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With one eye on: Viewing a sound installation

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In recent years, the term sound installation has been created and deployed to describe a variety of interdisciplinary artwork that, in one way or another, involves the phenomenon of sound. Sometimes, we encounter a piece of sound installation that seeks to heighten our auditory experience by removing any visual references.1 More often, we see a piece of sound installation that incorporates visual elements that may or may not have direct relationship to the sound itself. It can be listened to through headphones to create an intimate relationship with the viewer/listener. Or it can be presented in a cacophonous manner that drives some viewers/listeners away whilst appealing to others.

In any case, there is always the role of space that hosts the existence of sound. The concept of space can be seen as one of the fundamental elements within the art of sight and sound. Therefore, in this article, by reflecting upon my own practice, I will explore the concept of space within the structure of sound installation, and the interdependent relationship of elements of sight and sound by drawing upon the tradition of electro-acoustic music and installation art.
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Keywords: acousmatic; electro-acoustic; sound art; sound installation; space; the concept of space

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Goldsmiths, University of London.

Publication date: 2010-12-01

More about this publication?
  • The Soundtrack is a multi-disciplinary journal which brings together research in the area of music and sound in relation to film and other moving image media. A complex cultural, technological, industrial and artistic phenomenon, sound-with-moving image is a rich area for analysis, investigation and speculation. We encourage writing that is accessible to audiences from a diversity of intellectual backgrounds and disciplines as well as providing a forum for practitioners. The Soundtrack's aim is to nurture this new and expanding area of academic investigation in dialogue with soundtrack producers of all kinds.
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