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Materiality in Sound Art

  • Asbjørn Blokkum Flø (a1)

Abstract

This article investigates the recent resurgence of kinetic sound art in light of the relationship between art and material. It does this by studying the history of mechanical musical instruments and kinetic art, the role of immateriality in the history of Western art, and the renewed focus on materiality in the arts. Materiality is key to understanding the resurgence of kinetics in sound art. The first part of this article studies the historical narratives of materiality in sound art, while the second part investigates materiality in my own works as more contemporary examples. Here the text turns to exploration of the material and acoustic properties of metal rods and plates, and suggests that direct contact with sound-producing objects provides opportunities for new art forms where the morphology of sound can be developed in dialogue with the physical objects and the surrounding space. By examining the underlying acoustic principles of rods and plates, we get a deeper understanding of the relationship between mathematical models and the actual sounding objects. Using the acoustic model with basic input parameters enables us to explore the timbral possibilities of the sound objects. This allows us to shape the spectrum of acoustic sound objects with great attention to detail, and makes models from spectromorphology relevant during the construction of the objects. The physical production of sound objects becomes both spectral composition and shaping of spatial objects. This highlights the importance of knowledge of both materials and acoustic principles, and questions the traditional perception of sound art and music as immaterial art forms.

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Materiality in Sound Art

  • Asbjørn Blokkum Flø (a1)

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