This has been a question for me ever since I thought to start a “blog” (I hate this word. What ever happened to journals?). I’m rather curious to find other artists working with sound (either as primary or secondary media) who are interested to discuss their work in ways that don’t revolve around self promotion, technical wizardry or circular references to this or that “scene”. While promotion is needed to sustain some level of public activity it need not be the sole reason for one’s presence on the web. If you produce content of some value, then there must be something you can say about it. I’m sorry to say but hype will eat itself in ways faster than consumers will chew up and spit out your music if it gets thrown into the refuse bins of fads or lifestyle trends. That’s fine for some who like to rise as fast as they can fall. As for others, the ones who consider it and art form (why call it sound “art” then?), its something that sustains meaning, creative activity and maybe even a way of life. For these people, I’m sure they would like to see this form of expression grow in depth, diversity and richness of expression and not just popularity.
So what then is my concern or what am I advocating? As stated in the intro of my essay Before and After Silence, sound art is not so much a genre or style of music so much as it is a practice, a means to give form to tangible reality through sound. In the long run, this practice gives shape or form to the “noise” of life whether you see it as harmonic or not. And for some it it even a mode for connecting or relating to others. This I know because of the people near and far from me who make up the widespread network of artists working directly with sound or listeners who find pleasure in listening to what I create (mostly through compositions for CD). But as many “sound artists” know, it can still be a lonely road, no matter how many albums you publish, exhibitions you have, festivals you perform at or tours you make. It is from this somewhat healthy culture of sound activity I hope to see a parallel culture of dialogue and discussion develop, both formally and informally.
I have found a few good blogs around, some are linked here on the right column. While I understand “sound art” may not be the subject of daily attention, I still would be curious to see occasional postings of stories about recording adventures, studio sessions and artist meetings. On the technical and conceptual side there should be plenty to write about on constructed instruments or installation ideas, composition methods, or recording techniques. If you happen to trade or buy CDs, it never hurts to offer your own constructive reviews or comments on a fellow artists work.
For those who don’t know, the winters in Estonia are long, cold and quiet. When things warm up its time to run around outside, not hang on the net. With that said I hope to keep things up when times are more busy in the spring and summer. But if these ideas are inspiring to you, please feel free to contact me or leave a comment.
One thought on “sound, artists and words?”
hi, thanks for the visit and link to airforms. i really like your blog. you bring up some nice things here, particularly this idea that for most people a blog (yes, i hate that word as well) has simply become one more promotional tool. the things you mention (particularly long winters!) gets at the root as to why i also finally succombed to the temptation of starting one… simply there are too many good things in the world that i would like to share beyond everyone that can make it over to the house. i purposely have almost nothing about my own work or events on the blog so that it is not “blogger-centric” (plus i have a website for that) but is simply a place people might visit who share some similar and some not so similar interests and inspirations. i appreciate as well what you are doing, because you are trying to generate dialogue through your own activities rather than simply promote them. i have to say i think your and seth’s reactions to brandon labelle’s book is interesting (i haven’t read it yet). perhaps we’ve seen too much importance placed on things that shouldn’t warrant so much attention – and i find it interesting that people are talking about the significance of contact mics and no one mentioning mini disc, guitar pedals, computer software, etc. we choose tools for so many reasons, and indeed sometimes they are the wrong tool technically but the right tool for the poetic inspiration that fuels our fires – but i deny the idea that these things have a general significance for all who use them. i too have terrible problems with feedback using contact mics live, but i love how incredibly focused those difficulties make my performances. indeed they are the wrong tool in terms of ease and fidelity, but the right tool to force my work into the place i want it to go, and their limited response forces me to keep finding new ways of using them. it has absolutely nothing to do with capturing inner or outter sounds or catching the room and the thing or only the thing or only the room… i don’t subscribe to the notion that there are general umbrellas you can place over folks who use certain tools – we’re all humans making decisions based on the art we want to make and how we want to make it. those of us who are serious about these decisions make them from extremely personal places. i’m sure you and i and seth could sit down with a contact mic or two and have very different things to say about what they do or don’t give us. general statements about their use towards some kind of ideological text trajectory is of little interest. it’s the same with what you say about “sound art” and it’s why i tend not to use the term to describe what i do – it’s a practice, and an interest… and mainly sound is a tool or a vehicle, like painting, sculpture, film, etc. it is not a style or a school… i wrote this text last year for a large sound show in long beach that if you wan to read more ranting, you might look at here… ok, too much comment i’m sure!!!!….. sorry for the babble… and thanks for the beautiful haystack photo!!!!!!!!!!!!!