Eleni Ikoniadou – The Rhythmic Event: Art, Media, And The Sonic


The MIT Press, ISBN: 978-0262027649, English, 136 pages, 2014, USA

It’s a key player in the relationship between time and space, but what nontrivial roles does sound play in new media art? This seems to be the point of departure for this book, investigating the abstract but present ‘forces’ that sound is able to trigger. Through an analysis of some specific sound installations Ikoniadou shows how the use of audio elements often transcends the perception of sounds and frequencies, enabling different abstract systems that conceptually override those perceptions and generate different experiences. It’s the ‘rhythmicity,’ as the author defines it, or the “halting moment” in the continuous flux of information. It’s disconnected from personal perceptions and it’s at the core of this analysis. This “discreet continuum” is described in the resonance of interactivity systems, through hypersonic sensation that leads to a “hyperperception.” Furthermore the rhythmic quality of inaudible sounds urge a re-thinking of the linearity of time, stimulating imaginary entities and counterbalancing the “ocularcentric” predominance in Western art. The deconstructed sound artworks are then considered as abstract “rhythm machines.” They are metaphorically played, while perceived and recognised as sound ‘traces’ in visual artworks. The original premise of the book is stated on the basis of theoretical speculations and an analysis of artwork, but its major contribution is an investigation of the usually ignored relational element in digital sound, which creates rhythmic ‘events’ that clearly affect the edges of our perception.


Monthly Talk – Eleni Ikoniadou