Caroline BOE | FR |




Listen to the sounds that invade us





This contribution proposes to report on personal research in musical creation, targeted towards sound ecology, and carried out on the occasion of a thesis in "Practice and Theory of Artistic Creation". Often we enjoy the sounds of nature, and we dream of listening clearly (Schafer, 2010). However, it is almost impossible today to listen to a bird sing or a drop of water fall, without the sound being parasitized by a multitude of other surrounding sounds (Hempton, 2016). Deep ecology (Naess & Rothenberg, 2009) questions the notion of silence, which sound artists of the 1950s and 70s like Cage, Ono and Neuhaus seized upon. Starting from this genealogy, artistic and theoretical work is oriented towards noise pollution and its possible composition in an imaginary landscape. In fact, composers of mixed, concrete or electroacoustic music as well as sound artists struggle to eliminate as much acoustic pollution as possible from field recordings (Mâche, 2007). This research-creation in music consists, on the contrary, in recognizing certain noise nuisances - low intensity and mainly stationary sounds - that our urban ears filter: it is a question of isolating them in order to archive them and map them on a website – –, then to take an interest in their singular substance, in a materialistic way – inspired by the noise music (Russolo, 2001). This gives these waste sounds an ontological status, and places creation in the lineage of an aesthetic of rejection (Bourriaud, 2017; Dagognet, 1997). The composition involves a posture of subjective "saying", which seeks to pass from the world of sounds to a world [said] by sounds (Barbanti in Solomos et al. 2016, 235). The utterance is thus understood here as a free imaginary articulation and comes under the idea of landscape “[Without] forgetting that the landscape is construction, composition, and therefore artifact” (Chenet-Faugeras, 1994, p. 27). The commitment joins certain activism that seeks to "strengthen environmental and social awareness" to "promote changes in social and cultural practices" (Polli, 2012). This activism is inspired by Joseph Beuys who, with the term "social sculpture", defines art as a process of thought, speech, discussion and political and environmental action. It approaches - by placing the point of observation on the opposite side - the musical posture of Barry Truax, who composes to communicate his sense of ecology (Truax & Risset, 1996). Communicate without manipulating: all the ethical and technical difficulty of the composition lies in a permanent effort of sincerity not to 1) aestheticize it so as to make it pleasant, and 2) present it in a catastrophic way. It is about striving for neutrality (Barthes, 2002), while keeping in mind that no fiction can claim neutrality (Noguez & Cage, 1987). This form of focusing the urban soundscape as music offers the opportunity to open our ears wide (Pardo Salgado, 2018).




Caroline Boë is a French sound artist and a composer. Born in 1963 in Vaucluse, she lives and works in Marseille (France). Since 2013, she has dedicated herself to sound art research-creation. Currently a doctoral artist-researcher in the PRISM laboratory (Aix-Marseille-University / CNRS), her research area concerns noise pollution, relational art and web-art. Its ecological commitment directs its work towards environmental art, sound ecology, and the polluted soundscape. She is recognized for her sound installations (at GMEM / CNCM, at the Palais de Tokyo in Paris) and for her performances for graphic scores (at the Musée des Beaux-arts in Marseille, at the Cité Radieuse Le Corbusier). Her collaboration with Tunisian artists Selma and Sofiane Ouissi for the choreographic show Laaroussa (Marseille European Capital of Culture 2013) and then meetings with musicologist Christine Esclapez and sound artist Peter Sinclair upset her vision of musical composition. This is how she oriented her research towards the soundscape. A SACEM prize for the promotion of symphonic music was awarded to her in 2016. From 1995 to 2013, she composed several contemporary live performance music (theater, choreographies, poetry-opera with Fany Tirel, Didier Berjonneau, Bruno Mallet, Christophe Boulanger and Jean-Pierre Lemesle, Régine Géraud) and has produced numerous musical installations for collective exhibitions of contemporary art.