Bill Fontana, sound artist of the first generation, has been using sound as a sculptural medium since the 1960s. This catalogue is published on the occasion of the solo exhibition “Primal Energies” at the Kunsthaus Graz and offers for the first time a comprehensive documentation of his sound sculptures and radio projects worldwide. With a complete index of his works as well as texts by Rudolf Friedling, Pedro Gadanho, Heidi Grundmann, Katrin Bucher Trantow, and others, and a conversation between Bill Fontana and Hans Ulrich Obrist. In addition to installation views of the exhibition, the catalogue is extensively illustrated with archive material.
Bill Fontana (b. 1947, United States) is an American composer and media artist who has developed an international reputation for his pioneering experiments in sound. Since the early 70s, Fontana has used sound as a sculptural medium to interact with and transform our perceptions of visual and architectural spaces. He has realized sound sculptures and radio projects for museums and broadcast organizations around the world.
"I began my career as a composer. What really began to interest me was not so much the music that I could write, but the states of mind I would experience when I felt musical enough to compose. In those moments, when I became musical, all the sounds around me also became musical.
I have worked for the past 50 years creating installations that use sound as a sculptural medium to interact with and transform our perceptions of visual and architectural settings.
My sound sculptures use the human and/or natural environment as a living source of musical information. I am assuming that at any given moment there will be something meaningful to hear and that music, in the sense of coherent sound patterns, is a process that is going on constantly. My methodology has been to create networks of simultaneous listening points that relay real time acoustic data to a common listening zone (sculpture site). Since 1976 I have called these works sound sculptures."