Douglas Kahn

Douglas Kahn is Professor at the National Institute for Experimental Arts at the University of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia. He is the author of Noise Water Meat: A History of Sound in the Arts (MIT Press) and Earth Sound Earth Signal: Energies and Earth Magnitude in the Arts and coeditor of Wireless Imagination: Sound, Radio, and the Avant-Garde (MIT Press).

  • Energies in the Arts

    Energies in the Arts

    Douglas Kahn

    Investigating the concepts and material realities of energy coursing through the arts: a foundational text.

    This book investigates energies—in the plural, the energies embedded and embodied in everything under the sun— as they are expressed in the arts. With contributions from scholars and critics from the visual arts, art history, anthropology, music, literature, and the history of science, it offers the first multidisciplinary investigation of the concepts and material realities of energy coursing through the arts. Just as Douglas Kahn's earlier books helped introduce sound as a category for study in the arts, this new volume will be a foundational volume for future explorers in a largely uncharted domain.

    The modern concept of energy is only two hundred years old—an abstraction grounded in extraction—but this book takes a more expansive view. It opens with a clap: the sonic energies in a ceremony of the indigenous Goolarabooloo people of Australia. Other chapters explore the energies of photography; responses of artists in the early twentieth century—including Marcel Duchamp—to scientific discoveries in electricity and electromagnetism; the aestheticization of entropy in works by Hans Haacke and Robert Smithson; free-jazz musician Milford Graves's cross-cultural engagement with music, science, and spiritualism; energy field performance; and the self-generating energy of rumor and gossip as artwork. Contributors include such leading scholars as Linda Dalrymple Henderson, John Tresch, and Caroline A. Jones. Practicing artists and students of art history will find Energies in the Arts an essential work.

    Contributors Susan Ballard, Jennifer Biddle, Marcus Boon, Joan Brassil, Steven Connor, Milford Graves, Daniel Hackbarth, Linda Dalrymple Henderson, Caroline A. Jones, Douglas Kahn, David Mather, Stephen Muecke, James Nisbet, Daniela Silvestrin, Michael Taussig, John Tresch, Melissa Warak

    • Hardcover $50.00 £40.00
  • Noise, Water, Meat

    Noise, Water, Meat

    A History of Sound in the Arts

    Douglas Kahn

    An examination of the role of sound in twentieth-century arts.

    This interdisciplinary history and theory of sound in the arts reads the twentieth century by listening to it—to the emphatic and exceptional sounds of modernism and those on the cusp of postmodernism, recorded sound, noise, silence, the fluid sounds of immersion and dripping, and the meat voices of viruses, screams, and bestial cries. Focusing on Europe in the first half of the century and the United States in the postwar years, Douglas Kahn explores aural activities in literature, music, visual arts, theater, and film. Placing aurality at the center of the history of the arts, he revisits key artistic questions, listening to the sounds that drown out the politics and poetics that generated them. Artists discussed include Antonin Artaud, George Brecht, William Burroughs, John Cage, Sergei Eisenstein, Fluxus, Allan Kaprow, Michael McClure, Yoko Ono, Jackson Pollock, Luigi Russolo, and Dziga Vertov.

    • Hardcover $62.50 £52.00
    • Paperback $36.95 £30.00
  • Wireless Imagination

    Wireless Imagination

    Sound, Radio, and the Avant-Garde

    Douglas Kahn and Gregory Whitehead

    Wireless Imagination addresses perhaps the most conspicuous silence in contemporary theory and art criticism, the silence that surrounds the polyphonous histories of audio art. Composed of both original essays and several newly translated documents, this book provides a close audition to some of the most telling and soundful moments in the "deaf century," conceived and performed by such artists as Raymond Roussel, Antonin Artaud, Marcel Duchamp, André Breton, John Cage, Hugo Ball, Kurt Weill, and William Burroughs. From the late nineteenth century to the 1960s, the essays uncover the fantastic acoustic scenarios projected through the writings of Raymond Roussel; the aural objects of Marcel Duchamp; Dziga Vertov's proposal for a phonographic "laboratory of hearing"; the ZAUM language and Radio Sorcery conjured by Velimir Khlebnikov; the iconoclastic castaways of F. T. Marinetti's La Radia; the destroyed musics of the Surrealists; the noise bands of Russolo, Foregger, Varèse, and Cage; the contorted radio talk show delivered by Antonin Artaud; the labyrinthine inner journeys invoked by German Hörspiel; and the razor contamination and cut-up ventriloquism of William S. Burroughs.

    • Hardcover $45.00
    • Paperback $40.00 £32.00

Contributor

  • Relive

    Relive

    Media Art Histories

    Sean Cubitt and Paul Thomas

    Leading historians of the media arts define a new materialist media art history, discussing temporality, geography, ephemerality, and the future.

    In Relive, leading historians of the media arts grapple with this dilemma: how can we speak of “new media” and at the same time write the histories of these arts? These scholars and practitioners redefine the nature of the field, focusing on the materials of history—the materials through which the past is mediated. Drawing on the tools of media archaeology and the history and philosophy of media, they propose a new materialist media art history.

    The contributors consider the idea of history and the artwork's moment in time; the intersection of geography and history in regional practice, illustrated by examples from eastern Europe, Australia, and New Zealand; the contradictory scales of evolution, life cycles, and bodily rhythms in bio art; and the history of the future—how the future has been imagined, planned for, and established as a vector throughout the history of new media arts.

