Introducing Ear Room

Ear Room

Over the coming months Sound and Music will be re-publishing new and previous interviews from the online publication Ear Room. We took time out to ask Ear Room founder, sound artist Mark Peter Wright a few questions about the project.

SAM: For those unfamiliar with Ear Room could you describe what it is?

MPW: Ear Room is an online publication featuring interviews with artists, curators, writers, publishers and academics. The focus of the publication is to engage broadly with sound and its use in contemporary and historical arts practice.

Ear Room takes the form of a one-to-one interview, with the invited contributor discussing their work and any topical issues they may encounter. It is a growing resource of voices that hopes to enrich and pollinate the landscape of sound arts practice.

SAM: Why did you establish Ear Room?

MPW: There is a global community of people currently engaged with sound as an artistic/research based practice. However, this is not a new phenomena, quite the contrary, but my initial instinct was to somehow further contribute to a field I myself was already immersed in.

With Ear Room I want to create a virtual space where discussions can take place and an archive can be built for others to engage. The fundamental idea is that anybody with an interest in exploring sound can access a whole catalogue of voices, all under ‘one roof’.

I am a great admirer of William Furlong’s Audio Arts project established in 1973. In many ways this model has been adopted but with the focus more specific to sound - its historical, philosophical, social, cultural, political, ecological and artistic trajectories. I am also seeking to contribute and evolve discussions of how we talk about sound, what vocabulary exists and what can be built. In the future I am hoping to get these dialogues into the physical realm with a series of curated talks and events.

SAM: What is the main aim behind the partnership with Sound & Music?

MPW: Simply to get these illuminating conversations to more ears and eyes. Sound and Music is a perfect additional platform for Ear Room to continue to evolve, expand and engage others.

SAM: You always end an interview with the question; ‘what does sound art mean to you’. Why?

MPW: There are various definitions of the term but I thought to ask each interviewee would be a genuine way of disturbing and shifting existing definitions. A term is often used as a form of branding, done from the outside in. This question is a simple and consistent way of re-addressing the balance from the inside out – it’s not seeking in anyway to form a comprehensive definition, it hopes to open and encourage debate around sound and all its fascinating trajectories.

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Mark Peter Wright is a London based sound artist and British Composer of the Year, Sonic Arts 2009. He has exhibited and published works across a broad range of international venues, galleries, labels, radio, theatre and public space. His work addresses listening and the environment and seeks to amplify, illuminate and interrogate notions of place and experience.

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