Susan Philipsz and the Non-Hidden Noise

posted: 12-07-10
Susan Philipsz with "Lowlands"
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The description of Turner Prize winner Susan Philipsz as a "sound artist" is raising eyebrows among theoreticians who recall Marcel Duchamp's long shadow at the nexus between the ear and the retina -- which is to say, on the conceptual plane. Like Duchamp, Philipsz is a conceptual artist who works with sound to challenge existing categories and stimulate new experiential connections, but the presence of sound is peripheral to her real concerns.

What Philipsz does, however, is to take the "Hidden Noise" that Duchamp applied to his sculptural assemblage and make it explicit -- if not, of course, "visible." If it were visible, how could it be sound? Where is the "infra-thin" boundary between visible and invisible noise?


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