Sonic Flux: Sound, Art, and Metaphysics (Paperback)

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From Edison’s invention of the phonograph through contemporary field recording and sound installation, artists have become attracted to those domains against which music has always defined itself: noise, silence, and environmental sound. Christoph Cox argues that these developments in the sonic arts are not only aesthetically but also philosophically significant, revealing sound to be a continuous material flow to which human expressions contribute but which precedes and exceeds those expressions. Cox shows how, over the course of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, philosophers and sonic artists have explored this “sonic flux.”

Through the philosophical analysis of works by John Cage, Maryanne Amacher, Max Neuhaus, Christian Marclay, and many others, Sonic Flux contributes to the development of a materialist metaphysics and poses a challenge to the prevailing positions in cultural theory, proposing a realist and materialist aesthetics able to account not only for sonic art but for artistic production in general.

About the Author

Christoph Cox is professor of philosophy at Hampshire College and editor-at-large at Cabinet.

Praise For…

"A rich, wideranging discussion, knowledgeable and insightful, that achieves the rare feat of connecting, and balancing, philosophy and artistic practice."
— The Wire

"I foresee that the book will become a staple in sound studies . . . . The book’s strength is that it offers the first philosophical genealogy (to my knowledge) that establishes the sonic flux theory as an ontology for understanding the emergence of sound art in the second half of the twentieth century."
— Journal of Sonic Studies

"In this book, Cox (also co-editor of the Audio Culture anthology) constructs and formalises the concept of 'sonic flux,' conceived in an early form by Schopenhauer, Nietzsche and Deleuze, and furthered by Manuel DeLanda’s 'A Thousand Years of Nonlinear History.'" 
— Neural

"Christoph Cox in Sonic Flux investigates the most materialistic and prosaic music: the underrated background music. . . . Following the school of Schaeffer, Russolo, Varese, and Cage, Cox stands up for urban soundscapes and their range of attractions, blurs, chains, dilations and fades."
— Sonograma Magazine

"Sonic Flux has solidified Cox’s role as the definitive voice in the field of sound art. Sonic Flux presents us with sound art’s long overdue conceptualization within contemporary discourse. In this text we encounter sound studies like never before, that is, as a site of courageous creative artistic research founded upon rigorous material experimentation and theoretical exploration. Cox’s background in philosophy, critical theory, and art history are clearly evident in this book and are greatly appreciated."
— Journal of Visual Culture

Product Details
ISBN: 9780226543178
ISBN-10: 022654317X
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
Publication Date: November 2nd, 2018
Pages: 272
Language: English