Lecture: Seth Kim-Cohen
- When 8 Aug - 8 Aug 2019
Cnr Oxford St & Greens Rd Paddington NSW 2021
(02) 8936 0888
UNSW Galleries, UNSW Art & Design Research Forum, and Liquid Architecture present a lecture by Seth Kim-Cohen (Art Institute of Chicago).
Forms don’t precede reception fully formed, but are formed by the ways in which they are received, when, where, in what contexts, and by whom.
In this lecture, Seth Kim-Cohen considers recordings that are unlike musical recordings, podcasts, or audiobooks which are distributed to a listening audience, traveling to, and often with, a listener who had no hand in their production. Alternatively, Nixon’s tapes, produced as bargaining chips, blackmails, coercions, were meant to go unlistened to until such time as Nixon needed them. As we now know, the tapes were leveraged not against his unwitting interlocutors, but against their producer, Nixon himself. Christine Kozlov’s tapes, part of Conceptual Art’s first wave, are recordings trapped in acoustic amber, similarly made never to be listened to. They exist as the accounting of a bound and gagged hostage (the recorder), held for the eventual attention of an unidentified eavesdropping ear. In the late-1960s and early-70s, the form of information is shaped, calibrated, modulated – one might even say created – by new technologies of mechanical reproduction. In both state surveillance and in Conceptual Art tape recorders and photocopiers transformed the value and meaning of information.
Introduction by Dr Douglas Kahn, Professor of Media and Innovation, UNSW Art & Design.
Response by Dr Heather Contant, PhD Art Theory graduate, UNSW Art & Design.
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.
Dr Heather Contant is a white, cisgender woman who lives and works on Gadigal land. She researches and participates in communities that come together to explore the possibilities of electromagnetic media in an artistic context. She also lectures in media art and audio production at the University of New South Wales | Art & Design in Sydney, Australia, where she is a member of the Sound, Energies & Environments research group. Her writings have appeared in publications, such as Leonardo Music Journal, the Journal of Sonic Studies, and the book, Transnationalizing Radio Research: New Approaches to an Old Medium. Her doctoral thesis entitled, Electromagnetic Constellations: Walter Benjamin and the Collectivist Tendencies in Radio won the 2018 Dean’s award for Excellence in Higher Degree Research. Additionally, Contant creates sound art and performs in the Sydney City Electronic Modular Ensemble (SCHEME) and in a new duo called Slit Sensilla.
This lecture is part of a series of events programmed to launch a new Art Theory major as part of the Bachelor of Fine Arts program at UNSW Art & Design. The BFA (Art Theory) will welcome its first cohort in 2020. The Art Theory major builds on the existing strength of Art Theory at UNSW Art & Design, and allows students to examine and engage in the dynamic interplay between theory and practice shaping contemporary art and culture.
This UNSW Art & Design Research Forum is organised by Dr Verónica Tello and Miranda Samuels.
Seth Kim-Cohen is presented in Australia by Liquid Architecture with the support of Melbourne Law School and the Digital Citizens Research Network.