Acousmatic writing chronology

Chronology of events related to the acousmatic writing research.

This acousmatic writing chronology is inspired by the one that Helga de la Motte-Haber did about sound art: “Klangkunt im 20. Jahrhundert. Eine Chronologie” originally published in Klangkunst, Berlin, Akademie der Künste, 1996 and translated to spanish in Escucha, por favor.

It is also a chronology guide for the thesis I’ve started to write in 2018 about acousmatic writing (or the actual sound of hand writing). It is complemented with images, videos and book cites in the instagram account @arquivo.de.sonas

The cronology is horizontally ordered by colors:

Orange color group events related to thought: Studies, writings, ideas, publications, etc…

Blue color group events related to technological development.

Green color group art events and artworks.

This is a work in progress.
It was presented at the 5th International Congress on Sound and Audiovisual Spaces.

Chronology

  • 500 a.C.
    • Pitágoras. Two different kind of students: matemáticos y acusmáticos. The accusmatics could not see Pythagoras while they received their lessons since there was a curtain between them. They just listened to him.
  • c. 430 a.C. – c. 360 a.C
    • Arquitas de Tarento. Relaciona os sons graves (baréa) e agudos (oxéa) coa velocidade (Filosofía y consuelo de la música, p222). Relación que tamén está moi presente na escritura acusmática.
  • Séc III
    • Uncial script. The Latin alphabet is written for the first time rounded. It is called uncial calligraphy due to a misunderstanding of a text by Saint Jerome.
  • Séc V
  • 783
    • Godescalc Evangelistary. The caroline minuscule appears in the dedicatory poem written by Godescalc on the back of the book of the Godescalc Gospels.
  • 1455
    • First news of the invention of the Gutenberg printing press. Appear the first news about impressions made by Johannes Gutenberg with his printing prototype in a letter written on March 12, 1455 by Eneas Silvio to Juan de Carvajal, .
  • 1726
    • Geoffry Gilbert states in a treatise on legal evidence that people are distinguished by both their writing and their faces. These individual differences are supported based on writing in a legal context. At a time when appears the idea of ​​linking the letter and individuality.
  • 1837
    • Samuel Morse and his assistant Alfred Vail patent the Morse Code. A language reduced to one point and a line. A binary-based sound code appears, like the digital code, and an example of what later Pierre Schaeffer called semantic listening.
    • Stenographic Soundhand. Isaac Pitman publishes this writing system that he would later expand in 1840 with the work Phonography, or Writing by Sound; being a natural method of writing, applicable to all languages, and a complete system of Short-hand with a 36-sign sound alphabet.
  • 1854
    • Walden. Henry David Thoreau. When reading the pages of Walden and especially the pages that correspond to the chapter entitled sounds, a very special description of the landscape appears, and specifically of the sounds of the landscape of the Walden lagoon. It can be understood as a precursor sensitivity of what was later called Soundscape.
  • 1857
    • Phonautographe. Édouard-Léon Scott de Martinville invents the first machine to record sound and he does it through writing. Phonautographe literally means “voice writing”. It does not record acoustic sound but its graphic representation in waveform.
  • 1868
  • 1872
    • Remington’s typewriter (invented by Christopher Sholes, Carlos Glidden, and Samuel W. Soulé) goes on the market becoming a standard.
  • 1897
  • 1906
    • Writing & Illuminating & Lettering. Edward Johnston. The Macmillan publishing house publishes in New York the reference book of modern calligraphy. Johnston not only contributed to the rise of the study of calligraphy, but made important contributions to the world of typography such as the design of the Johnston Sans font in 1916, the result of a commission for the London underground.
  • 1913
    • Zaum. Aleksei Kruchenykh defines the term Zaum to name a script that has no definite meaning: “a language which does not have any definite meaning, a transrational language” that “allows for fuller expression”. Zaum’s first poem was Dyr bul shchyl by Aleksei Kruchenykh (Janecek, Gerald (1996), Zaum: The Transrational Poetry of Russian Futurism, San Diego: San Diego State University Press, ISBN 978-1879691414 pax2)
