Essay on Ears Have Walls by Steven Connor

Essay on Ears Have Walls by Steven Connor

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Intro:
In Steven Connor’s ‘Ears Have Walls: On Hearing Art’ (2005) Connor presents us with the idea that sound art has either gone outside or has the capacity to bring the outside inside. Sound work makes us aware of the continuing emphasis upon division and partition that continues to exist even in the most radically revisable or polymorphous gallery space, because sound spreads and leaks, like odour. Unlike music, Sound Art usually does not require silence for its proper presentation. Containers of silence called music rooms resonate with the aesthetics and affects on the body of a gallery space; white walls, floorboards to create optimum acoustics, and an ethereal sense of time and space. When presented in a gallery space, sound art’s well-known expansiveness and leakiness can be more highly articulated.
Steven Connor delves into the mixing and creating of sound by computerisation, as well as the habits of sound; it’s immersion, pathos and objectivity.

1st PARA:
Connor is concerned with how Sound Art is a vehicle for change in the gallery, in particular how sound can extend beyond the walls of the gallery to ventilate it with the sounds of what lies outside it, or to temporalise place. Connor discusses The Sonic Boom Exhibition held in London in 2000 which featured 23 sound artists who exhibited at The Hayward Gallery. The show featured an emphasis on sculptures or objects that produced sound. David Toop, the curator for the Sonic Boom Exhibition was faced with ‘a positively suburban problem of sound pollution’ says Connor. When one enters the exhibition one is immediately overwhelmed by a dense cloud of noise and sounds. How many sounding objects can one put into one space? David Toop defends his approach with the help of a w...


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...died hands buffet and slap His head and a scorner spits in His Face. The slapping hands are frozen in mid-air and thus trigger associations with regard to noise. This association with noise is also shown in the scorner’s spit and how it suddenly stops before it reaches Christ’s halo: In order to perceive a sound in its reality, we require the space of silence, not of carnival. Glasmeier believes that this is precisely what John Cage does in 4’33’’. There is a suggestion of noise in Cage’s work just like in Angelico’s. The performer of 4’33’’ approaches the instrument three times, giving the instrument the possibility of noise without the reality of that noise: the viewer becomes the performer, imagining how that noise may be articulated. This is just like how a blank sheet of music still embodies music without ever being played; it triggers associations with sound.


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