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Vadim Keylin


Abstract. The paper aims to re-examine the origins of sound art from the perspective of audience participation and the role it has in the formation of the art form. I focus on the three pioneering artists: the Baschet brothers, Max Neuhaus and Hildegard Westerkamp, and their respective practices of sound sculpture, sound installation and soundwalking. I show that reimagining the role of the listener as an active participant and co-creator was an important goal for these foundational practices. However, they differ in their approach towards participation. Sound sculptures engage the listeners in collective music-making. Sound installations invite the participants to re-compose spatially distributed sonic material into a personalized temporal musical sequence. Finally, soundwalks establish a relationship of aesthetic appreciation between the active, agentic listening of the walk’s participants and the everyday sound-making practices that compose the acoustic environment. Sound artists’ attitudes towards audience engagement can thus be also regarded as a form of institutional critique aimed at established institutions of (musical) listening.

Key words: sound art, sound sculpture, sound installation, soundwalk, participation, institutional critique, Baschet brothers, Max Neuhaus, Hildegard Westerkamp.

DOI 10.23683/2415-8852-2017-4-19-30



Keylin V. Sound art as participatory practice and institutional critique: reassessing the origins // Практики и интерпретации: журнал филологических, образовательных и культурных исследований. 2017. Т. 2, № 4. С. 19‒30.

Полный текст:



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(c) 2018 Vadim Keylin

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