Loading the Silence: Australian Sound Art in the Post-Digital Age
The experimentalist phenomenon of 'noise' as constituting 'art' in much twentieth-century music (paradoxically) reached its zenith in Cage’s (’silent’ piece) 4’33. But much post-1970s musical endeavour with an experimentalist telos, collectively known as 'sound art', has displayed a postmodern need to ’load’ modernism’s ’degree zero’. After contextualizing experimentalism from its inception in the early twentieth century, Dr Linda Kouvaras’s Loading the Silence: Australian Sound Art in the Post-Digital Age explores the ways in which selected sound art works demonstrate creatively how sound is embedded within local, national, gendered and historical environments. Taking Australian music as its primary - but not sole - focus, the book not only covers discussions of technological advancement, but also engages with aesthetic standpoints, through numerous interviews, theoretical developments, analysis and cultural milieux for a contemporary Australian, and wider postmodern, context. Developing new methodologies for synergies between musicology and cultural studies, the book uncovers a new post-postmodern aesthetic trajectory, which Kouvaras locates as developing over the past two decades - the altermodern. Australian sound art is here put firmly on the map of international debates about contemporary music, providing a standard reference and valuable resource for practitioners in the artform, music critics, scholars and educators.
Prize: Winner of The Rebecca Coyle Prize 2014, International Association for the Study of Popular Music - Australia/New Zealand
'In Loading the Silence Linda Kouvaras does a real favour for those seeking to learn about and from the political sonicities of the avant garde of the 1970s and since. That she does so in the context of Australian musical practices makes the stories she tells all the more fascinating for those of us regrettably less familiar with that continent's (sometimes "un-Australian") experimentality. Refreshingly, Kouvaras's critical curiosity embraces musical practices and places: the leaky sounds and voicings of women's bodies, the hospital, the unwatery landscape itself... A convincing critical compendium is the result.' George McKay, University of Salford, UK
'... Kouvaras has created a reference of vital importance, a book of international significance that is likely to be considered a seminal work in the study of sound art.' Music Forum ’Loading the Silence functions as both an entrance to Australian sound-art for those with no great knowledge of the field, and as a work of cultural musicology, which identifies the importance of various, often contradictory, strains of postmodernism within this body of work, theorising a close link between sound-art and the altermodern - that is, the post-postmodern. It also acts as a fine introduction to the key concepts and approaches behind sound-art in general’. Context
'This is an excellent reference book with a huge bibliography... giving readers the opportunity to probe deeply into Australia’s seminal media art scenes.'
- Aurelio Cianciotta, Neural