Making Waves: Creating Interesting Listening Opportunities, or the Sound of Art

By Edward Breitweiser, School of the Art Institute of Chicago

Since the beginning of the 20th century, sound has emerged as a viable and fruitful resource for the creation of works of art. More recent trends in multimedia and cross-disciplinary art practices, not to mention constant developments in arts and media technology, have positioned sound as a medium unto itself as well as an engaging tool for the creation of multimedia works. Central to the fertility of sound as an artistic material is its ubiquity and multifaceted forms in everyday life; appropriately, difficulties often arise when trying to discuss sound art as a unified field of work, given the often disparate methodologies and interests of its various practitioners. In this presentation, I will provide a survey of a number of my recent projects involving the creative application of sound; from these projects, I will illustrate my personal artistic ambitions while simultaneously highlighting various issues (specifically regarding technology, documentation, and so-called "medium specificity") that are integral to a discussion of contemporary sound art practices. I hope to present the creation of interesting listening experiences as a captivating array of diverse artistic practices, simultaneously situated at the vanguard of cultural expression, from the personal to the social, the primitive to the high-tech, and the ephemeral to the eternal. This presentation will include excerpts from audio and video documents.