(edited by) Peter Weibel – Sound Art: Sound as a Medium of Art


The MIT Press, ISBN-13: 978-0262029667, English, 744 pages, 2019, USA

Originally meant for publication in 2015, this book, like most of the previously ZKM ‘branded’ MIT Press releases, is a dense tome. The 744-page text is an ‘exploded’ catalogue of the eponymous exhibition that opened in ZKM in 2012. It is inevitably edited by ZKM director Peter Weibel. Weibel wears different hats, acting as the exhibition’s curator and authoring the 136-page opening essay, which works to define the whole field through a vast number of artworks. The strictly speaking ’exhibition catalogue’, is then ‘inserted’ into the tome, spanning approximately 300 pages. The remaining third of the book contains valuable contributor’s essays, providing visions, specific studies (i.e. Myatt’s “Sound Pavillions”), archeologies (Zielinski) and finally a ‘cartography’ extending into some countries’ specific scenes, including brilliant texts by Dmitry Bulatov on Russia and Dajuin Yao on China. This is a high quality book about the history of sound art and as comprehensive as is conceivably possible. It’s a tight balance between the classic curators (Celant and Bonito Oliva) and the specialist (LaBelle, Cluett, Søndergaard, Toop, Parkinson, Tanaka, Kelly, Cox, Migone, etc). Beyond its hypertrophy, this book is an instant reference text, containing critical information about sound art that would benefit any interested reader.