The Spectacular Suburb: Creativity and affordance in Contemporary Electronic Music and Sound Art
This article examines the relationship between sound, creative practice and the representation of landscape and environment. It uses an analysis of a single sound art/electronic music event, the Spectacular Suburb, a collaboration between sound recordist Chris Watson and the electronic producer/musician Matthew Herbert, as a central case study. Drawing upon interview material and the author’s own experiences as a curator of the event the article explores how individual sound objects are utilized subject to differing creative strategies. The article proposes a theoretical model of creativity influenced by ecological approaches to human perception. In particular, it suggests that for electronic musicians and sound artists creativity takes place according to complex affordance structures characterized by the relationship between the physical properties of sound, a highly nuanced set of socially constructed contexts, and specific technological and musical conventions.
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