Edited by Caleb Kelly – Sound

Edited by Caleb Kelly

Whitechapel Gallery, ISBN-13: 9780854881871, 240 pages, 2011, English
There seems to be a kind of sub-genre in sound art books: the anthology of historical texts. Perhaps because sound art is still a hybrid which lacks a well defined and acknowledged identity, this attitude towards compiling selections of important texts from renowned artists and musicians seems quite peculiar. Somehow it feels like a huge effort to be exhaustive and consistent, as with a comprehensive CD box collection that tries summarize a whole genre concept or time period in a limited space. That said, the selection made by famous sound art critic Caleb Kelly is definitively worthy and includes contributions from philosophers, curators and scholars. The unavoidability and physicality of sound emerges overbearingly through the texts, as well as plenty of fascinating perspectives on the simple yet multifaceted act of listening. The exponential production of sounds and noise and our ability to define our personal and technological sonic environments regardless of where we are has led to a different awareness. This awareness has also produced in turn an attack on the sensory preponderance of visuals, generating a wider and growing interest in artworks based on sound. And the popular “black cubes” in exhibition halls, or the room darkened in order to experience sound artworks fully, enhances perception by excluding distracting visual elements, are probably consequences of this trend. Finally there’s a specific section of the book, a sort of sound art “discography”, where sound artworks are analyzed and discussed, completing a book that is easy to enjoy.