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date: 23 January 2022

Abstract and Keywords

How do sound artists function in a ‘post-speaker’ approach to production? Due to the market proliferation of reasonably-priced loudspeakers, rendering them portable and reduced in size on the gallery floor, a standard emerged in which soundworks were formed of prerecorded sounds played back from loudspeakers in gallery spaces. In these instances technology served as the material, shape and form of both sound sculpture and installation, the speaker representing a conveyance of ‘truth’. As a reaction, ‘post-speaker’ soundworks grew gradually as an awareness amongst artists who consciously avoided employing generic loudspeakers, or sought to hide them, perceiving them to be empty vessel conveying artifice. Since even before the loudspeaker was affordable, perhaps as a way of adapting to the loudspeaker’s expense, and later as a reaction to its ubiquity, there has been an ebb and flow towards building on the physical experience of a work, either by generating the sound in the gallery space itself or by using the loudspeaker in innovative ways. The reaction to speakers is a self-conscious continuum created by omission whereby sound sculpture and installation increasingly return to kinetic tendencies, and hand-made and found objects in immersive works that eschew or deconstruct the speaker’s homogeneity altogether.

Keywords: sound art, kinetic art, sculpture, materiality, sound installation, post-digital, post-speaker, audio, technology, new media art

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