16 December 2010

Sounding Off

Sez woebot about this year's Turner:

"Just a bit of restraint required here because The Turner Prize Winner is always, unfortunately, the object of unbridled hatred. However one’s got to say that, in the main, the art world’s grasp of Sound as Art is light-years behind the sophistication of its manifestation at the cutting-edge of music. I mean, this lady’s ideas are OK, but truthfully they’re kind of old hat, and what’s more implicit in a huge swathe of music. One precedent that immediately springs to mind is Pauline Oliveros’s Deep Listening Band, which actually did this very same thing AND made it sound beautiful rather than pedestrian. Her voice, yikes. If I was being unkind I would suggest that the Turner Prize should stick to what they do best and leave this kind of thing to the pros to judge."

From the first sentence, I find myself in agreement. Yes, the winner of the Turner on any given year is going to be the object of incredulity and animus, regarded as nothing more than an example for the committee's esoteric and mandarin sensibilities. But this one strikes me as a belated, tokenistic bone-toss to sound art (or "ephemeral art" is general) by/for people who little knowledge of or experience with the same. Someone's a bit out of their league. As one of the YouTube commenters remarked: "'Justin Bieber played 800% slower'is miles better than this."

So does this make Philipsz's piece the Turner's equiv of Mark Zuckerberg? Dunno. But as far as such stuff goes, this seems to have been the hands-down favorite of this past year...

Of course, the artist here isn't British; so it's neither here nor there as far as the Turner's concerned. But at the very least, I think it demonstrates it proves that it's possible for something can have a lot of traction in the sound art community yet still have popular appeal.

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