Sampling Sonic Culture: MoMA’s Cautious Entry Into a World of Noise

Carsten Nicolai, Wellenwanne lfo (2012). Water tank, water, mirror, audio equipment, stroboscope, display screen.

"Careful listening is more important than making sounds happen."

— Alvin Lucier

Considering the vital role American artists of all media have played in the emergence of sound art, one is inclined to speculate as to why MoMA is just now mounting its first major exhibition dedicated to the subject.


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EVENT presents: SONIC RESEARCH: Psychoacoustics Session I

Sat May 30, 2015 16:00 - Sat May 30, 2015

Long Island City, New York
United States of America

Sonic Research is a recurring program series that couples emerging sonic art practices with contemporary acoustic research. For this event, Psychoacoustics Session I, we present diverse perspectives on research into the maturing field of psychoacoustics by taking sonic cognition as a framework for delineating common aesthetic and epistemic modes of creation and interpretation of aural experience. This program features an evening of curated installations, artist talks, and performances that, together, characterize aural cognition as a domain of consonant artistic and scientific investigation. Conceived as an experimental symposium on contemporary sound and its apprehension, the program will offer contributions by sound artists, musicians, and researchers.

Psychoacoustics Session I is foregrounded by a rich history of sonic experimentation as an instrument of somatic research. The connection between sound and body has long been the fascination of sound artists, who have explored sound as a discursive medium for over six decades. However, the primary concern of such engagements has been with spatialization, where terms like sound sculpture and sound installation are used to isolate sound in material space. In contrast, this program will employ psychoacoustics as a paradigm for creating and understanding sonic art, situating sound within both body and mind. Contributors will consider sound beyond its spatiality, expanding upon sonic art, and its comprehension, as physiologic, psychologic, and physio-lingual material.

Talks, Presentations, Installations, and Performances by:

  • Ron Kuivila [Professor of Music, Wesleyan University & lead developer of the Supercollider programming language]
  • Seth Cluett [Artist and Composer, Professor Stevens Institute of Technology]
  • Suzanne Dikker [Research Scientist, NYU / Utrecht University & Artist]
  • A.K. Burns [Artist, Co-founder W.A.G.E., Callicoon Gallery]
  • Jules Gimbrone [Artist and Composer]
  • Sophie Landres [PhD Candidate Art History, Stony Brook University & Mellon Fellow at Creative Time]
  • C. Lavender [Sound Artist, Music Therapist]
  • Josh Millrod [Artist and M.M.T. Candidate, Music Psychiatrics, NYU]


Charles Eppley is an art historian, musician, and sound enthusiast from Brooklyn, NY. Charles is a PhD candidate at Stony Brook University, where he researches the role of sound in modern and contemporary art. He publishes art and music criticism and teaches at Pratt Institute and Stony Brook University. Charles is an editor and programs director at

Sam Hart is a scientist, publisher, and artist living in New York. Sam works as a bioinformatician at the Sloan Kettering Institute where he studies the genetic basis of neurological disease. He is also Editor-in-Chief of, an online publication for critical, cross-disciplinary writing. is an online publication for critical thought with practical connection across time, scale, system, and discipline. Articulating nuanced concepts through cross-disciplinary writings, interactive web projects, and events, promotes forms of reason that aim to address whole-systems.