Tag Archives: John Cage

Why Listen to Museums?

This is the text of a talk I gave during the Soundscapes Late event at the National Gallery in London on 4 September, 2015. You can also download and listen to a recording of the talk on my SoundCloud page. Continue reading

Towards a Methodology for a Museological Approach to Sound Curation: Defining the Acoustic Object

In working towards the establishment of a sound museum, it becomes essential to define what such an institution must collect, as the collection of objects has historically been viewed as essential to the mission of museums (Wittlin 1949, Macdonald 2011). While this notion has been gradually evolving to embrace intangible culture (Conn 2009, Gurian 2006), and work is developing related to the curation of sound in a museum context (Lobley 2015), I feel it is useful in the long term to propose an object-based methodology for sound curation centring around what I refer to as the acoustic object.
Continue reading

Mapping the Sounds of Collections: Listening to Museums and Archives

This essay was commissioned by Meri Kytö and originally published in the World Forum for Acoustic Ecology News Quarterly’s Research and Projects column (v.11 n.1, Jan-Mar 2014).

Museums, although thought of as silent spaces, can be surprisingly noisy when listened to attentively. A large portion of my practice as an artist involves listening to museums, where the sonic collisions between present and past create what I have previously referred to as the active sounds of history (Kannenberg 2012, 8). While I am not suggesting we can listen to the past directly by looking at objects, I believe that contemporary sounds in museum spaces are experientially charged and transformed by their physical contact with the tangible cultural heritage of the past. This transformation is in part reliant upon the accepted authenticity of museum objects: Continue reading

Chaos

Sitting in a busy cafe, I am surrounded by sonic chaos: the grinding hiss of an espresso machine, the relentless chug of techno music on the sound system, the clinking of silverware, the thick walls of conversations vying for prominence within the din. The usual rules of sonic navigation no longer apply — Continue reading

We Specifically Need More Ambiguity

Within its porous borders, the ambiguous contains a tremendous power to enable mystery and wonder. Within the indecisiveness of ambiguity lies the opportunity for equal-footed communication between artist and audience. As borders between disciplines become increasingly blurry, so the work produced using these hybrid methods may benefit from an inherent lack of specificity as well. Continue reading