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Immanence and Immersion On the Acoustic Condition in Contemporary Art by Will (Edge Hill University, UK) Schrimshaw

Immanence and Immersion On the Acoustic Condition in Contemporary Art



Immanence and Immersion On the Acoustic Condition in Contemporary Art by Will (Edge Hill University, UK) Schrimshaw

Immersion is the new orthodoxy. Within the production, curation and critique of sound art, as well as within the broader fields of sound studies and auditory culture, the immersive is routinely celebrated as an experiential quality of sound, the value of which is inherent yet strengthened through dubious metaphysical oppositions to the visual. Yet even within the visual arts an acoustic condition grounded in Marshall McLuhan's metaphorical notion of acoustic space underwrites predispositions towards immersion. This broad conception of an acoustic condition in contemporary art identifies the envelopment of audiences and spectators who no longer perceive from a distance but immanently experience immersive artworks and environments. Immanence and Immersion takes a critical approach to the figures of immersion and interiority describing an acoustic condition in contemporary art. It is argued that a price paid for this predisposition towards immersion is often the conceptual potency and efficacy of the work undertaken, resulting in arguments that compound the marginalisation and disempowerment of practices and discourses concerned with the sonic. The variously phenomenological, correlational and mystical positions that support the predominance of the immersive are subject to critique before suggesting that a stronger distinction between the often confused concepts of immersion and the immanence might serve as a means of breaking with the figure of immersion and the circle of interiority towards attaining greater conceptual potency and epistemological efficacy within the sonic arts.


This intriguing and timely synthesis of sound studies, sound art, new music and recent trends in continental philosophy supports a sonic practitioner's shrewd and necessary critique of the assumptions constraining his burgeoning field. * Adam Harper, Lecturer in Music, City, University of London, UK * Immanence and Immersion is an important addition to ongoing debates in sound studies and sound art. Through a series of astute philosophical analyses and critical readings of artworks, Schrimshaw effectively distinguishes two terms that are often confused-immersion and immanence-and thereby opens a new path for sound artists and critics alike. * Brian Kane, Associate Professor, Yale University, USA *

About the Author

Will Schrimshaw is an artist, musician and Lecturer in Music and Sound at Edge Hill University, UK. He has published a number of articles relating to sound in the arts and exhibits his work internationally.

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Book Info

Publication date

19th October 2017


Will (Edge Hill University, UK) Schrimshaw

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Bloomsbury Academic USA an imprint of Bloomsbury Publishing Plc


216 pages


Theory of art
Theory of music & musicology
Philosophy: aesthetics



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