Sound Art – Art which uses sound as both its medium (what it is made out of) and subject (what it is about).
Sound art has undergone a transformation since the introduction of digital technology, and one theme that unites the contemporary understanding of field recording is listening and how listening can be successfully transmitted. Doing some research into the practice of recording sound, specifically field recording and sounds in digital and analogue art forms many artists and individuals appear. Everyone in this art form has different takes of the artistic practice of sound which is definitely seen through their work.
The artist Ludwig Koch’s body of work ‘Common Sharma’ where the work was the first documented human recording, This lead to his body of work concerning sonic recordings of ‘place’ becoming formally known as field recording.
The Museum of Contemporary Arts of Australia has an exhibit featuring artists who have explored the medium of sound through art practices like multi-media art, sculpture, experimental and new music, performance, sound poetry and sound design. These artworks work to challenge the audiences preconceived notions of what sound actually.
“Current practitioners concern themselves with the subjective position of the listener. What started as an interest in representing the exotic has matured into an art practice that concerns itself with the phenomena of listening.”
A few artists that interested me instantly with their sound artwork installations and projects included Densil Cabrera and Robert Britton with ‘Pipes and Bells’ and Nigel Helyer with ‘Oracle’.
Densil Cabrera and Robert Britton’s work ‘Pipes and Bells’ is an electroacoustic sound installation where pipes were used as resonators for low-frequency loudspeakers. Pre-recorded sounds were fed into the pipes and steel sheets as they hung from the ceiling and created a sound consisting of extremely deep bass to create a deep but quiet presence.
Nigel Helyer works with multi channelled audio and video components, timber, audiovisual electronics, low-frequency audio drives to create a dynamic experience for the audience. This idea is quite intriguing and is something that would be interesting to look further into.
Overall I think that exploring the artistic practice medium of sound would be intriguing, and would allow me to explore something that I haven’t necessarily explored in depth before. Researching artists and individuals related to the practice have made me excited to play around with the medium and its structure and traditions.