AHIS G8698 Problems in Contemporary Art: Sound

B. Joseph

Recent years have seen a surge in interest in the acoustic dimension of modern and contemporary artistic practices.  Critical, artistic, and academic genres such as “Sound Art,” “Audio Culture,” and “Sound Studies”—which seek to ground and legitimize acoustic practices within the institutions of university and museum—have just as often come with inflated theoretical and rhetorical claims about both the historical denigration of the acoustic and its “subversive” or “revolutionary” potential.  Drawing upon a range of canonic and, especially, recent literature devoted to sound, this seminar will attempt to assess and interrogate the critical, political, theoretical, and intellectual stakes surrounding its contemporary study.  Research topics will address the acoustic dimension of the “visual” arts (particularly in the period post-WWII) as well as the larger questions around conducting significant interdisciplinary scholarly writing.  (Guest lecture by musician and scholar David Grubbs.)