“In our noisy culture, - not only the jets above our heads or the enormous trucks on our roads, but also the psychic noise generated by the bankruptcy of our institutions, the social conventions, of morals, all this crescendo of a decaying civilization - in this culture of the noise, it seems that one can still only find peace in the middle of one larger din, in which one creates his own individual sound and a new possibility of direct communication. ”
Sound as plastic matter: if the history of the art of the twentieth century were rich in changes and schisms, the incorporation of sound in the visual was one of the important revolutions of artistic creation, even if it means becoming a new standard of the contemporary art, where it would be from now on “unthinkable to imagine a collective exhibition without a sound installation. ” However, the use of sound data could not have been accomplished without the greater use of technology in the past century, particularly consequent research with regard to the reproduction, the treatment and the diffusion of sound, like the appearance and the rapid progress of electroacoustic techniques and the exploration of timbres. Consequently, the plastic practices which result from this can have multiple ends: sound sculpture, sound installation, radiophonic support, sound environment, performance, recorded sound, the indexing of methods and musical representations, multi-media and new technologies, phonography, etc.
In order to be able to peacefully engage our research into the presence of the musical sign in the plastic field, today it is a question of us giving a progress report on the sound postures and of defining the attitudes which can induce the use - impossible to circumvent - of media resulting from recent technologies in the plastic treatment of sound: Which creative margin offers the use of these media? With which aesthetic autonomy can it be claimed that sound works? How should the main medium be considered? Similarly: What are the semantic limits of the plastic and musical fields in this case?
Thus we engaged in a classification without giving the affect of the possible attitudes of the plastic act, incorporating the sound and claim their possibilities with a relative exhaustiveness, at least from the point of view of the visual arts, being our field of study of origin. This argument can have a reducing appearance that brings us down to reducing the value of intervals and the description of a park of hybrid postures. In the same way, it is essential to keep in memory the proclaimed autonomy of the artists, who are the last to wish that their practices be reduced to the canonical reference marks of a discipline.
We chose three poles of reflexion: the video soundtrack as placed sound (composition), sound devices as "mise en espace" (organization) and the disc as cultural product (diversion); three supporting arts. Among the attempts at classification of sound postures, we are aware of that of German Rene Block, whose musicological configuration recalls an advance of the Pythagorean design of acoustic environments with a real clearness of connection. Our reflexion is of a different order, through the point of view of the plastic, and a prevalence of media in the practice.
Equally, we will articulate part of our reflexion - so, the relationship with musical fields - in a diagram which can emphasize the exchanges between the practice of the supports concerned and erudite and popular music, as it is from the point of view of the tools, the methods, the repertory or the lexicon.