Research & Resources
The pages of this syllabus are filled with hundreds of “Further Research” links but here are some basics to get you started…
Libraries and Archives
An amazing archive of streaming / downloadable media art, best described by its curator Kenneth Goldsmith: “But by the time you read this, UbuWeb may be gone. Cobbled together, operating on no money and an all-volunteer staff, UbuWeb has become the unlikely definitive source for all things avant-garde on the internet. Never meant to be a permanent archive, Ubu could vanish for any number of reasons: our ISP pulls the plug, our university support dries up, or we simply grow tired of it. Acquisition by a larger entity is impossible: nothing is for sale. We don’t touch money. In fact, what we host has never made money. Instead, the site is filled with the detritus and ephemera of great artists”
- NYU Bobst Avery Fisher Center
Do people still go to libraries? Bobst is like Netflix but with stuff that’s actually interesting! You can’t take their CDs and DVDs out of the library but you can spend hours listening and watching stuff that you can’t find anywhere else.
- SONM Archives
An archive of the CDs, cassettes, vinyl and books collected by sound artist and performer Francisco Lopez. (You need to register to get free streaming access)
- Her Noise
An archive that brings together women artists who use sound as a medium. Most of the content is from a 2005 exhibit in London. Be sure to check out the video interviews.
A multi-platform archive of sonic innovators. The project began as a web-based archive of the history of female, trans and non-binary artists working with the technologies of sound, now expanded to include live events.
- The London Sound Survey
A collection of creative-commons licensed field-recordings from London, organized by Ian Rawes
- Radio Aporee Maps
A flexible global sound mapping platform created by Udo Noll. It’s really easy to upload your own sounds and/or make your own customized maps.
- Locus Sonus Live Map
A live-streaming sound map from a French research group. Check out some of their other projects here.
Radio, Podcasts & Record Labels
- Framework Radio
Weekly sound art and field recording radio show (+ podcast)
- Radio MACBA
An internet radio station founded at the Museu d’Art Contemporani de Barcelona in 2006. Initially an extension the museum’s exhibitions, it has developed into a platform for sonic art programming. They produced Variations, an excellent history of sonic appropriation.
- Wave Farm (WGXC)
An upstate NY community FM station & arts organization. (Check out their Saturday schedule for the avant-garde stuff.)
- Resonance FM
A London FM station dedicated to radio art
OK it’s not really sound art, but WFMU is an amazing local freeform radio station
- Sonic Terrain
A free net.label dedicated to field recording (now transformed into Sonic Field below)
Current Sound Events & Interesting Links
- New Music World Events Calendar
A website for announcements of avant-garde music and sound art
- Everyday Listening
collects inspiring and remarkable sound art and creative sound design projects, installations, etc
- Create Digital Music
CDM is generally focused on the tools of electronic music but it’s worth a look for sound art too
It’s the place to go for net art and new media
Magazines, Criticism, Interviews & Essays
- The Wire
A UK avant-garde music magazine that covers sound art too
- Ear Room
Great interviews with contemporary sound artists
An informal space maintained by Hannah Kemp-Welch, dedicated to sound, and its creative and artistic uses
- Sounding Out
A scholarly blog that analyzes sound’s role in constructing social difference, identity & power
- Sonic Field
As the result of merging David Vélez’s “The Field Reporter” and Miguel Isaza’s “Sonic Terrain” (created along with Nathan Moody) and “infinite grain”, this site arises as a community driven, inter-disciplinary vault for research on sound in multiple angles, openly exploring arts, sciences and philosophies of the paradigm we use to call sound.
Field-Recording & Sound Experimentation Blogs
- The Music of Sound
occasional posts from a sound designer and recordist
- Sounds Like Noise
Field-recordings and thoughts by Australian artist Jay-Dea Lopez
- Mike Rooke’s Lab Blog
Thorough and adventurous DIY audio explorations
Books: Sound In Context
- Audio-Vision by Michel Chion (1994)
This book deconstructs the image/sound relationships in cinema, with one foot in the theories of Musique Concrete pioneer Pierre Schaeffer. Intended for film studies but a pretty amazing read for anybody working with sound.
- The Sound Studies Reader edited by Jonathan Sterne (2012)
This is a collection of essays that situate sound and listening in the academic context of social science, compiled by my absolute favorite public academic. (Also see Sterne’s excellent books The Audible Past and MP3: The Meaning of a Format. His prose is as generous and comprehendable as his theories are rigorous.)
- Audio Culture: Readings in Modern Music edited by Christoph Cox and Daniel Warner (2004)
This collection of essays by artists, composers and theorists traces the genealogy of the issues that surround avant-garde music (and by extension sound art).
