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Listening to art. Playing with audio. Sounding out technology. Composing in code. Rewinding the soundscape.

The Sound (and Sound Application) of Video Art (MP3)

Peter Campus and Douglas Gordon in conversation

The Tate Modern’s interview featuring artists Peter Campus and Douglas Gordon, as moderated by former Whitney Museum of American Art director David A. Ross, is focused on their video work, but it serves wider-ranging consideration and application (MP3). As Ross says early on, it’s almost unseemly to simply refer to them simply as video artists, because to do so seems to unintentionally but firmly subjugate their work as some sort of subset, or offshoot, instead of as artworks whose elected medium was simply defined by the projects they desired to implement, the questions they wished to probe. This is a situation not unlike that of “sound art” — it often seems like “sound arts” is a more applicable term, much as feminists rightly speak of “feminisms” lest they unintentionally feed the impression of a unified collective point of view, or better yet of “sound in art.”

[audio:http://static.tate.org.uk/1/onlineevents/podcast/mp3/2008_04_17DouglasGordon.mp3|titles=”Tate Modern Discussion”|artists=Peter Campus and Douglas Gordon]

In any case, the Tate interview, which dates from April 2008 but only recently popped up in the museum’s RSS feed, is quite thought-provoking, especially Campus’ depiction of early interactive work, and Gordon’s thoughts on matters of slowing down pre-existing media (this is the artist who created 24 Hour Psycho). And those listeners hoping for a touch of the purely sonic will appreciate a moment when Gordon aims to characterize the sound of Campus’ studio, the sound inside Campus’ head; he does this by intoning a wordless hum that he modulates incrementally up and down.

Track originally posted for download at tate.org.uk. (Image up top of 24 Hour Psycho from cbc.ca.)

By Marc Weidenbaum

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  • about

  • Marc Weidenbaum founded the website Disquiet.com in 1996 at the intersection of sound, art, and technology, and since 2012 has moderated the Disquiet Junto, an active online community of weekly music/sonic projects. He has written for Nature, Boing Boing, The Wire, Pitchfork, and NewMusicBox, among other periodicals. He is the author of the 33 1⁄3 book on Aphex Twin’s classic album Selected Ambient Works Volume II. Read more about his sonic consultancy, teaching, sound art, and work in film, comics, and other media

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  • My book on Aphex Twin's landmark 1994 album, Selected Ambient Works Vol. II, was published as part of the 33 1/3 series, an imprint of Bloomsbury. It has been translated into Japanese (2019) and Spanish (2018).

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