Noise, Water, Meat: A History of Voice, Sound, and Aurality in the Arts

Paperback | August 24, 2001

byDouglas Kahn

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This interdisciplinary history and theory of sound in the arts reads the twentieth century by listening to it--to the emphatic and exceptional sounds of modernism and those on the cusp of postmodernism, recorded sound, noise, silence, the fluid sounds of immersion and dripping, and the meat voices of viruses, screams, and bestial cries. Focusing on Europe in the first half of the century and the United States in the postwar years, Douglas Kahn explores aural activities in literature, music, visual arts, theater, and film. Placing aurality at the center of the history of the arts, he revisits key artistic questions, listening to the sounds that drown out the politics and poetics that generated them. Artists discussed include Antonin Artaud, George Brecht, William Burroughs, John Cage, Sergei Eisenstein, Fluxus, Allan Kaprow, Michael McClure, Yoko Ono, Jackson Pollock, Luigi Russolo, and Dziga Vertov.

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This interdisciplinary history and theory of sound in the arts reads the twentieth century by listening to it--to the emphatic and exceptional sounds of modernism and those on the cusp of postmodernism, recorded sound, noise, silence, the fluid sounds of immersion and dripping, and the meat voices of viruses, screams, and bestial cries...

Douglas KAHN is founding Director of Technocultural Studies at University of California at Davis. He is the author of Noise, Water, Meat: A History of Sound in the Arts (MIT Press, 1999).

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:465 pages, 9 × 7 × 1.25 inPublished:August 24, 2001Publisher:The MIT PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0262611724

ISBN - 13:9780262611725

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Douglas Kahn's Noise, Water, Meat: A History of Voice, Sound, and Aurality in the Arts clearly establishes his position as the primary historian of sound in twentieth-century avant-garde expression. If the Victorian era was quiet and refined, modernism was energetic and noisy, both visually and aurally. Kahn's study awakens us for the first time to the centrality of that sound in the modernists' definition of themselves against what has gone before. Here solid historical research his joined to subtle, sophisticated analysis, informed by a post-structuralist sensitivity to issues of gender and race. And Kahn's prose is a delight to read -- as rich with meaning and beautifully nuanced as fine literary expression itself.