- On Listening edited by Cathy Lane and Angus Carlyle (2013)
For this book Lane and Carlyle commissioned 40 short essays about listening from experts in fields like art, anthropology, science & activism.
- The Soundscape of Modernity by Emily Thompson (2002)
Thompson reflects on the transformation of the culture of listening as architecture and interior acoustics changed throughout the 20th century.
Books: Autobiographies, Manifestos, Interviews
- In the Field edited by Cathy Lane and Angus Carlyle (2013)
Interviews with contemporary sound artists, field-recordists, and experimental musicians. It’s an inspiring resource for understanding how other artists approach their practice and connect to others within and outside their fields.
- Pink Noises : Women On Electronic Music And Sound edited by Tara Rodgers (2010)
Interviews with women DJs, artists and musicians about their practice. It’s an extension of the now-defunct pinknoises.com, a 2000-era website dedicated to making electronic music more accessible for women and girls.
- The Soundscape by R. Murray Schafer (1977)
From the Canadian Acoustic Ecology pioneer who coined the term “soundscape”. This book changed the way people listen to natural and built environments.
- Reflections by Alvin Lucier (1995)
Interviews, scores, and writings from one of the smartest and most accessible American composers of experimental music and sound
- Silence by John Cage (1961)
Cage’s contextual framework for his music. It’s a whole revolutionary philosophy of listening… and it’s funny too!
Books: Histories of Sound Art
- Noise Water Meat by Douglas Kahn (2001)
This wide-ranging book traces the (mostly) unwritten history of sound-making and aurality as it intertwines with the dominant movements in 20th century art.
- Background Noise: Perspectives on Sound Art by Brandon LaBelle (2007)
One history of sound art, largely concerned with the relationship between sound and place. LaBelle argues that sound is a relational actor: defining and violating territories, constructing and challenging identity.
- In The Blink Of An Ear: Toward a Non-Cochlear Sonic Art by Seth Kim-Cohen (2009)
Kim-Cohen asks why writing about sound art has tended towards phenomenology. He cites the ascendancy of conceptualism in visual art decades ago and proposes a revision of the young history of sound art and a refocusing of attention on the “non-cochlear” qualities of current and future sonic practice.
Books: How To Make Things
- Handmade Electronic Music by Nic Collins (2006, 2009)
The only book that blends audio electronics tutorials with historical context and a DVD featuring examples of contemporary artists who build their own gear. Go buy it now! (this link points to the first edition. If possible try to get the newer edition from 2009)
NYC Venues & Organizations
- Experimental Intermedia
Performance space run by composer Phil Niblock
A center for digital arts, sound and music. They have workshops, performances, residencies, etc.
- Issue Project Room
A great venue for performance-based projects in music, sound, dance, and more
- The Silent Barn
A volunteer-run DIY space that books a wide variety of performance-based work
A pretty big venue that mostly books music and dance
- The Stone
An artist-run performance space for experimental music
- The Kitchen
One of NYC’s oldest non-profit spaces dedicated to multidisciplinary performance and art
A major center for art and technology, sometimes sound-related.
Residencies and Exhibition Opportunities
(This isn’t an exhaustive list. Note that some residencies aren’t available to students.)
A worldwide network of artist residencies. Get on their mailing list!
- Art Opportunities (sound art category)
A global hub for artist opportunities (open calls, residencies, etc)
- Sound And Music (Opportunities)
This UK arts organization mostly supports local composers but they have a database of arts opportunities that are often global.
A sound art residency in rural Portugal
An arts organization and residency program situated in a small town in southern Estonia (typically open to individual artists but only doing groups in 2015)
- Wikipedia’s List of Sound Art Organizations and Festivals
Other Peoples Links
- acousticecology.org has a great links page: better annotated and exhaustive than this one
- Research & Resources
- Jan 18 | Intro to Listening
- … Exercise : “Reduced Listening”
- Jan 25 | Recordering & Mics | Listening Due
- … Exercise: “Recording 101”
- Feb 01 | Contact Mics & Installations | Recordings Due
- … Performance & Project 1 Prompt
- Feb 08 | Light, Radio, Synesthesia | Editing
- Feb 15 | Circuit-Bending & Electronics
- Feb 22 | Class Performance | More Editing
- Mar 01 | Noise & Music | Analog Media
- Mar 08 | CRIT Project 1
- … Project 2 Prompt
- ! Mar 15 | No Class This Week
- Mar 22 | Soundwalks & Interventions
- Mar 29 | The Voice | Proposals Due
- Apr 05 | Acoustic Ecology & Activism
- Apr 12 | Guest Artist | Interactivity & Process
- Apr 19 | CRIT Project 2 (week 1)
- Apr 26 | CRIT Project 2 (week 2)
- May 03 | Dream House (field-trip)
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