Friday, October 12, 2012

Edited by Michał Libera and Lidia Klein

A truly excellent compendium, assembled to accompany an exhibition by Katarzyna Krakowiak at the 13th International Architecture Exhibition in Venice, dealing with the intersection of sound and structures. The selections range remarkably widely, from Samuel Coleridge to Toshiya Tsunoda, but are almost always on point, offering historical, theoretical, political and philosophical observations on sound as it's experienced within architecture.

So there's a fascinating piece, by Karin Bijsterveld on the lineage of noise prohibitions and safeguards in Holland as cities became more crowded and industrialized and one by John Locke (not the philosopher) on eavesdropping. Brilliant works by Shelley Trower on street noises and the cataloguing of same in 19th century Britain and one by Lamberto Tronchin surveying architecture's attempts to enhance sound within. A very fine essay by David Toop, culled from his "Sinister Resonance" volume ("Architectural Sound") on the mysterious ways sound travels through building materials and the psychological effects therein has special...resonance. One could go on.

Interspersed among these are brief extracts of thoughts from sound artists including Toshiya Tsunoda, Jean-Luc Guionnet, Alvin Lucier, Eric La Casa and others, as well as very intriguing conversations with Bernhard Leitner and Mark Bain, causing this reader to become quite interested in experiencing their work.

Unlike most such collections, there's nary a disappointing entry to be found--a seriously solid volume and one well worth seeking out for anyone remotely interested in the field. Highly recommended.

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