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Wireless Imagination: Sound, Radio, and the Avant-Garde
 
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Wireless Imagination: Sound, Radio, and the Avant-Garde [Paperback]

Douglas Kahn , Gregory Whitehead

Price: $39.95 & FREE Shipping on eligible orders. Details
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Book Description

July 25, 1994 MIT Press

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.Douglas Kahn is Associate Professor of Media Arts at Arizona State University. Gregory Whitehead is an audio artist who produces radio transmissions and events.


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Editorial Reviews

Review

"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

From the Back Cover

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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