classical music
doctoral research

Sounding Sound Art: A Study of the definition, origin, context, and techniques of sound art

  • Onderzoekers: Laura Maes
  • Promotoren: Godfried-Willem Raes (School of Arts), Marc Leman (Ghent Universiteit, dept. Art, Music and Theatre Studies), in partnership with Logos Foundation

2006 – 2012

The objective of this research project is, on the one hand, to open up existing forms of expression in sound installation art and, on the other hand, to examine new potentials in forms of expression.

In an initial phase, the researcher wishes to gain insight in sound installation art by proposing a definition, by marking off the borders between sound installation art, experimental instrument construction and plastic installation art, and by historically situating this young artistic trend. In a second phase, the underlying technologies will serve as a basis to classify and name the various branches of sound installation art. Both physical and non-physical; interactive and passive sound installation art will be addressed. A third phase of the project will focus on a thorough description and eventual opening up of the various technologies, in order to make them available for innovative educational projects. An examination of possible uses of these technologies in sound installation art will also be included

The eventual objective of this project is the creation of new works of art based on research results. Installation art is a relatively new artistic trend that is still developing. The oeuvres are often interdisciplinary and heavily rely on technological developments. The work of art is no longer a clear-cut oeuvre with delineated beginnings and endings, but it is susceptible to change through audience interaction, surroundings, the artist or the use of algorithmic software. Musical history so far has been predominantly based on written material and well-defined works. Because of this opus-oriented approach a large extent of the documentation of the contemporary musical scene is threatened. Musical history lacks in methodology for properly registering current evolutions. The ‘composition’ or the ‘piece’ is still considered a well-defined entity to be perceived from a distance by an audience. How then should new artistic trends such as sound installation art be recorded or registered? Cellular sound, infrared, sensors, etc.: technological developments from other sciences are being picked up by sound artists. So far technologies in use in sound installation art have not been thoroughly described, or have remained inaccessible. With this research project, I aim to describe existing technologies, examine new ones, and make this information accessible for innovative projects in education.

Research projects