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  • Conference: Association for Art History 2018

    Conference: Association for Art History 2018

    Heading out tomorrow to speak at the Association for Art History's 2018 Conference at the Courtauld Insititue of Art in London, UK. I'll be presenting on Thursday, April 5 as part of a session entitled "Soundscape: New Challenges, New Horizons" with a paper about Alan Nakagawa's work Peace Resonance. If you aren't familiar with Alan and his work, do yourself a favor and check him out - he's one of the most generous, affable, creative, and committed people I've come across in long time. 

    Here's an abstract:


    Soundscape, Memory, and Meaning: Thoughts on Alan Nakagawa’s “Peace Resonance”

    Sound artist Alan Nakagawa is engaged in a three-part project that manipulates field recordings made in culturally significant constructed spaces. The second of these pieces, Peace Resonance, features soundscape audio recordings made in October 2016 of the interior space of Japan’s Hiroshima Peace Memorial. In November of 2017, these recordings will be performed inside the Wendover Hangar in Utah, US—the former hangar of the B-29 bombers that carried out the atomic bombings and subsequent destruction of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

    The work may be construed as auto-biographical as Nakagawa’s family immigrated to the US from Hiroshima in 1957. But more than demonstrating a narrative connection, “Peace Resonance” expresses a material invagination of a space that, conceptually and aurally, manifests the memory of unimaginable destruction in the space that harbored its messenger. But what, in addition to this overt symbolic outcome, accompanies this sonic juxtaposition? And what might this sonic intervention demonstrate about the significance of sound in spaces?

    This paper takes seriously assertions made by sound and spatial theorists that social reality is intrinsically spatially inscribed; that sounds are vital to constructions of identity, history, and meaning. Deploying memory and phenomenal experience in a material, experiential manner, the work superimposes the social reality of both spaces. I show that by structuring meaningful traces of one soundscape inside the other, Nakagawa bridges not only the ostensive distance between spaces, but between cultures, and makes previously abstract violence more tangible.