Esther Venrooij – Sounding Things Out. A Journey through Music and Sound Art


Onomatopee, ISBN: 978-9493148277, English, 144 pages, 2020, The Netherlands

Esther Venrooij has written this book in the style of a personal narrative, seamlessly combining events and inner thoughts with concepts, theories, facts and descriptions of artworks and strategies. She finds it easy to draw the reader into her perspective, which develops through interests, curiosity and appropriate connections. The spectrum of attitudes she embodies, from composing, to performing, to creating artworks, is fully and gracefully presented here as the unique outcome of her life and her work. The (re)construction of auditory spaces, which was the subject of her doctoral thesis, produces a resounding argument that emerges in various manifestations. In particular, the author compiles a topography of sounds and their various properties as described by authors and used by artists. The third dimension is thus always present, explicitly or implicitly. It is important to note that the book comes with some interesting appendices that not only feature the artist’s work in various forms, including places where she has made targeted field recordings, but also a series of reference lists: artists, books, songs and films with an unconventional and very entertaining index built around the word “sound”. Images are also reproduced in a different colour throughout the text. Pocket-sized and with a delightful graphic design, this is a remarkable book for sound art and culture.