Art History and Sound
Workshop series: The Listening Art Historian


Reproducing Sound – Reinventing Image (workshop 2)

Thursday, 14 March 2013

10.00 - 12.00, Research Forum South Room

man at desk listening_pink disc highlights his ear to show this
Illustration based on: Anon. Aby Warburg, 1912

Speaker(s): Lauren Applebaum (University of Illinois, USA), Brett Brehm (Northwestern University, USA), Andrew Cappetta (City University of New York, USA), Adeena Mey (University of Lausanne; and ECAL/University of Art and Design Lausanne, Switzerland)

Ticket/entry details:The event is free and open to all. There will be no advance booking for this workshop and places will be available on a ‘first-come, first-served’ basis.

Organised by: Irene Noy and Michaela Zoschg with Professor  Katie Scott (The Courtauld Institute of Art)

Art historians constantly encounter traces of sound. These can take the form of notes in an illuminated manuscript, a textual echo of past noise and lost voices, or depictions of instruments, singers and dancers, captured on panel, canvas, paper, film or in wood, marble and bronze or spaces that have been specifically designed and built to embrace and amplify sound: pulpits, choir stalls, opera houses, the floor of the stock exchange. The aural is continuously intertwined with visual arts as content or context. In the 20th and 21st centuries especially artists have variously incorporated sounds, live and recorded, in their performances, happenings and multi-media installations putting into question the silence and fixity of visual art.

As a result of the collapse in the Enlightenment of the Renaissance notion of the unity of the arts and the substitution of a modern division of temporal from spatial art forms, art historians have generally limited their research and interpretation exclusively to the visual aspects of art and have disregarded the existence, never mind the significance, of the aural. Despite the recent broadening of art history’s disciplinary boundaries to include ‘non-traditional’ media as well as related fields, art historians are primarily trained to analyse and explain the non-ephemeral dimensions of art. When the visual approaches the transient qualities of the aural it raises problems of methodology and terminology.

This workshop series aims to explore both historical and contemporary instances of sound in art history, as well as some of the theoretical and methodological questions arising from this preoccupation. It is designed to provide an open platform for all art historians concerned with collecting, analysing, interpreting and describing sound(s) to meet and discuss ways of hearing visual art. It will be hosted at The Courtauld Institute of Art on three different occasions throughout the academic year 2012/13. Each workshop will consist of four papers that will function as catalysts for a subsequent round table discussion, and each workshop will address the dynamics existing between aurality and art historical material, tools and methods from a different angle.


  • Brett Brehm (Northwestern University, USA): Listening to the Nineteenth-century City

  • Lauren Applebaum (University of Illinois, USA): Visualising Radio: Teague’s Nocturne (1934) and the Façade of Futurity

  • Andrew Cappetta (City University of New York, USA): Attitude not Aptitude: Behavioralist Art Pedagogy and Underground Music in Britain

  • Adeena Mey (University of Lausanne and ECAL/University of Art and Design Lausanne, CH): Listening and Looking beside. On the ‘Parasonic’ and the ‘Paracinematic’

download programme Download programme

Download abstracts Download abstracts

Download report of the first workshop Download report (workshop 1)


A conference co-organised with Aberystwyth Arts Centre to take place on 4 –6 September 2013, at The School of Art, Aberystwyth University

download CFP (The NOISES of art) Download CFP (The NOISES of art)

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