Hostname: page-component-77c89778f8-7drxs Total loading time: 0 Render date: 2024-07-20T01:18:29.577Z Has data issue: false hasContentIssue false

Four Key Concepts for Studying Context-based Compositions

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  22 December 2017

Anette Vandsø*
School of Communication and Culture, Langelandsgade 139, build. 1580, Aarhus University, 8000 Aarhus C, Denmark


This theoretical article investigates context-based compositions where we cannot identify the real-world context from the sounds alone. Examples include Stephen Vitiello’s World Trade Center Recordings: Winds After Hurricane Floyd, Jana Winderen’s The Noisiest Guys on the Planet, Jacob Kirkegaard’s 4 Rooms, Christina Kubisch’s compositions based on observations of the Ruhr district, Anne Niemetz and Andrew Pelling’s The Dark Side of the Cell (2004) as well as Andrea Polli’s Heat and Heartbeat of the City (2004) based on weather data from New York. The article asks how these compositions establish their relation to a specific context. How do they invite the listener to include his or her knowledge of specific contexts? The article suggests four relevant terms that are useful when studying this relation between text and context: paratext, intermediality, enunciation and mediality.

© Cambridge University Press 2017 

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)



Barthes, R. 1981. Camera Lucida. Reflections on Photography. New York: Hill and Wang.Google Scholar
Barthes, R. 1994. La mort de l’auteur [1968]. In É. Marty (ed.) Oeuvres complètes, bnd. II. Paris: Éditions du Seuil.Google Scholar
Benveniste, É. 1974. Problèmes de linguistique générale, II. Paris: Gallimard.Google Scholar
Bolter, J. D. and Grusin, R. 2002. Remediation: Understanding New Media. London: MIT Press.Google Scholar
Bürger, P. [1974] 1980. Theorie der Avantgarde. Frankfurt am Main: Suhrkamp Verlag.Google Scholar
Cage, J. 2004. Silence. London: Marion Boyars.Google Scholar
Chatman, S. 1990. Coming to Terms. The Rhetoric of Narrative in Fiction and Film. London: Cornell University Press.Google Scholar
Cone, E. 1974. The Composer’s Voice. London and Los Angeles: University of California Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Danto, A. 2002. The Art of 9/11. The Nation, 5 September.Google Scholar
De Duve, T. 1996. Kant after Duchamp. London: MIT Press.Google Scholar
Eco, U. 1984. The Role of the Reader, Explorations in the Semiotics of Texts. Bloomington: Indiana University Press.Google Scholar
Genette, G. 1997. Paratexts: Thresholds of Interpretation. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Grusin, R. 2010. Premediation. Affect and Mediality after 9/11. New York: Palgrave MacMillan.Google Scholar
Iser, W. 1972. Die Appelstruktur der Texte. Unbestimmtheit als Wirkungsbedingung literarischer Prosa. In R. Warning (ed.) Rezeptionsästhetik. Theorie und Praxis. München: Wilhelm Fink Verlag.Google Scholar
Kahn, D. 2013. Earth Sound Earth Signal. Berkeley: University of California Press.Google Scholar
Kim-Cohen, S. 2009. In the Blink of an Ear. Toward a Non-cochlear Sonic Art. London and New York: Continuum.Google Scholar
Kirkegaard, J. 2006. Cover notes to 4 Rooms. Touch Music, Tone 026CD.Google Scholar
Kittler, F. 1999. Grammophone, Film, Typewriter. Berlin: Brinkmann and Bose.Google Scholar
LaBelle, B. 2007. Background Noise. Perspectives on Sound Art. London and New York: Continuum.Google Scholar
Marres., N. 2012. Material Participation: Technology, the Environment and Everyday Publics. London: Palgrave MacMillan.Google Scholar
Milutis, J. 2008. The Biography of the Sample: Notes on the Hidden Contexts of Acousmatic Art. Leonardo Music Journal 18: 7175.Google Scholar
Mitchell, W. J. T. 2005. There are No Visual Media. Journal of Visual Culture 4(2): 395406.Google Scholar
MoMA PS1 n.d. Homepage: ‘September 11’. .. (accessed 25 March 2016).Google Scholar
Niemetz, A. 2004. Singing Cells, Art, Science and the Noise in Between. Unpublished MFA thesis, UCLA Department of Design|Media Arts.Google Scholar
Nyman, M. [1974] 1999. Experimental Music: Cage and Beyond. Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
Rajewsky, I. 2005. Intermediality, Intertertextuality and Remediation: A Literary Perspective on Intermediality. Intermédialités: Historie et théorie des arts, des lettres et des techniques 6: 4364.Google Scholar
Truax, B. 2012. Sound, Listening and Place: The Aesthetic Dilemma. Organised Sound 17(3): 193201.Google Scholar
Vitiello, S. 2001. Music from the 91st floor. The Wire 213: 31.Google Scholar
Voegelin, S. 2010. Listening to Noise and Silence. Towards a Philosophy of Sound Art. London and New York: Continuum.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Wishart, T. 1996. On Sonic Art. London: Routledge.Google Scholar