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Emergency Noises

Sound Art and Gender


Irene Noy

Art history traditionally concentrates on the visual. Sound has either been ignored or has been appreciated in a highly selective manner within a different discipline: music. This book is about recent attempts by artists trained in (West) Germany to provoke listening experiences to awaken the senses. Their work is revolutionary in artistic terms and in what it reveals about human relations, especially concerning issues of gender.

The main focus of the book is to explore a gendered reading of the unity between the visual and the aural, a strand most prominently expressed within sound art in the period from the beginning of the 1960s to the 1980s. The book juxtaposes sources that have not been considered in conjunction with each other before and questions sound art’s premise: is it a separate field or a novel way of understanding art? The study also opens up sound art to gender considerations, asking if the genre possesses the capacity to disrupt conventional, gendered role models and facilitate alternative possibilities of self-definition and agency across genders. Emergency Noises brings to light the work of underrepresented female artists and explores new intersections of sound, art and gender.

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Professor Deborah Ascher Barnstone (University of Technology Sydney, Australia) Professor Thomas O. Haakenson (California College of the Arts, USA)

German Visual Culture offers an innovative approach to German Studies within the diverse and growing field of Visual Culture. The series invites scholarship by artists, designers, academics and curators across all media forms and time periods. It engages with traditional art historical methods as well as inventive interdisciplinary ones, recognizing the scholarly merits of both. Of particular interest are provocative perspectives on archival materials, original scholarship on emerging and established visual forms, and new readings of history through the lens of visual culture. The series offers a much-needed venue for expanding how we engage with the field of Visual Culture in general.

The series is the publishing project of the Visual Culture Network (VCN) for the German Studies Association in the United States. Proposals for revised dissertations, monographs and edited volumes from a wide range of comparative, theoretical and methodological perspectives are welcome. Prospective authors are encouraged to submit proposals on any aspect of German Visual Culture, including projects that address such themes as new media, intermediality, gender, identity, memory, nostalgia, spectacle, trauma, the double, East/West, dissent and fetishism. We publish in both English and German.

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