GEOGRAPHIES OF SOUND

Art: In Progress/ Finished

My sound walk is the exploration of sounds that visual art makes while being constructed to the sound it makes once finished. My original thought steamed from the reading Douglas Kahn’s “Noises of the Avant Garde”, wherein he discusses certain groups of the avant garde in relationship to noise pieces that were made in this movement. With a focus on these artists goals of challenging the conventional associations and meanings of noise and music. Which then made me think about a specific group within this movement- the futurist. In the futurist manifesto by F.T. Marinetti he writes about the destruction of all archaic things, specifically museums:

Museums: cemeteries!… Identical, surely, in the sinister promiscuity of so many bodies unknown to one another. Museums: public dormitories where one lies forever beside hated or unknown beings. Museums: absurd abattoirs of painters and sculptors ferociously slaughtering each other with color-blows and line-blows, the length of the fought-over walls!.. Admiring an old picture is the same as pouring our sensibility into a funerary urn instead of hurtling it far off, in violent spasms of action and creation.

Marinetti’s disgust with museums due to their lack of youthfulness or innovation. Prompted me to think about the usefulness of visual art once it is done beginning made. That then leads to a piece either being thrown away, displayed, bought, being put in a museum, etc, I then did recordings of these different steps. From a student studio in the Fisher arts building, to the barn in UBS, to a friends home studio, next a studio art class then to an art show and finally to a museum. Where based on Marinetti’s argument an art piece goes to die and further perpetuate accepted norms in visual art. It is through these recordings that I tried to capture the sonic noises of pieces and correlate those sounds to the pieces worth over time. It was hard to capture any concrete meaning from what they sounded like while being created to when they were finished but there is a very clear and stark contrast in all of the pieces in comparison to the Frances Leham Loeb Art Center the museum at Vassar College. This is the recording most devoid of sound and in many ways it supports Marinetti’s argument of museums being arts graveyard. However, this is only one museums on one day and it is a very limited sample. Ultimately, it is difficult to ascertain worth from the sonic qualities of visual artworks that do not naturally incorporate sound. Yet, I do think Marinetti does bring up a valid viewpoint and the deafness of museums in comparisons to the vibrancy of a studio class or an opening support his claim of their archaicness.

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