sound art (alex keller)

Surround Sound Transmissions (2002)

Held at Polestar Music Gallery, 18 May 2002, sponsored in part by the Seattle Arts Commission.

My curator’s statement:

Multiple channel, or surround, sound has always been a means of expression in the world of sonic art. The interest in creating multi-channel work may come from the the possibility of having more than two coherent sound-thoughts happen at any given time. It may come from impulse to create spaces that cannot exist in a monophonic or stereophonic plane. Whatever the inspiration, it is an idea that has been in existence long before surround playback for the at- home listener was remotely possible.

Until very recently, consumer audio media have been focused on two-channel sound, like the human two-channel hearing apparatus. Artists wishing to create multi-channel works had to cobble together or modify existing equipment to create and reproduce them. The recent adoption of DVD as a consumer release medium for video and audio has made it possible to create multi- channel work that can be played back not just on custom sound systems, but in almost any home theater. This has made creating, presenting, and documenting multi-channel works much more practical.

Early in 2002 I announced to the Sonicabal that I would be presenting a multi- channel work in late May, and any artists who wanted to present older multi- channel works or create new ones would be welcome to participate. Tonight you will hear the works of those who did. The pieces represent a variety of approaches, interests, the diversity of the Sonicabal and the willingness of its members to explore new ideas.