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Between Bodies and Data: Modalities of Participation in Sound Art

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Audience participation, engaging the listeners into the sound-making process is a strong thread running through much of sound art practice. Being an inherently relational phenomenon, sound invites the listeners to a dialog of sorts, both with the artwork and with other listeners. However, this process is far from homogenous. Both the technologies, employed by the artist and the structure of the artwork determine the way participation is carried out in each particular case and the extent and character of influence the participants’ action have on sonic result. In my paper, I will discuss the range of affordances – or even “ïnterfaces” – for participation that a sound art works may have. At the one end of this spectrum lie the classic sound sculptures of e.g. Baschet brothers – musical instruments meant for the audience to play. These invite a visceral engagement, emphasizing the corporeality of both listening and sound-making activity. At the other end, lie artworks that sonify digitally collected social data – like e.g. #tweetscapes by Anselm Venezian Nehls and Tarik Barri, which translated the activities of German Twitter segment into audiovisual experience. #tweetscapes takes the bodies out of the equation, working instead with the disembodied – and in a way depersonalized – streams of data, nevertheless generated by the participants. Finally, a middle ground can be found in the augmented reality approaches – like those of Kaffe Matthews Sonic Bike rides or Benoit Maubrey’s Speaker Sculptures – that tie the physical space with the virtual one, allowing for transcending of both bodily limitations and the ephemerality of the digital. Drawing on these examples, I will attempt to build a paradigm for participatory processes, characteristic of sound art.
Original languageEnglish
Publication year6 Jul 2017
Publication statusPublished - 6 Jul 2017
EventMusic/Sonic Art: Practices and Theories - Karlsruhe Institut für Musikwissenschaft und Musikinformatik, Karlsruhe, Germany
Duration: 6 Jul 20179 Jul 2017
Conference number: 8
http://zilmusic.com/musa2017/

Conference

ConferenceMusic/Sonic Art
Number8
LocationKarlsruhe Institut für Musikwissenschaft und Musikinformatik
CountryGermany
CityKarlsruhe
Period06/07/201709/07/2017
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