Journal of Sonic Studies
Sound Art: Klang als Medium der Kunst
On the 15th and 16th of December, 2012, the editors of the Journal of Sonic Studies visited the exhibition “Sound Art: Klang als medium der Kunst” in the Zentrum für Kunst und Medientechnologie (ZKM) in Karlsruhe. During and afterwards, they discussed the exhibition and four of its sound installations. This resulted in the variety of perspectives published in this article. The article is presented as a space through which the listener/reader/viewer must navigate. You enter a digital space – or a small exhibition – in which each editor reflects on the exhibition as a whole: Vincent Meelberg discusses sound art from the perspective of interactivity; Sharon Stewart presents four different approaches towards the installations, yet at the same time creates her own para-exhibition as recording-performer pursuing the fleeting nature of sound; Marcel Cobussen reflects upon the omnipresence of sound and the importance of listening; Jan Nieuwenhuis deconstructs the Dutch word “tentoonstelling” (“exhibition” in English) in order to rethink the visual paradigm of the museum and allow sound into its space.
After you have listened and read your way through the “entrance hall”, four different sound-spaces remain to be discovered. You can open the door and enter the room by clicking on the images of the sound installations. There, we – the editors – present our perspectives on the installations. Firstly (or lastly, if you prefer) Roberto Pugliese’s Equilibrium is grappled with; then Bernard Leitner’s Pulsierende Stille is absorbed; subsequently you can settle down in the Klangdom; and lastly (or firstly) listen in on Anselm Venezian Nehls’ and Tarik Barri’s #tweetspace.
Editorial: One Month in the Life of the JSS Editors
All JSS issues up to now, perhaps with the exception of JSS1, have been special ones, dealing with a specific theme: listening, television sounds, sonic epistemologies. (The upcoming JSS6 will be devoted to sound design, by the way.) JSS5 is special in another way: seldom will an issue of a journal be filled completely by texts and A/V materials composed by the editors of that journal themselves. Editors typically provide an opportunity to others to present their work, their experiences, their thoughts, their research, their findings; this time, however, the JSS editors use their own journal as a platform to display some of their own reflections on sound studies and sound art. Shameless self-promotion or healthy pragmatism? The most important reason is that we think that the two items presented in this issue – a report of an expert meeting on auditory culture and a handful of mini-essays inspired by a sound art exhibition – might interest our readers: the first because it features efforts to transgress scientific and academic barriers in and through sound studies, the second because it presents a new way to write around sound art.
Breaching Sonic Barriers? Sound Studies as a Transdiscipline
According to Bernie Krause snow creates a distinct acoustic environment, one that is as capricious in range as are the conditions under which snow occurs (Krause 2012, 47). Just as the acoustic characteristics of snow are heterogeneous and variable, so are its semantics and the psychoacoustic level on which its sounds can be described. When we woke up on the morning of December 7, 2012, we were not very happy with the view of an immaculately white urban landscape nor with its accompanying specific, dampened, snowy silence. On that date we, the editors of the Journal of Sonic Studies (JSS), were supposed to host some 25 Dutch sound experts in the center for contemporary art in Leiden, Scheltema, and snow would imply that some of them would not be able to make it to Leiden due to train cancellations.