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Ronald J. Kuivila






The analysis begins by examining Robert Morrisʼs reading of Minimalist sculpture. Here, it is found that a phenomenological focus on parts can lead to consideration of not only the whole of an object, but also its environmental conditions. Building on work undertaken prior to Wesleyan, Pierre Schaefferʼs sound object is investigated as a potential analogue in music-related discourse. Schaefferʼs original theory, as critiqued by Brian Kane, exposes material and historical issues that have particular resonance for a temporal art-form reliant on mediation.

In Susan Sontagʼs argument against interpretive practices in the visual arts, a similar concern with parts and whole is identified. Emerging from her emphasis on formalism over understandings of content, juxtaposition is viewed as a creative technique that has the potential to reveal interpenetrations between different musics, and how these performed.

The thesis ends by examining the function of juxtaposition as form of interpretation in the compositions. Ultimately, the works are seen to echo Morris in foregrounding a variety of environmental concerns through a focus on phenomenologically-heard sound. Jonathan Sterneʼs understanding of sonically-defined public and private space demonstrates the relevance of such an approach given the continued influence of repeating and transmission technologies on how we compose, perform and listen.



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