Posts Tagged 'Conceptual Art'

The Importance of Disturbance

Thomas Knox Arnold

Thursday 29 April, 2010, 3.30-5.30pm

Presentation Room (UTS Bldg. 3, Lvl. 5, Rm. 510)

Presentation: 10mins.

“Corporate R&D has become mostly “D”: the development of products. Hardly any large corporations have “inventing” as a job category” – Nathan Myhrvold writing in the Harvard Business Review, Feb 18 2010.

Accelerating shifts in focus towards economic concerns, and shifts away from focusing upon people, education, invention and thought are framing the future in an increasingly grey light.

The primary function of products is for them to be desired by “the market”, that the products sell. Non-communicative and confusing jargon is being used, in effect, to deceive. “The market” would appear to be an entity in its own right, and not a construct created, made and maintained by people. People are secondary to the processes around them, and, broadly, the people not only happily engage, but they have some kind of “faith” or “hope” that everything is for the best. The current/recent “financial crisis” and the “war on terror” serve as good examples that all is not as it appears. There is a great need for thinking and provocative art that challenges the ideas that are increasingly governing the world, under the guise of “democracy”, “free markets” and the accumulation of wealth.

Sound artists and Noise musicians produce, broadly, products that are not created to be sold to the greatest number of people. They are created because the artist wishes to create, to invent. The artist wishes to challenge those that engage with the work. The work is often complex, dense, intense, disturbing, confounding. Such work can only exist as a form of opposition (not necessarily a denial) to most products and creative work that is produced to be accessible or desirable to the greatest number of people. Can art that is reasonably inaccessible function to provoke change? If it can’t, what is the primary purpose of such art?

Discussing the increasing importance of disturbance as manifested in broadly confounding, extreme, dissonant and disturbing sonic art and noise music. Highlighting both social and cultural need for disturbance and provocation, via the discussion of recent events, primarily political and economic, and tying these recent events to the production of sonic art and noise music.

Focusing on the work of a diverse range of sonic artists and noise musicians, as well as some non-sonic artists, to illustrate examples. Discussing both the work and practice of the artists, as well as their opinions of their work as a form of activism, of disturbance.

Primiarily a producer of polemic and dissonant sonic art. Based in the Blue Mountains. Bachelor of Electronic Arts + Honours @ UWS. Currently a 3rd year PhD candidate. Specifically interested in extreme and/or disturbing sound art, and the growing importantance of such art.


A two day forum of creative research, experimentation and practice held from April 28-30 at the University of Technology, Sydney, and Serial Space Gallery, Chippendale.

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