One hundred years ago, in March 1913, Luigi Russolo in his emphatic manifesto “L’arte dei rumori” called for the expansion of discourse surrounding the acoustic arts. As a result of the emphatic gesture with which Russolo elevated noise into the realm of music, it is often forgotten that as early as the 17th century Orlando Gibbons had walked the streets of London with open ears and used everyday sounds as composition material in his “Cries of London”. Evidently, a quick glance at cultural history illustrates how art’s interest in the acoustic, the immaterial and the atmospheric is cyclical and comes in waves.
High profile events like documenta 13, the 2013 Venice Biennale, academic research projects and conferences as well as an overwhelming number of acoustic art projects signify that interest has returned and returned with vigor. Fundamental to an acoustic experience is the artistic deployment of voice, language, speech, motion, sound, noise and music. This progression seems logical, since the ear is often a passage for unfiltered acoustic and spatial information to arrive at the deeper layers of the conscious, of memories, feelings and in essence – at the physical centre of orientation. With sound, you can detect, narrate and visualize things immediately. Through research in people’s experiences of sound, private history can easily be linked with the history of their own time, since sound stores emotions and memory. The voice, or the “earthly fingerprint of man” according to Rudolf Arnheim, positions the body in a space - even when the stage, the room of installation, the public place is otherwise empty
of people. It is then possible to infer that it is the tension between the transience of the present and the insistence of memory that moves us so closely when confronted with auditory artworks. While listening we are met with past experiences and at the same time creating new ones. Many artists engage with the acoustic for this precise reason, to allow their works the possibility of creating experiences that draw attention to the moment in time - to create a closer connection between statement and reception. In this context, where do we then place radio art? Radio is a medium in flux, malleable and ever changing. For the past 80 years it has specialized in artistic, documentarian and direct acoustic representations of the world. Mobility, openness and the chance to reach a vast audience has drawn artists to the radio since its beginnings. These qualities recall a specification that Richard Kostellanetz - with regards to John Cage - described as “polyartistic”. How the Hörspiel, a polyartistic medium of Radio’s own creation, offers the other art forms a field of play, is one of the themes of this symposium. The question is also raised how the other arts - literature, theatre, visual arts, new music, opera - approach the acoustic. Choreography Of Sound intends to put the Hörspiel in context with other art forms. In this meeting of multiple disciplines the aesthetic possibilities of the acoustic can be explored and new developments identified. Hörspiel practitioners meet sound-poets, theoreticians, dramaturges, authors, composers and performance artists whose work crosses the traditional borders of genre. We will explore and question what role sound, noise, language, rhythm and music has in their thinking and in their work. How do new technological platforms influence narration and reception? We also investigate what lies between the extreme positions of documentary-sensitive field recording and aggressive Marketing
Leisure Sound, the latter operating with the same knowledge and means as art. Are communications and interactions initiated by art increasingly directed towards a networked international audience or is there – in both directions – a movement back to unique, analog and auratic experiences, as shown in recent art projects? Are these even positions? Historically, haven't stored and mechanically reproduced works of art developed their own value system and aura of the medium, as noted by early media-theoreticians from Kurt Weill to Rudolf Arnheim? To begin this meeting of the Arts, we will examine media and its many histories. Then the stage belongs to performative wordart and a playful meeting with the artists in “Get In Touch”. The Hörspiel and its many narrative facets shape the end of the day. After this introduction we will examine the productive tension that vibrates between visual arts and the acoustic. We will get to know pioneers of sound, talk about music and how it can be found in Renaissance and Baroque painting and then look to choreographic works where the body acts as rhythmic narrator. Sound in public space will conclude the symposium’s discussions. We will present alternative perspectives to this phenomenon that is all too often thought of as simply a disturbance. Investigations of sound, sound design and other sound phenomenon will come into contact with each other. In the words of Iain Sinclair, explorer of urban spaces: We need to listen more carefully.
Gaby Hartel und Marie-Luise Goerke