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Sonic FluxSound, Art, and Metaphysics$
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Christoph Cox

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780226543031

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: May 2019

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226543208.001.0001

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A Brief History of the Sonic Flux

A Brief History of the Sonic Flux

(p.43) 2 A Brief History of the Sonic Flux
Sonic Flux

Christoph Cox

University of Chicago Press

This chapter develops the notion of the sonic flux and charts the various ways it has been captured by human beings. Through a critical reading of historical accounts by Jacques Attali and Chris Cutler, the chapter examines the mechanisms by which noise is transformed into meaningful sound, and sound is captured by various systems of recording (biological, symbolic, mechanical, etc.). The chapter pays special attention to the crisis of musical notation in the 1950s and the subsequent emergence of sonic art forms attentive to the perennial flux of sound and its (only ever partial and local) capture. The chapter includes an extended reading of Christian Marclay’s oeuvre, which explicitly engages this history of sonic flux and capture. It concludes with speculations about the circulation of sound in the age of MP3 and digital streaming

Keywords:   sonic flux, musical notation, Jacques Attali, Chris Cutler, Christian Marclay, sonic capture, sound recording

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