On Conceptual Sonic Art; Extract form In the Blink of an Ear by Seth Kim - Cohen
If a non-retinal visual art is liberated to ask question that the eye alone cannot answer, then a non-cochlear sonic art appeals to exigencies out of earshot. But the eye and the ear are not denied or discarded. A conceptual sonic art would necessarily engage both the non-cochlear and the cochlear, and the constituting trace of each in the other.
One probably does not have to chose between two lines of thought. Rather, one has to mediate upon the circularity which makes them pass into one another indefinitely. And also, by rigorously repeating this circle in its proper historical possibility, perhaps to let some elliptical displacement be produced in the difference of repetition: a deficient displacement, doubtless, but deficient in a way which is not yet - or is no longer - absence, negativity, non-Being, lack, silence.
Jacques Derrida, Form and Meaning: A Note on the Phenomenology of Language, Chicago Press 1982, p.173
The non in non-cochlear is not a negation, not an erasure, not as Derrida puts it absence, negativity, non-Being, lack. it is most definitely not silence. The non-cochlear and the cochlear pass into one another indefinitely. In what follows there is no suggestion of eradication of phenomena. Just as with the conceptual turn in the gallery arts, a non-cochlear sonic art would not - indeed could not - turn a deaf ear to the world. conceptual art has been dealing with the problems of materiality and documentation for forty years. They are still in play, in part because any suggestion that we can move throughly beyond material, beyond phenomena, has been shown to be folly.
In the visual vernacular, concepts need to be brought to light. Thinking in terms of sound, in order to be recognised. ideas must be voiced, thoughts composed, strategies orchestrated. Images, objects, and sounds are indispensable. A non-cochlear sonic art responds to demands, conventions, forms, and content not restricted to the realm of the sonic. A non-cochlear sonic art maintains a healthy skepticism toward the notion of sound-in-itself. When it - whatever it is - is identified without question and without remainder, we have landed on a metaphysics, a belief system, a blind (and deaf) faith. The greatest defence against such complacency is the act of questioning. conceptual art art about the cultural act of definition - paradigmatically, but by no means exclusively, the definition of "art", it the aesthetic mode of such questioning. In questioning how and why the sonic arts might constitute themselves.
I hope to lead the ear away from the solipsism of the internal voice and into a conversation with the cross talk of the world.