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Rob Mullender, Said Object, 2010, still from a color video, 14 minutes 7 seconds. From “Non-Cochlear Sound.

“Non-Cochlear Sound”

Diapason

Rob Mullender, Said Object, 2010, still from a color video, 14 minutes 7 seconds. From “Non-Cochlear Sound.

Marcel Duchamp notoriously dismissed modern painting as merely visual, calling instead for an “antiretinal” art that would “put painting once again at the service of the mind.” In his recent book In the Blink of an Ear: Toward a Non-Cochlear Sonic Art (2009), Seth Kim-Cohen levels a parallel charge against sound art. From its inception in the late 1940s, Kim-Cohen argues, sound art has been almost exclusively concerned with sound as sensuous material and hence has failed to take the Conceptual turn that has marked the visual arts over the past four decades. The “non-cochlear” practice called for in the book’s subtitle would cure sound art of its aural fixation and instead place it in the service of “politics, economics, sociality, gender, and power.” What would such an art sound like (or how would it otherwise manifest itself)? To find out, Kim-Cohen issued an open call and received

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