Alan Licht – Sound Art Revisited


Bloomsbury Academic, ISBN-13: 978-1501333774, English, 208 pages, 2019, UK

This is the second (revisited edition) of one of the first books addressing sound art as such, attempting through a diversified research a consistent and universal definition of the concept. After being quite popular in the first instance, this revisited edition, has been published by a different publisher and rethought after a decade. Dropping the initial ‘art book’ standard with plenty of attractive pictures, Licht has updated and revised the biographies and the discussed works. There is less debate about the sound art definition although the initial argument about its difference with experimental music has been kept. On the other end, the history of sound art exhibitions has been properly expanded, including also a specific section about ’Australian sound art’ and the field of sound studies. The discussion about sound ‘in’ art, a survey of sound sculptures and a “recent sound art” final chapter, including the latest trajectories and technologies, are completing the revising effort. Licht improves the original text in quite a few different way, so even being familiar with its first version makes it worth to read this revisitation for the quantity and quality of new added material. The central question of the inner nature of sound art, overcoming the non-visual centrality of the works emerges again, through new multiple perspectives.