[-empyre-] Tuesday, 17th: Sound Art and Its Cultural Context

Kevin deForest kevin at lux.ca
Wed Jun 18 23:12:33 EST 2014

Thanks Jim,

And sorry for the lateness of my posting.

My interest in cross-cultural difference brought me to the current glut 
of websites that gather soundmaps and field recordings around the world 
has continued the trajectory from the 1960's pioneers of acoustic 
ecology. At the same time that it provides more opportunity to share 
eccentric or personal mappings of local place, I am interested in the 
exploration of cultures outside of the sound collector's, that is in 
effect their tourist snapshots of place, a familiar exoticizing occurs.

Although the intentions of these global tourists, collectors and in some 
cases sound artists may be honorable and empathetic towards the cultures 
they are traveling in, is it possible for these projects to express and 
reflect on the complexities of Othering, and power relationships through 
the recording? And as much as the listening process can broken down into 
wavelengths, signal and noise, I think the interpretation of sound is 
importantly a culturally learned process. So does this not invite the 
same issues of exoticism, and Othering in the presentation of 
cross-cultural work? I'm also interested in how a new global 
consciousnesstowards the environment in part through the internet has 
affected the reception and status of the soundscape.

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