By Douglas Kahn
This interdisciplinary heritage and conception of sound within the arts reads the 20th century by means of hearing it—to the emphatic and unparalleled sounds of modernism and people at the cusp of postmodernism, recorded sound, noise, silence, the fluid sounds of immersion and dripping, and the beef voices of viruses, screams, and bestial cries. targeting Europe within the first 1/2 the century and the USA within the postwar years, Douglas Kahn explores aural actions in literature, track, visible arts, theater, and picture. putting aurality on the middle of the heritage of the humanities, he revisits key creative questions, hearing the sounds that drown out the politics and poetics that generated them. Artists mentioned comprise Antonin Artaud, George Brecht, William Burroughs, John Cage, Sergei Eisenstein, Fluxus, Allan Kaprow, Michael McClure, Yoko Ono, Jackson Pollock, Luigi Russolo, and Dziga Vertov
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Additional resources for Noise, water, meat : a history of voice, sound, and aurality in the arts
Huelsenbeck’s endorsement of this list was telling, for it included the things known as women in close proximity to urinals, no less. Furthermore, everything on the list was a domestic item, or when they were public, they were kept for the use of men out of sight. He went on to state that things took on an independent life of their own, left their unexceptional habitat of domestic space, to march off into the exceptional event and public province of men—war: “The highest expression of the conflict of things, as a spontaneous eruption of possibilities, as movement, as a simultaneous poem, as a symphony of cries, shots, commands, embodying an attempted solution of the problem of life in motion.
Visual noise can be interpolated similarly. The easiest way to think about it is through that well-known optical illusion that switches ´ back and forth between a duck and a rabbit. Dalı established the visual punning in so many of his paintings on the basis of such oscillation—as in The Metamorphosis of Narcissus (1937), where the image of Narcissus resting his head on his knee at the edge of a pond becomes a stone hand holding an egg hatching a flower. Instead of presuming a range if not an infinity of ´ possibilities culled from a field of noise, Dalı’s paranoiac-critical method limited its attention to one proper oscillation, lodging the unconscious in the atemporality of painting, a frozen moment within an ongoing state of ´ noise and process of interpolation.
Would a returning gaze situate him at the point from where he saw? This would be the true test of love, since such agency would break the silence of the beloved, although no word or sound need occur, and she would no longer fall within the sentient experience of objects. It would be possible to test this with Benjamin’s life of love and his well-known obsessions and determine what might be required to interrupt his experience, whether the strength of a returned love or just simple agency would introduce too much information into his graphological gaze.
Noise, water, meat : a history of voice, sound, and aurality in the arts by Douglas Kahn