Christof Migone – Sonic Somatic: Performances of the Unsound Body


Errant Bodies Press, ISBN-13: 978-0982743942, 298 pages, 2012, English

The theory of sound art often finds its references in the realm of music. But there are other possibilities: concepts, or references to literature, theatre, cinema, or any other field of culture/knowledge. Sound art in a way qualifies itself to use sound as a medium to make art, but there is no compulsion to conceptually equate sound with music in all situations. In this book Migone writes about sound art in a double role: both as an artist and a theoretician. The composition of the four chapters (three consecutive words whose first is always sound) legibly defines the boundaries of his discourse. For example the first chapter on “unsound” gives us headings such as: Soundmutesilence, the symbolic performances analyzed in Soundbodymouth; Soundtimeslanguage, which looks at the pivotal role played by language; and Soundspacebeyond, which considers different types of spaces/places. This is a prolific study, supplemented by a good number of exemplary (and sometimes lesser known) works. The author also deals with archetypes like Lucier’s I Am Sitting in a Room, or Satie’s Vexations and Cage’s 4’33”, but he uses them to engage and constantly interweave in wider territories. The aural perspective of many performative pieces and having the countless expressions of the body as a focal reference, guides the reader in a conceptual trip full of new perspectives (including discovering plenty of artworks), hinting at further original explorations.