Steven Poole on sound art

“The history of recorded music is a history of creating virtual spaces. Classical CD recording, for example, places you in a prime stalls seat in a nonexistent concert hall, by virtue of the way the instrumental sections are distributed in the stereo field. Much abstract sound art is interested primarily in the structure of the virtual space itself. And then there is Cardiff’s work, which projects a virtual space – the recorded sounds of a walk through Whitechapel – on to the original space from which it was modelled. You experience two realities at once. And you can begin to play this game afterwards, imagining that the apparently random street scenes around you are carefully choreographed and soundtracked to a mysterious design.
This, perhaps, is the primary value of sound art: that it encourages you to pay attention to how you listen, and to experiment with new ways of listening. I’m not going to start sitting down and listening to CDs of traffic and iron-smelting every evening, but perhaps I will take more interest in the uncontrollable sounds around me, rather than blocking them out as unwanted noise. If nothing else, it makes waiting for a bus less boring”
Read article