Two glimpses of the Sydney Biennial 2008, courtesy of Dan Hill‘s excellent cityofsound.com. A characteristic multi-speaker, immersive environment, titled The Murder of Crows, by longtime collaborators Janet Cardiff and George Bures Miller:
More on the Cardiff/Miller piece at the Sydney Biennial site, bos2008.com, and at seesawtheory.wordpress.com. (Probably the best known Cardiff/Miller work, 40 Part Motet, is on view at the Tacoma Art Museum in Tacoma, Washington, through today, September 7, 2008: tacomaartmuseum.org.)
And also at Hill’s site, shots of Sydney Biennial reconstructions of Luigo Russolo’s Intonarumori (1914).
The following photo, borrowed from the Biennial site, is the classic shot of Russolo’s original horns-o-plenty installation:
More on Russolo, author of futurist classic The Art of Noises, at bos2008.com. I can’t seem to locate who constructed the reproductions.
The Cardiff/Miller and Russolo works are separated in time by nearly a century. Their close proximity on a Sydney pier emphasizes the continuity of speaker cones as a, if not the, fundamental sculptural touchstone of sound art. Speakers are, in effect, to sound art what the “Funky Drummer” sample was, for a while, to hip-hop and what the “amen break” remains to drum’n’bass and jungle: a near-ubiquitous focal point, a category-defining object to which artists apply their ingenuity.