[-empyre-] Thursday, 19th: Sound Art, Technology and Innovation

Christoph Cox ccox at hampshire.edu
Fri Jun 20 03:51:01 EST 2014

Of course discussions of technology (the "how") can be valuable (as I 
noted). I simply object to it as a substitution for critical and 
historical analysis and/or aesthetic value.

Not sure what "pseudo-philosophical 'international art-speak' waffle" 
refers to. There's dumb and obfuscating critical discourse, surely; but 
conceptual, philosophical, critical analysis of any art form is crucial. 
And there's precious little of it in the sound domain (compared, e.g., 
to the visual arts, architecture, etc.)

On 6/19/14, 6:36 AM, Semitransgenic wrote:
> ----------empyre- soft-skinned space----------------------
> On the point of grants and innovation for innovation’s sake, take an 
> academic department that is trying to create time and space for 
> creative practitioners doing their thing at doctorate and 
> post-doctorate level, it needs to somehow legitimise its activities in 
> a context that can be understood by people in suits who control 
> cash-flow. For instance, if you are at a Russell group university, and 
> there is unending rhetoric about striving for “excellence,” it’s 
> simply very difficult to justify spending money on “research” (much of 
> which is essentially people noodling with art/music & technology) if 
> it doesn't appear to be “innovative.” It’s a game, a veneer, and it 
> doesn't just apply to academia, prospective funding bodies of one kind 
> or another can more easily be convinced of a project's merits if the 
> proposal is spun as “new and innovate” but it is unfortunate that too 
> much money seems to go to work that is often little more than 
> yawn-worthy (novelty does not guarantee quality).  I’m not sure how 
> this will change because the technocratic imperative (and the 
> influence of trends within the “creative industries”) that forms part 
> of the rationalisation process of determining where the money goes, 
> means that certain hoops will have to be jumped through, hence the 
> need to big-up the “innovation” component.
> I also see a couple of commentators here stating that they switch off 
> when discussion turns to technology (the “how” instead of the “why”). 
> This is short-sighted really, it’s not an either or situation, it’s 
> possible to maintain a healthy balance. One can be engaged in 
> technologically mediated creative practice and still enjoy the "how” 
> while not letting this aspect of things dictate the value of a work. 
>  Having said that, I find all this pseudo-philosophical "international 
> art-speak" waffle tiring; so many emperors, so many new clothes, 
> seriously, enough already. I’m not adverse to conceptual art but we 
> have reached overkill with this stuff, and I’m loath to see 
> sound/sonic/audio arts adopting this jargon in an effort to validate 
> itself.
> There are so many artists out there now working with sound, it seems 
> like everyone is a “sound artist” these days, it kind of reminds of 
> the explosion in DJ culture that we saw back in the mid-90s (overnight 
> everyone was a DJ, all they needed was a set of CDJs and an auto-sync 
> button, now it’s a Zoom H4 and some artspeak).
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