Reading and Writing Sound Workshop
with Seth Kim-Cohen
31 July 2019
Hone your skills in writing about sound in this workshop with renowned artist, musician, and writer, Seth Kim-Cohen.
Workshop participants will read music criticism and sound studies texts, looking closely at the process of listening, thinking, and writing. Together with Kim-Cohen, you will examine texts in intellectual and poetic registers, attempting to come to grips with how sense—in both senses—is made.
Then try your hand at producing your own texts and discover how language can be used as a tool for understanding and experiencing sound.
Workshop spaces are limited. Bookings are essential.
Should you feel unable to attend this event for financial reasons or if there is anything we can do to make it easier for you to attend, please get in touch by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling 07 3252 5750.
About this workshop:
Famously, somebody once said, “Writing about music is like dancing about architecture.” Sometimes it was Elvis Costello who said it. Sometimes it was Laurie Anderson, or Thelonious Monk, or Frank Zappa. Once in a while it was Brian Eno. (But, let’s face it, if someone else had said it first, Brian Eno eventually would have gotten around to saying it again.) Based on other people’s exhaustive research, * it appears – in actuality – to have been comedian Martin Mull who actually said it. By now, the quip has assumed the form of a truism. Even professional music critics throw their hands up and admit that their life’s work is a fool’s errand.
This workshop doesn’t buy it. For starters, in either sense of the word about, all dancing is about architecture. If by about one means “on the subject of,” or “concerning,” then it seems a given that dancing must always concern itself with the architecture in which it is danced. Any dance necessarily tells us something about the architecture that constrains it. And if by about one means “to express location in a particular place,” then surely every dancer dances about the architecture. One dances about the bedroom as much as one dances about the ballroom.
This workshop will address itself to the “aboutness” of writing about sound.
Kim-Cohen has provided a reading list for workshop participants here, however reading these texts before the workshop is not essential.
Seth Kim-Cohen is an artist, musician, and writer who makes as little distinction between these categories as he can get away with. He is author of Against Ambience (2013), In The Blink of an Ear: Toward A Non-Cochlear Sonic Art (2009), and One Reason To Live: Conversations About Music (2006). His gallery-based practice, which Artforum describes as “collegial and awkward, a real-life mistake framed by a semifictitious context”, has been presented on all but three continents. His bands Nil/Resplendent, The Fire Show, and Number One Cup have released eight full-length albums since 1995. Kim-Cohen is Associate Professor of Art History, Theory, and Criticism at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.