Monday, January 12, 2015

end-of-year-ism and the 'best' of 2014 with PC

Musings with PC on endofyearism and the best of 2014 over at Far Side Virtual #pbs


Review: Liquid Architecture 15

The 15th edition of ‘Liquid Architecture’, Australia’s annual festival of sound art, took place between August and October 2014, with more than 50 artists performing across a range of venues in Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane, Perth and, for the first time ever, Singapore. Evidently, this was a year for growth and diversification, because in addition to extending the festival’s geographical reach, newly appointed curators Joel Stern and Danni Zuvela adopted a far more expansive take on the sonic arts than in previous years. Following recent debates about the place of sound in the field of contemporary art – and especially since New York’s Museum of Modern Art’s much discussed ‘Soundings’ (2013) and the subsequent publication of author and critic Seth Kim-Cohen’s controversial polemic Against Ambience (2013) – the gesture felt timely.

At stake in these debates is nothing less than the ontology of sound. On one side, the likes of philosopher Christopher Cox argue for sound’s objectivity. Sound is as an ‘asignifying material flux’: a force, a flow, an energy. On the other, Kim-Cohen and others argue for a sound art that celebrates and plays with what they take to be sound’s necessary social-embeddedness. Stern and Zuvela’s curatorial theme, ‘The Ear is a Brain’, offered something of a middle way. ‘There’s a position between “sound in itself” and “non-cochlear” approaches,’ they claimed in the curatorial statement, ‘that is not uninterested in what it sounds like, just more interested in what its effects are, what the forces are that produce it. This position hears, but also reads sound.’ This approach came through very clearly in the festival’s programming ...

For the full piece, purchase a copy of Issue 168 of Frieze or if you're a subscriber log in to their online archive. Otherwise, click here. Or head here for the/a director's cut, with a word or two about the reading groups and in particular Peter Szendy's concept of "critical listening".