The Status of Sound: Writing Histories of Sonic Art

NOV 30, 2012 | 12:00 AM



The Graduate Center
365 Fifth Avenue


1218: Segal Theatre


November 30, 2012: 12:00 AM




The Status of Sound: Writing Histories of Sonic Art

A conference organized by Art History PhD students Andrew Cappetta, Meredith Mowder and Lauren Rosati

Speakers included: Christoph Cox, David Grubbs, Branden Joseph and Marina Rosenfeld

What is “sound art”? Should we define it within the context of experimental music or the visual arts or both? While the term first came into being in the 1980s, sound in the visual arts has a far longer history, ranging from Modernist experiments with synesthesia to the avant-garde exploits of Dada and Futurism. Sound art also has a distinctly musical heritage, emerging from the compositional experiments of John Cage, Tony Conrad, La Monte Young, Maryanne Amacher, and Pauline Oliveros, among others. This conversation will serve as the keynote to an all-day interdisciplinary conference on sound art and experimental music.

The primary purpose of the conference was to tackle some of the methodological issues we face as art historians, dealing with sound art within a discipline couched in the visual. Rather than attempting to link “sound art” to a particular history, this conference provided some fruitful options for how to frame a history that is informed by both experiments in art and sound together using new theoretical and methodological models. Panelists included Miki Kaneda, Amalle Dublon, David Michael Perez, Hisham Awad, Seth Cluett, Rahma Khazam, Charles Eppley, and David Crowley

The event was generously supported by The John Rewald Endowment, Art History Department, The Graduate Center; The Center for the Humanities; and the Doctoral Students Council.

For more information on the conference and a complete schedule of events, please visit