    These essays, written from widely diverse critical perspectives, capture a dynamic field at a moment of productive ferment.

    Contributors Susan Ballard, Brogan Bunt, Andrés Burbano, Jon Cates, John Conomos, Martin Constable, Sean Cubitt, Francesca Franco, Darko Fritz, Zhang Ga, Monika Gorska-Olesinska, Ross Harley, Jens Hauser, Stephen Jones, Douglas Kahn, Ryszard W. Kluszczynski, Caroline Seck Langill, Leon Marvell, Rudy Rucker, Edward A. Shanken, Stelarc, Adele Tan, Paul Thomas, Darren Tofts, Joanna Walewska

    • Hardcover $45.00 £38.00
  • Sound Unbound

    Sound Unbound

    Sampling Digital Music and Culture

    Paul D. Miller

    The role of sound and digital media in an information-based society: artists—from Steve Reich and Pierre Boulez to Chuck D and Moby—describe their work.

    If Rhythm Science was about the flow of things, Sound Unbound is about the remix—how music, art, and literature have blurred the lines between what an artist can do and what a composer can create. In Sound Unbound, Rhythm Science author Paul Miller aka DJ Spooky that Subliminal Kid asks artists to describe their work and compositional strategies in their own words. These are reports from the front lines on the role of sound and digital media in an information-based society. The topics are as diverse as the contributors: composer Steve Reich offers a memoir of his life with technology, from tape loops to video opera; Miller himself considers sampling and civilization; novelist Jonathan Lethem writes about appropriation and plagiarism; science fiction writer Bruce Sterling looks at dead media; Ron Eglash examines racial signifiers in electrical engineering; media activist Naeem Mohaiemen explores the influence of Islam on hip hop; rapper Chuck D contributes “Three Pieces”; musician Brian Eno explores the sound and history of bells; Hans Ulrich Obrist and Philippe Parreno interview composer-conductor Pierre Boulez; and much more. “Press 'play,'” Miller writes, “and this anthology says 'here goes.'”

    The groundbreaking music that accompanies the book features Nam Jun Paik, the Dada Movement, John Cage, Sonic Youth, and many other examples of avant-garde music. Most of this content comes from the archives of Sub Rosa, a legendary record label that has been the benchmark for archival sounds since the beginnings of electronic music. To receive these free music files, readers may send an email to the address listed in the book.

    Contributors David Allenby, Pierre Boulez, Catherine Corman, Chuck D, Erik Davis, Scott De Lahunta, Manuel DeLanda, Cory Doctorow, Eveline Domnitch, Frances Dyson, Ron Eglash, Brian Eno, Dmitry Gelfand, Dick Hebdige, Lee Hirsch, Vijay Iyer, Ken Jordan, Douglas Kahn, Daphne Keller, Beryl Korot, Jaron Lanier, Joseph Lanza, Jonathan Lethem, Carlo McCormick, Paul D. Miller aka DJ Spooky that Subliminal Kid, Moby, Naeem Mohaiemen, Alondra Nelson, Keith and Mendi Obadike, Hans Ulrich Obrist, Pauline Oliveros, Philippe Parreno, Ibrahim Quaraishi, Steve Reich, Simon Reynolds, Scanner aka Robin Rimbaud, Nadine Robinson, Daniel Bernard Roumain (DBR), Alex Steinweiss, Bruce Sterling, Lucy Walker, Saul Williams, Jeff E. Winner

    • Paperback $39.95 £32.00
  • MediaArtHistories

    MediaArtHistories

    Oliver Grau

    Leading scholars take a wider view of new media, placing it in the context of art history and acknowledging the necessity of an interdisciplinary approach in new media art studies and practice.

    Digital art has become a major contemporary art form, but it has yet to achieve acceptance from mainstream cultural institutions; it is rarely collected, and seldom included in the study of art history or other academic disciplines. In MediaArtHistories, leading scholars seek to change this. They take a wider view of media art, placing it against the backdrop of art history. Their essays demonstrate that today's media art cannot be understood by technological details alone; it cannot be understood without its history, and it must be understood in proximity to other disciplines—film, cultural and media studies, computer science, philosophy, and sciences dealing with images.

    Contributors trace the evolution of digital art, from thirteenth-century Islamic mechanical devices and eighteenth-century phantasmagoria, magic lanterns, and other multimedia illusions, to Marcel Duchamp's inventions and 1960s kinetic and op art. They reexamine and redefine key media art theory terms—machine, media, exhibition—and consider the blurred dividing lines between art products and consumer products and between art images and science images. Finally, MediaArtHistories offers an approach for an interdisciplinary, expanded image science, which needs the "trained eye" of art history.

    Contributors Rudlof Arnheim, Andreas Broeckmann, Ron Burnett, Edmond Couchot, Sean Cubitt, Dieter Daniels, Felice Frankel, Oliver Grau, Erkki Huhtamo, Douglas Kahn, Ryszard W. Kluszczynski, Machiko Kusahara, Timothy Lenoir, Lev Manovich, W.J.T. Mitchell, Gunalan Nadarajan, Christiane Paul, Louise Poissant, Edward A. Shanken, Barbara Maria Stafford, and Peter Weibel

    • Hardcover $43.00 £35.00
    • Paperback $30.00 £25.00