The sound art scene is not limited to the northern hemisphere. Rather, it is globally distributed and has for decades also appeared in various manifestations and constellations in the Global South. Globalization, postcolonialism, and decolonization are therefore issues that are just as crucial to the field of sound art as they are for other fields of social and human science. These issues are slowly beginning to enter the academic studies of sound art. However, academic interest in these issues still does not equal what we find empirically in the field. If one surfs the Internet or travels abroad to visit urban areas in the southern hemisphere, one is likely to encounter artists and communities creating works of contemporary sound art. Some of these artists involve themselves in independent long-term collaborations across the hemispheres, while others work within or supported by public institutions, but by far the majority of them are organized in local independent groups or social movements. Curators in the Global North have noted this proliferation and have, in recent years, begun to expand the repertoire of sound art by inviting artists from the Global South to perform and exhibit at cutting-edge festivals and galleries. Many of these transhemispheric collaborations have emerged from particular historical, institutional, and social contexts and take place within a growing critical awareness of postcolonial and decolonial issues.
I suggest that these changes require the development of new analytical and theoretical tools within the study of sound art, tools that allow for a rewriting of the history and theory of sound art from a truly global perspective. Such a rewriting of sound art history and sound art practices will have to be acutely aware of issues of globalization, postcolonialism, and decolonialization; it will need to integrate representations on the Internet with those of live concerts, installations, and interviews; it must reach out toward anthropological and ethno-musicological methods; and it should make aesthetic considerations central to its analysis.
This chapter, and this section of the book in general, is a modest attempt to begin the work of learning to pay analytical attention to these global shifts and experiments in sound art. The ambition is not to map the entire world of sound arts, nor is it to develop a new fully fledged set of methodological and theoretical tools. The intention is simply to pay attention to these global changes, and through this to start a discussion about the paradigmatic shift that is long overdue in contemporary sound art studies.
|Title of host publication
|The Bloomsbury Handbook of Sound Art
|Sanne Krogh Groth, Holger Schulze
|Published - 2020 Feb 20
- sound art
- global sound art
- experimental music