Art History and Sound - Workshop series: ‘The Listening Art Historian’
Three workshops to be held on:
6 December 2012, 14 March and 30 May 2013 (10.00 – 12.00)
The Courtauld Institute of Art, Somerset House, Strand, London WC2R
CALL FOR PAPERS
Art historians constantly encounter traces of sound. These can take
the form of notes in an illuminated manuscript, a textual echo of past
noise and lost voices, or depictions of instruments, singers and
dancers, captured on panel, canvas, paper, film or in wood, marble and
bronze or spaces that have been specifically designed and built to
embrace and amplify sound: pulpits, choir stalls, opera houses, the
floor of the stock exchange. The aural is continuously intertwined
with visual arts as content or context. In the 20th and 21st centuries
especially artists have variously incorporated sounds, live and
recorded, in their performances, happenings and multi-media
installations putting into question the silence and fixity of visual
As a result of the collapse in the Enlightenment of the Renaissance
notion of the unity of the arts and the substitution of a modern
division of temporal from spatial art forms, art historians have
generally limited their research and interpretation exclusively to the
visual aspects of art and have disregarded the existence, never mind
the significance, of the aural. Despite the recent broadening of art
history’s disciplinary boundaries to include ‘non-traditional’ media
as well as related fields, art historians are primarily trained to
analyse and explain the non-ephemeral dimensions of art. When the
visual approaches the transient qualities of the aural it raises
problems of methodology and terminology.
This workshop series aims to explore both historical and contemporary
instances of sound in art history, as well as some of the theoretical
and methodological questions arising from this preoccupation. It is
designed to provide an open platform for all art historians concerned
with collecting, analysing, interpreting and describing sound(s) to
meet and discuss ways of hearing visual art.
Topics for discussion may include, but are not limited to:
- In what kind of media do art historians encounter notions of sound
such as music, voice or noise and with what methods do they explore
these traces of the aural?
- How do art historians, with their specific background in the
analysis of visual arts, collect, listen to, ‘process’ and write about
- In regards to aurality, can research fields such as soundscape,
Klangkunst, acousmatic voice, developed by neighbouring disciplines,
be fruitfully used in and adapted for art history?
- How does our preoccupation with the aural inform or perhaps change
our understanding of the visual, and vice versa?
This workshop series will be hosted at the The Courtauld Institute of
Art on three different occasions throughout the academic year 2012/13.
Each workshop will consist of four papers that will function as
catalysts for a subsequent round table discussion, and each workshop
will address the dynamics existing between aurality and art historical
material, tools and methods from a different angle, generated around
the proposals we receive.
We welcome proposals of 20 minutes long papers in all periods, media
and regions that deal either with case studies or broader
methodological questions. Please send your abstracts of 250 – 300
words and a short biography to irene.noycourtauld.ac.uk and
michaela.zoschgcourtauld.ac.uk by 28 September 2012. For
organisational purposes, we also kindly ask you to indicate on which
of the dates (indicated above) you would like to present and whether
you will be able to attend all three workshops.
We cannot offer travel subsidies for speakers, and therefore students
from outside London are encouraged to apply to their institutions for
funding to attend the workshops.
Organised by Irene Noy and Michaela Zöschg with Dr Katie Scott (The
Courtauld Institute of Art)
Further information here:
CFP: Art History and Sound (London, 2012/13). In: ArtHist.net, Sep 3, 2012 (accessed Jul 5, 2022), <https://arthist.net/archive/3685>.