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Maryanne Amacher

Selected Writings and Interviews (Book)

Label: Blank Forms

Format: BOOK

Genre: Sound Art

In stock

The life and work of Maryanne Amacher are as vast as they are as yet unknown. A heterodox and idiosyncratic selection of largely unpublished documents spanning the bandwidth of the still unprocessed contents of the Amacher archive.

** Softcover edition **The first ever book on American composer and sound-art pioneer Maryanne Amacher, with letters, manifestos, notes and more elucidating her eclectic thinking on sound and perception** From personal notes and letters to program notes, manifesti, and unrealized project proposals, the documents are framed by longer interviews with Maryanne Amacher that discuss corresponding periods of her life. The book's otherwise chronological organization leads readers carefully into Amacher's transforming musical thought, but the book also works strenuously against the definitive completism often associated with a “collected writings.” Rather, Bill Dietz and Amy Cimini redouble the Archive's unprocessed status as the book's ethical mode of organization. This book is an invitation to an ongoing process that—because ongoing—must be encountered as provisional, promissory and open-ended. The book assembles staggeringly rich primary material and at the same time asks what it means to assemble those materials while the ground is still very much shifting under the question “who was Maryanne Amacher?”

Because Amacher worked across nearly every imaginable media format, this book will be be of tremendous interest to theorists and practitioners in media and communications, urban design, contemporary art history, music studies, sound studies, film, radio, art criticism and performance studies—in short, the burgeoning configuration of disciplines that we might call an ‘intermedial humanities.' But at the same time, this book challenges any area of music, sound or media studies that would remake itself by recovering understudied figures. This book is about doing things a different way. This collection is organized to foreground Amacher's many sounds and many voices so that whatever music and social constellations might join this ongoing process can do so in and through her words.

Maryanne Amacher (1938-2009) was a composer of large-scale fixed-duration sound installations and a highly original thinker in the areas of perception, sound spatialization, creative intelligence, and aural architecture. She is frequently cited as a pioneer of what has come to be called “sound art,” although her thought and creative practice consistently challenges key assumptions about the capacities and limitations of that genre. Often considered to be a part of a post-Cagean lineage, her work anticipates some of the most important developments in network culture, media arts, acoustic ecology, and sound studies.

Cat. number: 978-1-7337235-7-2
Year: 2021
15 x 23 cm (softcover)
398 pages (b/w ill.)
Her technical knowledge, unique vision and obsession make this volume an exemplary collection and an inexhaustible source of inspiration | Read more

This book is a carefully curated selection from the archive of Maryanne Amacher, whose more than one hundred boxes were eventually donated to the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts. It is a painstaking editing job by composer Bill Dietz and musicologist Amy Cimini, who have extracted a remarkable array of small, mostly unpublished treasures from this archive, ranging from scores to personal correspondence with Cage to visionary but mostly rejected grant proposals and insightful notes, all contextualised through texts and interviews. Such multi-faceted artists have multi-layered souls and in this selection you will find an excellent cross-section of Amacher’s research. She has created ground-breaking work, from the telematic audio performance series ‘City Links’ in the 1970s, to ‘perceptual geography’, a work that experimented with aural and interaural sonic imaging, to the use of the skin as an ‘organ’ for perceiving vibrations. This book probes her refusal to make a record for many years, as well as her self-directed research into the physics of sound and the concept of the ‘listening mind’, which brought her to this particular border zone beyond any possible schematisation. Her technical knowledge, unique vision and obsession make this volume an exemplary collection and an inexhaustible source of inspiration.

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