- Linda Ioanna Kouvaras, University of Melbourne, Australia
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.
Contents: Part 1 Background: Introduction: no longer confined to living in ‘the age of flying [with] our archaic notions of harmony'; Sound art’s lineage; Sound art as postmodernism’s exemplar. Part 2 Dawning: The dawning of Australian sound art. Part 3 Postmodern: Feminizing the sound object; The geographico-political; The quotidian and beyond. Part 4 Altermodern: The nostalgic: the dawning of the altermodern (1); Neo-modernist arts of noise in a post-postmodern era: the dawning of the altermodern (2). Part 5 Conclusion: Conclusion: silence charged; Bibliography; Index.
About the Author: Dr Linda Kouvaras is a Senior Lecturer at the Melbourne Conservatorium of Music, The University of Melbourne, Australia.
Reviews: 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
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