Module Information

Module Identifier
Module Title
Art/Sound: Practice, Theory, and History (1800-2010)
Academic Year
Semester 2
Mutually Exclusive
Other Staff

Course Delivery



Due to Covid-19 students should refer to the module Blackboard pages for assessment details

Assessment Type Assessment length / details Proportion
Semester Assessment Case study essay 2,000 words  2 x case studies on artists or topics discussed in the first half of the module  50%
Semester Assessment Powerpoint Audio-visual essay  2,500 words (a combination of written and spoken text), not including citations, endnotes, and bibliography; and at least 20 slides. This will be presented at the end of the module.  50%
Supplementary Assessment Resit case study essay  50%
Supplementary Assessment Resit audio-visual essay  50%

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this module students should be able to:

1. understand the historical development of sound art from ancient times to the present day, including specific case studies and examples;

2. understand a broad range of interrelationships between image- and sound-based practices and methodologies, and of some of the fundamental theoretical and historical apparatus required to comprehend them;

3. comprehend and articulate, the issues and practicalities related to textual interpretation and curatorial management of sound-artworks;

4. possess practical skills in sound and image software such as to facilitate techniques in presenting art-sound historical study.

Brief description

The module provides a historical overview of this prolific, varied, and ground-breaking period in the coming together, exchange, and mutual influence of visual art and sound-based practices. While the curriculum surveys a broad span of time, its focus is upon the period from modernity to the present day. The module also examines, as a backdrop to the discussion of more recondite practices, correspondences between the development of art culture and music culture during the Modernist and Postmodernist periods. The intention is to explore, contextually, the visual artist’s engagement with sound, noise, and music while at the same time recognizing the traffic of musicians and sound artists moving in the opposite direction, who aspire to cultivate visual analogues for their work. The module will discuss theoretical perspectives, historical trajectories, methodologies of thought and practice, key concepts, case studies, and exhibition contexts.



1. Light > Colour > Sound > Light: From Newton to Goethe to Kandinsky to Scriabin
2. Print-making-waves: Photography, Phonography, and the Visualization of Sound
3. The Artist and the Talking Dead: Jürgenson and Electronic Voice Phenomenon
4. The Rise of the Machine: Futurism and the Industrial Soundscape
5. Still-life with Violin: Real-World Synthesis from Synthetic Cubism to Musique Concrète
6. The Artist Sings: Chance and Indeterminacy from Duchamp to Cage
7. The Composer Draws: From Schoenberg to Cage
8. The Painter Dances: Abstraction and Jazz from Mondrian to Pollock
9. Make Something Up!: Improvisation in Art and Music
10. FluxOff: Intermediality and Protest since the 1960s
11. Image and Sound: The Case of Cinema
12. Image or Sound: The Written Word in Art; the Spoken Word in Music
13. Rock Art: Musicians in British Arts Schools since the 1960s
14. Album Art: Visualizing Popular Music from Rock n’ Roll to Punk
15. Box with the Sound of its Own Making: From Minimalism to Neo-Conceptualism in Art and Music
16. Sound with the Box of its Own Making: Sculpture, Space, and Sonic Materialism
17. Sound in Space: The Acoustics of Architecture (Sacred and Secular)
18. Noisy Art Historians: The Sonorities of the Object, Place, and Time
19. Quiet Bell: Seeing Silence in Millet’s The Angelus (1857-9)
20. ‘Hearing is Another Form of Seeing’: Theories of Aural and Visual Perception


1. DIY: Art and Sound in the Digital Age
2. Duchamp Sings: An Analysis of Musical Erratum (1913)
3. Silent Pictures: Signifying Sound through Visual Art
4. Electric Lady: Women Sound-Art Performers

1. Using PowerPoint and Audacity Software

Module Skills

Skills Type Skills details
Application of Number
Communication Through essay and examination writing.
Improving own Learning and Performance
Information Technology Software skills in Audacity and PowerPoint, and in the development of multi-media presentation.
Personal Development and Career planning
Problem solving
Research skills Essay preparation, library catalogue searches, and internet video/audio scoping.
Subject Specific Skills None of the students will have prior experience in studying art and sound together and historically. Therefore, they will be developing specific inter-subject relational skills, which will be assessed in the context of the essay.
Team work


This module is at CQFW Level 5