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What Is Sound Art?
Curator's Note

2012 Exhibition, Art Lab Fort Collins, April 20-29
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Walk on a Street and Listen, 2010-2011
Ahmet Kizilay (Istanbul, Turkey)
Computer, Web page with geo-cached sound recording, Android app
Artist Website: http://www.ahmetkizilay.com/

     See artist statement below.
Note: Sounds are presented in the context of the exhibition, and so the sound of each piece mingles with the others.

    Click this link to view the web page as it appeared in the exhibition.

The following text is from http://www.ahmetkizilay.com/sounds/istik/index.html:
    Istiklal Avenue is the most crowded public open space in Istanbul. It contains countless shops, cafes, bars and night clubs. It is about 2 kilometers long. It is such a vibrant and heterogenous avenue that the musical ambiance is constantly changing along the path, thanks to the the constant buzz of people, music blaring out the shops, street performers and sellers. This piece of work explores this flux of evanescent soundscape and the musical identity of various loci along the avenue.

The idea for this piece is inspired by a recording of a radio conversation between Morton Feldman and John Cage. In the dialogue, we hear Feldman's frustration with multiple radios playing loudly on the beach. John Cage responds with his characteristic humor that this is why he made his piece with 12 radios. As a result, everytime he finds himself bombarded by sounds from radios, he is pleased to think that he is listening to his own piece. I share a similar frustration with Feldman everyday since I have to walk on Istiklal Avenue to get to my apartment. When I am on Istiklal Avenue, unlike 99% of the people, I am not interested in killing time walking around, window shopping or drinking in a pub. That's why, all the sounds and people and the shops are intrude and obstruct my personal experience on the avenue. This is a simple project/thought experiment/state of mind to deal with this experience.

In 1960 composer LeMonte Young came up with his famous composition #10, Draw a line and follow it. This brief instruction aimed to serve as a source of inspiration for their own creative work. It can be realized in any way, entirely up to the artist's interpretation. This project is directly derived from Young's idea: Walk on a street and Listen. The performer is expected to find a busy public space like Istiklal Avenue or Champs Elysees and walk from one point to another at a natural pace as steady as possible. In the meantime, the performer should listen to and be cognizant of and identify the sound events taking place around her.

It is worth noting that the accompanying audio and visual elements above are merely for symbolic/presentational purposes. After all, this is in essence a personal piece: one that will be unique and internal to the performer. The performer moves through a plasma of sonic material to perceive the sound event taking place along the avenue. The outcome of this movement is not manifest to the potential observers of the performance, namely the audience. In other words, the audience is the performer.

The map helps us to conceptualize the significance of movement in this piece. The sound events along the avenue are virtually static as most of the sound sources (such as shops, street performers, sellers) are stationary. In order to perform/to realize sound, the performer has to walk/change position. So, it is not exactly on the time axis, but on the displacement axis that we observe the change of musical information. In other words, the sonic data is a function of displacement. As a result, the literal two dimensional map above gains a third dimension to represent the sound information.

Download The Android App

There is an accompanying Android application available on the Android Market, which can record and playback audio with the corresponding coordinates. It displays the current location of the sound file on the map. You can access some preliminary recordings with the app, which you can view by installing it on your Android phone. The app can be found on this link. And sample recordings are on this link. Better quality recordings are coming soon.

    Unless otherwise specified photos are by Carrie Hodges & C. Reider and sounds were recorded by C. Reider. Creative Commons applies to the photos and sound recordings only, attribution should be made to the artist as well as the photographer or sound recordist.
Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
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