Caleb Kelly – Gallery Sound


Bloomsbury Academic, ISBN-13: 978-1501304361, English, 176 pages, 2017, USA

The ’exhibition’ environment (the white cube), assumed as the universal art container, has been conceived and developed to enhance the artwork presence, and the social encounter with it. Artworks are strategically created for these spaces, genetically programmed to exhibit art which is primarily visual. On the other end sound art is still being snubbed by the contemporary art market, even if the immateriality and invisibility of sound is coupled by its omnipresence in the exhibition spaces through various forms (noise, background sounds, spoken words…). Caleb Kelly, author of Cracked Media (cfr. Neural #35) and editor of the Sound (cfr. Neural #42) releases this new remarkable book about the relationship between the architectural spaces for art and the sound artworks. He elaborates an attentive analysis of these spaces, from museum to galleries and offbeat venues, and how they relate to sound. He starts with the pivotal moment at the end of sixties when sound entered art spaces through new performative practices, finally staying there in new multi-media embodiments, including sonic sculptures, and immersive installations. He proceeds examining various works using the art spaces with aural tactics and specific techniques, producing unheard experiences. Finally he addresses music performances in art galleries and the mutual relationship that has been created over time. This structural perspective is greatly helping in understanding the whole spectrum of sound art and how it investigates uncommon and experiential sonic possibilities.