Facing sound – voicing art
This article is based on examples of contemporary audiovisual art with a primary focus on the Tony Oursler solo exhibition Face to Face in Aarhus Art Museum ARoS, 2012. My investigation involves a combination of qualitative interviews with visitors, observations of the audience’s interactions with the exhibition and the artwork in the museum space, and short analyses of individual works of art based on reception aesthetics, phenomenology, and newer writings on sound, voice and listening. The focus of the investigation is the quality and possible perspectives of the interaction with audiovisual works of art, articulating and sounding out their own ‘voices’. This methodological combination has been chosen to transgress the dichotomy between the aesthetic or hermeneutic artwork ‘text’ analysis and cultural theory, which focuses on the context understood as the framing, the cultural acts and agendas around the aesthetic ‘text’. The article will include experiences with another exhibition, David Lynch: The Air is on Fire (Fondation Cartier pour l’art contemporain, Paris, 2007 and Kunstforeningen Gl. Strand, Copenhagen, 2010- 2011). The two exhibitions are fundamentally different in their integration of sound. My field of interest concerns the exploration of sound as artistic material in audiovisual combinations and those audiovisual works of art that might cause a change in the participatory strategy of the art museum towards the audience.
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