Contemporary musicians and sound artists are indebted to the 19th century German physicist Herman Helmholtz (1821-1894) who authored On the Sensations of Tone as a Physiological Basis for the Theory of Music (1862). In the book, Helmholtz explored the mathematical, physiological, and perception effects of sound: “We perceive that generally, a noise is accompanied by a rapid alternation of different kinds of sensations of sound. Think, for example, of the rattling of a carriage over granite paving stones, the splashing or seething of a waterfall or of the waves of the sea, the rustling of leaves in a wood.”
Artistic disciplines examining sound have emerged since Helmholtz’s research, “the waves of the sea” has turned into acoustic ecology that examines how sound is an integrative principle in human and natural environments. Field recordings have proliferated in recent years due to the availability and portability of high quality recording equipment, enticing composers and sound artists to take their studios to the edge of the wilds or down the street.
The exhibition FOOT NOTES: On the Sensations of Tone and two public performance events draw together nine artists/composers whose works poetically map sound that reflect and emerge from their interaction with the natural environment.
Featuring work by: Una Lee, Annea Lockwood, Chris H. Lynn, Robert Macfarlane , Ed Osborn, David Rothenberg and Chris Watson.