The Loudspeaker: Transformative and Tactile Aspects of the Object

by Jason Wright

Institution: Victoria University of Wellington
Year: 2013
Keywords: Loudspeaker; Sonic art; Tactile sound
Record ID: 1313927
Full text PDF: http://hdl.handle.net/10063/3004


Traditionally the loudspeaker has been viewed as a functional object. Whilst also serving as a design artifact and object of consumer fetishism, it is subject to the overriding purpose of the reproduction and replication of sound material. However, within sound-based arts, other understandings and uses of the loudspeaker are emerging. This object is now being recognised for its ability to transform sound, taking a proactive stance within sound-based arts. Through exploration of the psychoacoustic effects of the object, the loudspeaker’s ability to transform the musical object is being recognised. At the opposing pole, through physical interaction and exploiting physical aspects of the object, the loudspeaker becomes instrumental in creating its own musical objects. My research delves into examples of sound and sonic art where the loudspeaker is exploited for its aural, physical and visual characteristics; where specific qualities of loudspeakers, as well as various transformations of the loudspeaker’s physical construction and function, are integral to a particular work. Whilst examining sound installation, sculpture and performance, I will also be unpacking the loudspeaker as an object that permeates everyday life, not least within a consumerist context, and how we have come to understand and listen to loudspeakers, looking at the effects this may have on our perception of sound and listening more generally.