Boundary Notions: A Sonic Art Portfolio

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Boundary Notions: A Sonic Art Portfolio

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Title: Boundary Notions: A Sonic Art Portfolio
Author: Fure, Ashley Rose
Citation: Fure, Ashley Rose. 2013. Boundary Notions: A Sonic Art Portfolio. Doctoral dissertation, Harvard University.
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Abstract: I offer this dissertation as a survey and a story: a survey of my work across the field of sonic art and a story of my progressive compulsion toward sound that conveys touch. This haptic sensibility sharpens from Susurrus (2006) through Soma (2012), manifesting in a fixation on the impact of sound on bodies and the impact of bodies on sound. Both the visceral sensation of hearing and the manner in which movement imprints onto acoustic phenomena concern me. My musical forms are conceived not as abstract arrangements of objects (or notes) but as complex physical confrontations that produce audible byproducts. I compose primarily with chaotic spectra, mixing raw noise from found objects with extended instrumental techniques. These timbres front an acoustic wildness intentionally abated in conventional instrumental practice. And yet, the precision of classical instruments opens avenues of transformation closed to unmediated noise. Virtuosity and crudeness face-off in my work, circling an aesthetic region between embellishment and fact, between sound as a carrier of aesthetic intent and sound as a subsidiary effect of action. The ten works presented in this portfolio include eight compositions scored for a range of ensembles, from soloist to orchestra, with and without electronics, as well as two interactive multimedia installations. Dramatic links between physical movement and musical form arise across this output. In my installations, I posit causal relationships between visible stimuli (spinning strings, spatial structures, moving bodies) and resultant sounds. In my electroacoustic works, I attend to the implied weight of spatialized sound – as though a gesture’s trajectory through arrayed speakers were informed by gravity. In my acoustic music, I bring the muscular strain behind instrumental technique to the perceptual fore. My professional activities shift regularly between concert music and installation art and between acoustic and electroacoustic contexts. Passing between these genres stretches the boundaries of my creative practice and forces me to consistently reframe notions of ritual and form. Within each platform, I aim to stage visceral aesthetic encounters that, as Francis Bacon once hoped for his paint, bypass the brain and go directly to the nervous system.
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