Making Sound As Art
Throughout this semester I have been working on some small sound projects all the while wondering to myself: “Does it have a place in an intermediate/secondary school art class?”
In these short sound art explorations, I have been pushing myself to create soundscapes that represent spaces and places that are important to me. I wanted to try and capture of the feeling of these spaces without depicting them visually.
This work has me thinking of possible lesson plans. So many times we ask students to paint or draw what they feel when listening to music. What would be like to do the reverse? I think it would be very educational and fun to get students to create sound based on imagery instead.
When it comes to artwork, there is generally a lot of focus on “looking with our eyes” but much can be gained by entering further into the creative experience through sound. I want to imagine a lesson where students will study a piece of art and interpret it as an audio experience. This experience takes us out of our comfort zone with art, which is where some of the best learning happens. I have found this experience both challenging and liberating. I have no fear of making mistakes when I’m working with soundscapes, it all feels new and exciting.
To get ready for the possibility of teaching sound art I wanted to make sure I did my best to work with it a bit more this semester. The following are some of the sounds I have been working with. Most are meditative, I have been very interested in creating sound to accompany meditation on spaces and places I like to visit. Some have narrative elements as well. Some are more musical than others but that’s what I enjoy most about sound art, it doesn’t have to sound like music!
This first short composition features some windy natural sounds which mimic the park downtown by the water.
Thinking deeply about sound and space. A twirling tunnel space that feels confined and echoing.
Creativity and relaxation. A place where unusual ideas happen and many smiles are had.
Old Dirty Bar
Detritus and waste. A place where excess and dirt proliferate.
Transport and Speed. The sensation of movement and the dance of cars in the street.
Memorial to War
Freedom and Choice: Gratitude and Sunshine.
“… lend your ears to music, open your eyes to painting, and … stop thinking! Just ask yourself whether the work has enabled you to “walkabout” into a hitherto unknown world. If the answer is yes, what more do you want?”
― Wassily Kandinsky
This quote by Kandinsky was stuck in my head while I was working on this project. It really captures what I’m trying to do. Art can reach so many of our senses to take us places and by taking out the visual component you can heighten your senses and learn new things.
This had been a lot of fun and I’ve enjoyed working outside my usual sculptural work. It’s nice to remove your eyes entirely from the process of art-making. While I am I familiar with sound art and music I’ve never made artwork with no visual component before. It is great to work this way and see what could happen.