As Queer Listening: An Interview with Sergei Tcherepnin

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Sergei Tcherepnin, Ear Tone Box (Pied Piper Disappears), 2013. Microsuede, wood, zinc, silk, transducers, amplifier, iPod. Image courtesy Murray Guy. From a poster by Center for Experimental Lectures. 

In January 2014, the artist Sergei Tcherepnin participated in a lecture series organized by the Center for Experimental Lectures at Recess. The evening was dedicated to investigating sound as an artistic material, both material and psychological, and also featured philosopher Christoph Cox. While Cox discussed the idea of sound as a pre-linguistic material, Tcherepnin took the opportunity to discuss an aspect of sound practice that remains largely unheard: queer sound and queer listening.

In this dual performance-lecture, "In Search of Queer Sound," Tcherepnin proposed that sound, and the process of listening, exists beyond pure materiality: listening as a social process, one that is not only natural, but also cultural. He suggested that much like linguistic comprehension, our perception of sound is socially coded.

Six months later, I spoke with Tcherepnin to clarify some of the points made during his lecture, to discuss some of his recent exhibitions, and to understand how the concept of queering sound informs his artistic practice, especially as sound continues to rise as an artistic medium and curatorial model.

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July 31, 2014. Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn, NY—Bedford Hills Café.

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Sound is Here: An Interview with Barbara London

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The Museum of Modern Art is making headlines in the wake of its recently opened exhibition, Soundings: A Contemporary Score (recently reviewed for Rhizome by Sam Hart). Organized by Barbara London, associate curator in the department of media and performance, and Leora Morinis, curatorial assistant, the exhibition stands as the museum's first major presentation of sound art.

Soundings thus marks a pivotal moment in the history of sound in the arts, as one of the world's most influential art institutions converges with a longstanding tradition of sound-based artistic practice for the first time. I met with London after seeing the show to discuss the exhibition and her curatorial process. The following is an extract from the full transcript of our conversation. 

Camille Norment, Triplight (2008). Microphone cage, stand, light, electronics. Courtesy the artist.

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