Wireless Imagination: Sound, Radio, and the Avant-Garde
Doughas Kahn & Gregory Whitehead
Wireless Imagination addresses perhaps the most conspicuous silence in contemporary theory and art criticism, the silence that surrounds the polyphonous histories of audio art. Composed of both original essays and several newly translated documents, this book provides a close audition to some of the most telling and soundful moments in the “deaf century,” conceived and performed by such artists as Raymond Roussel, Antonin Artaud, Marcel Duchamp, André Breton, John Cage, Hugo Ball, Kurt Weill, and William Burroughs.From the late nineteenth century to the 1960s, the essays uncover the fantastic acoustic scenarios projected through the writings of Raymond Roussel; the aural objects of Marcel Duchamp; Dziga Vertov’s proposal for a phonographic “laboratory of hearing”; the ZAUM language and Radio Sorcery conjured by Velimir Khlebnikov; the iconoclastic castaways of F. T. Marinetti’s La Radia; the destroyed musics of the Surrealists; the noise bands of Russolo, Foregger, Varèse, and Cage; the contorted radio talk show delivered by Antonin Artaud; the labyrinthine inner journeys invoked by German Hörspiel; and the razor contamination and cut-up ventriloquism of William S. Burroughs.Douglas Kahn is Associate Professor of Media Arts at Arizona State University. Gregory Whitehead is an audio artist who produces radio transmissions and events.