If an artist creates a sound, but no one is listening, is it still art? Like performance art, sound art is ephemeral, intangible, and appears to be the next vogue in terms of art experimentation and curation. But it’s been around in various manifestations since Dadaism, Futurism, and the Surrealists, and came into its own through the compositions of John Cage in the 1950s. One piece of his, entitled 4’33”, is a recording of a pianist walking onto a stage and sitting silently for four minutes and 33 seconds, while coughs and fidgeting can be heard within the concert hall. It touched upon something that is rarely explored in the public’s consciousness: the power of noise. This and other works were fundamental stepping-stones to today’s sound art. The genre was finally coined in 1983, after a landmark exhibition called ‘Sound/Art’ at the Sculpture Center in New York.
I am acoustic ecologist Gordon Hempton. I care very deeply about quiet. As the Sound Tracker® I have circled the globe three times over the last 30 years in pursuit of Earth’s rarest nature sounds—sounds which can only be fully appreciated in the absence of manmade noise.
<p>In dependence on movements like Slow Food or Slow Living, Slow Listening is about finding new forms of awareness regarding to music consumption that do justice to music as a form of art.</p> <p>This website is the documentation of three design concepts, developed as part of my BA thesis about music-listening behavior at the Interface Design program at University of Applied Sciences, Potsdam. The objects and concepts shown here are not to be seen as marked-ready products, but rather as critical design objects aiming to spark debate about today's forms of consumption.</p>