After Sound considers contemporary art practices that reconceive music beyond the limitation of sound. This book is called After Sound because music and sound are, in Barrett's account, different entities. While musicology and sound art theory alike typically equate music with pure instrumental sound, or absolute music, Barrett posits music as an expanded field of artistic practice encompassing a range of different media and symbolic relationships. The works discussed in After Sound thus use performance, text scores, musical automata, video, social practice, and installation while they articulate a novel aesthetic space for a radically engaged musical practice. Coining the term "critical music," this book examines a diverse collection of art projects which intervene into specific political and philosophical conflicts by exploring music's unique historical forms.
Through a series of intimate studies of artworks surveyed from the visual and performing arts of the past ten years-Pussy Riot, Ultra-red, Hong-Kai Wang, Peter Ablinger, Pauline Boudry and Renate Lorenz, and others-After Sound offers a significant revision to the way we think about music. The book as a whole offers a way out of one of the most vexing deadlocks of contemporary cultural criticism: the choice between a sound art effectively divorced from the formal-historical coordinates of musical practice and the hermetic music that dominates new music circles today.
G Douglas Barrett is an artist and writer who works with music and visual art. Exhibiting and performing internationally, his critical writing is published in journals such as Postmodern Culture. He lives in New York.
Introduction: Music After Sound Silence and Collectivity Chapter 1: The Limits of Performing Cage: Ultra-red's SILENT|LISTEN Chapter 2: The Silent Network: The Music of Wandelweiser Language and Authority Chapter 3: "IDEAS MATTER": Zizek Sings Pussy Riot Chapter 4: Music to the Letter: Noise, Language, and the Letter from Schoenberg Speculation and Sense Chapter 5: The Debt of Philosophy: Music, Speculation, and The Sound of Debt Chapter 6: The Metaphoricity of Sense: Hong-Kai Wang's Music While We Work - with Lindsey Lodhie Conclusion: Music After Art Acknowledgments Notes Selected Bibliography Index