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When Sound is Art—Five Sonic Stories

September 9th, 2019

Today, we introduce you to five artists whose primary medium is sound. The diverse techniques and concepts they explore demonstrate the versatility and power of sonic art. Working with music and song, noise and movement, in natural and urban settings, they are among thousands of artists drawn to this highly diverse art form.

American sound artist Stephen Vitiello is based in New York City. In 2013, we talk about his work and the first group show dedicated entirely to Sound Art at the Museum of Modern Art, New York. We consider the history of sound art and what draws Vitiello to work with the sounds that surround him.

The sound of glass holds a universe of meanings for Camille Norment. Representing Norway at the 56th Venice Art Biennale, the American-born artist based in Oslo creates a sonic environment inspired by how sound inhabits and moves through the body. She creates an atmosphere in the pavilion that alternates between dissonance and harmony.

At the Hong Kong pavilion in Venice the same year, we walk through another immersive audio experience—the political commentary of Hong Kong based sound artist and composer Samson Young. We talk about the profiteering and political influence of songs produced to raise funds for disaster relief.

American artist Bill Fontana has a long-time relationship with sound and space. He describes his practice as “composition by listening.” Based in San Francisco, Fontana is known for relocating sounds to create site-specific installations around the world. We talk about how nature and history inform his public art projects — from his 1981 Landscape Sculpture with Foghorns, in San Francisco, to his 2018 Sonic Dreamscapes, in Miami Beach.

In 2017, we meet Colombian composer and sound artist Alba Triana in her Miami studio. She shows us a range of her experiments, from inaudible sound and light installations to interactive electronic music compositions and vibrational environments. Each one transforms our perception of space.

Sound Editors | Special Audio: Five Sonic Stories—Anamnesis Audio and Joseph DeMarco, Bill Fontana—Anamnesis Audio | Bill Fontana, Camille Norment—Kris McConnachie |  VernissageTV, Alba Triana—Alyssa Moxley | Alba Triana, Stephen Vitiello—Eric Schwartz | Stephen Vitiello, Samson Young—Guney Ozsan | FreshArtINTL

Related Episodes: Bill Fontana on Sound & Space, Camille Norment on the Character of a Sonic Environment, Alba Triana on Experimenting with Sound and Light, Stephen Vitiello on Cultural Soundscapes, Samson Young on Songs for Disaster Relief

Related Links:  Bill Fontana, Camille Norment, Alba Triana, Stephen Vitiello, Samson Young