“The ear is condemned to receive everything that comes within its range.” Georg Simmel, 1908
Composers Dieter Schnebel and Hans Tutschku, sound artist Christina Kubisch, video artist Asli Sungu and the geographer Geograph Michael Flitner have accepted the invitation of the Goethe-Institut Montreal to participate in the interdisciplinary art project “Noise and Silence.” This series will continue through the end of 2009 with additional events, public interventions and artwork in Quebec, Halifax and Montreal.
These artists tackle one of the most interesting phenomenons of modern times: noise. Since the Society for the Suppression of Unnecessary Sound was founded in New York City in 1906, many efforts have been made especially in large cities of the western hemisphere to regulate urban noise and limit it to certain zones through regulation and urban planning. The implementation of these regulations often led to social and political controversies. Since its introduction in 1908, the earplugs “Ohropax” have been used by individuals as a classic remedy against noise.
Today there are new forms of acoustic pollution, which are not only an unwanted side effect of our industrialized living environment but also the conscious utilization of public space for sound propagation. At the same time, by using gadgets such as the iPod, digital technology allows individuals to secure their own sound space. Sound artists, urban planners, and architects openly confront the acoustic environment. One way of bridging the gap between the culturally tinted categories of noise and silence is to appropriate and redesign everyday acoustic life. The first step is to heighten people’s perception of sounds, noises and acoustic messages.