marclay, Steven Vitiello, Christina Kubisch, and Susan Philipsz are some contemporary examples). This is not a music or composition class, and the emphasis of this class falls strongly on expanding conceptual skills rather than on technical development. Although experience editing sound is helpful, it is not required. Production assignments are assigned in tandem with with readings of contemporary and historical writing, critical essays and artist’s statements. There will be a strong emphasis placed on discussion, group critique, and student presentations. Guest speakers are a regular part of the course and include artists, curators/critics, and producers of sound who engage the subject from a variety of viewpoints. Ultimately, students in this course will arrive at an enhanced experience of listening such that their knowledge, awareness, and creative engagement with sound is significantly altered.
Arts Workshops (ARTS-UG)