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BOOK LAUNCH: Douglas Kahn's "Earth Sound Earth Signal: Energies and Earth Magnitude in the Arts"

BOOK LAUNCH: Douglas Kahn's "Earth Sound Earth Signal: Energies and Earth Magnitude in the Arts"

Event dates

Thursday, 7 November, 2013

Event times


Research areas

Celebrate the launch of the publication Earth Sound Earth Signal (UC Press 2013) by Douglas Kahn, eminent international sound scholar and Professor of Media and Innovation at the NIEA National Institute for Experimental Arts. The book is a study of energies in aesthetics and the arts, from the birth of modern communications in the nineteenth century to the global transmissions of the present day. It rethinks energy at a global scale, from brainwaves to outer space, through detailed discussions of musicians, artists and scientists such as Alvin Lucier, Edmond Dewan, Pauline Oliveros, John Cage, James Turrell, Robert Barry, Joyce Hinterding, and many others.

The event will include sound performances by Joyce Hinterding, Peter Blamey and an autonomous work by Emily Morandini. Copies of the book will be available for purchase at a special discount price only on the night of the launch.


More info

Reviews of the book
"Douglas Kahn's Earth Sound Earth Signal delivers a dazzlingly innovative study of how avant-garde music and art have made the planet itself audible over the last 200 years: the soil, the air, the atmosphere, electromagnetic radiation, and wireless communications become objects of playful scientific inquiry and aesthetic enjoyment in works from Henry David Thoreau to Alvin Lucier, John Cage, Pauline Oliveros, Robert Barry, and Joyce Hinterding. Earth Sound Earth Signal unfolds new histories of communication, of technology, of science, and of experimental aesthetics in a unique fusion of sharp-eyed scholarship with manifesto-style punch lines. At stake is not just aesthetics or history, but a new idea of planetary nature: Earth perceived through global and local waves, radiations, and energy flows that humans cannnot see but that become audible through media from rocks and winds to electronic circuitry. At a time when older notions of nature no longer grasp the new global technonatures and biocultures of the twenty-first century, Kahn's brilliantly insightful manifesto of 'Aelectrosonics' makes nature resonate anew in an entirely different key and at a different scale: It shows how Earth sings and the atmosphere makes music. This planetary techno-music is a must-hear for anyone interested in experimental aesthetics, environmentalism, or globalization."
—Ursula K. Heise, author of Sense of Place and Sense of Planet: The Environmental Imagination of the Global

"It is rare that the history of the arts and techno-sciences are so successfully blended as in Douglas Kahn's magisterial survey of how the perception of natural electromagnetic phenomena entered the scientific, artistic and popular imagination. Kahn documents the inquiries of Thomas Watson, Thoreau, scientists and amateurs in the 19th and 20th centuries and moves on to Alvin Lucier, John Cage and contemporary composers and scientific inquiry. This is a fundamental text for all collaborations between the arts and sciences today." 

—Roger Malina, Professor of Art and Technology and Professor Of Physics, University of Texas at Dallas


Galleries UNSW,
College of Fine Arts
Cnr Greens Road and Oxford Street