Wireless Imagination: Sound, Radio, and the Avant-Garde

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Wireless Imagination directly addresses what is perhaps the most conspicuous silence in contemporary theory and art criticism, the silence that surrounds the polyphonous histories of audio and radio art. By gathering both original essays and several newly translated documents into a single volume, editors Douglas Kahn and Gregory Whitehead provide a close audition to some of the most telling and soundful moments in the "deaf century," including the fantastic acoustic scenarios projected through the writings of ...
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Overview

Wireless Imagination directly addresses what is perhaps the most conspicuous silence in contemporary theory and art criticism, the silence that surrounds the polyphonous histories of audio and radio art. By gathering both original essays and several newly translated documents into a single volume, editors Douglas Kahn and Gregory Whitehead provide a close audition to some of the most telling and soundful moments in the "deaf century," including the fantastic acoustic scenarios projected through the writings of Raymond Roussel, the "gap music" of Marcel Duchamp, the varied sonic activities of the early Russian avant-garde and of French Surrealism, the language labyrinths constructed by the producers of New German Horspiel, and the cut-up ventriloquism of William S. Burroughs. Approaches in the essays vary from detailed historical reconstructions to more speculative theory, providing a rich chorus of challenges to the culturally entrenched "regime of the visual." Supporting documents include F. T. Marinetti's explosive manifesto on the aesthetics of Futurist radio and the full text of Antonin Artaud's blistering radio performance, To Have Done with the Judgment of God. Although the editors stress in their preface that this book should not be read as a comprehensive Last Word but rather as an opening to future discourse, Wireless Imagination certainly offers compelling evidence that the numbing silence surrounding sound was made to be broken.
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What People Are Saying

From the Publisher
"Think of this book as a radio station with some really good shows. Think of yourself as a radio." Joshua Clover, San Francisco Review of Books

"Wireless Imagination is a beautifully produced collection of essays on the interplay between art, noise, experimental music, and technology.... An enlightening exploration of a little-known area of art history." Gareth Branwyn, Wired

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780262111683
  • Publisher: MIT Press
  • Publication date: 11/17/1992
  • Pages: 466
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Douglas KAHN is founding Director of Technocultural Studies at University of California atDavis. He is the author of Noise, Water, Meat: A History of Sound in the Arts (MIT Press, 1999).

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Table of Contents

Preface
Introduction: Histories of Sound Once Removed 1
The Phonograph's Horned Mouth 31
The Lamentations of Edison, From L'Eve Future (1886) 63
Death in Light of the Phonograph: Raymond Roussel's Locus Solus 69
Marcel Duchamp's Gap Music: Operations in the Space Between Art and Noise 105
Banging on the Windowpane: Sound in Early Surrealism 139
Give Me the Anathema, Lascivious Thing (1915) 191
Songs From the Museum of the Future: Russian Sound Creation (1910-1930) 197
The Symphony of Sirens (1923) 245
Out of the Dark: Notes on the Nobodies of Radio Art 253
La Radia (1933) 265
Radio, Death, and the Devil: Artaud's Pour En Finir Avec Le Jugement De Dieu 269
To have Done with the Judgment of God (1947) 309
Soundplay: The Polyphonous Tradition of German Radio Art 331
The Ear that Would Hear Sounds in Themselves: John Cage 1935-1965 373
Sound Identity Fading Out: William Burroughs' Tape Experiments 409
Notes on Contributors 439
Index 441
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