    • L’arte dei Rumori. Luigi Russolo. Futuristic manifesto where there is an apology for noise and machines. The field of music in Western culture opens up outside academic musical language. Noises and machines are also music.
  • 1916
    • Course in General Linguistics. Ferdinand de Saussure‘s students promote the publication of the book after his death. It defines the linguistic sign made up of the signifier and the signified. It limits writing systems to two: The ideographic system where a sign represents the word and the phonetic system that represents a sound of speech.
  • 1922
  • 1925
    • Schrödinger equation. The idea of ​​probability is becoming increasingly important. Loss of certainty and multiplicity of states will make it easier to think the letter independently of the word, with infinite forms.
  • 1926
    • Don Juan. Alan Crosland. First movie with synchronized audio. Appearance of the sound cinema. It marks the end of the construction of the diegetic process in the cinema.
  • 1927
    • Uncertainty principle. Heisenberg. “The position and speed of a particle cannot be accurately and simultaneously determined.” Uncertainty will play a key role in the creation of the setras theory and in the break with the language representation system.
  • 1930
    • Wochenende. Walter Ruttmann. Film without images. Accusmatic film..
    • Ornamental Sound. Arseny Avraamov. Graphical Sound or Drawn Sound. Graphical Sound or Drawn Sound. On February 20, 1930 Avraamov introduced the idea of ​​the ornamental sound in a presentation at ARRK. Two years later Oskar Fischinger publishes a very similar work in the Deutsche allgemeine zeitung.
  • 1943
    • Prolegomena to a Theory of Language. Louis Hjelmslev publishes his linguistic theory where he exposes his ideas that language should be an end in itself and not a simple way of expression.
  • 1946
    • Sounds in the Grass. It is a series of seven paintings made by Jackson Pollock where paraphrasing David Toop (Sound Objects pag 252) the canvas was on the ground as if it were a three-dimensional field where the marks of the act of painting-drawing could be heard.
  • 1947
    • Lettrism Manifest. Isidore Isou. Letters should replace words. Get rid of the semanticity.
  • 1955
    • Bell. Atsuko Tanaka. Drawing – space – sound. Representation of the phonetics of space. Accusmatic writing. Space is an example of another language.(1, 2, 3, 4)
  • 1957
    • Chalk Laboratory. Oteiza. (1957-1974). For years Oteiza works with chalk to investigate the sculptural form. He creates an infinite sculptural alphabet in perpetual change. An study of combinations. After completing the experimental laboratory, Oteiza declares that he no longer feels the need to make sculpture.
    • Experimental Music. John Cage writes the Experimental Music text for the Chicago Music Teachers National Association convention in the winter of 1957. He defines what experimental music is (in deep relation to uncertainty) and makes an apology for understand sound as itself: “let sounds be themselves”.
    • Sonata For Loudspeakers. Composition by Henry Jacobs where he uses tape loops to isolate loops and play with their sound. The idea of ​​loop repetition of sounds will become increasingly important. It is also the basis of the accusmatic study of the alphabet, the continuous repetition of the writing of a letter.
    • Oramics. Writing Sound machine that was created by Daphne Oram. She couldn’t build it until 1962
  • 1958
    • Concret PH. Composition by Iannis Xenakis for the Philips Pavilion by the architect Le Corbusier at the Universal Exhibition in Brussels. Tiny and intimate sounds, within the limits of the audible. The composition would be sampled by Hildegard Westerkamp in the Kits Beach Soundwalk composition to speak precisely of those tiny sounds that seem to escape the audible spectrum. For that same pavilion the piece Poème électronique by Edgard Varèse was also commissioned
  • 1960
    • Arnulf Rainer. Peter Kubelka. Pioneer film about flicker effect, also continued by Tony Conrad (The Flicker. 1966) or Paul Sharits. You only see what you see. Metric mount.
    • Composition 1960 #9. La Monte Young makes a musical score where there is only a drawing of a horizontal line. The piece connects with composition 1960 #10: “Draw a straight line and follow it”. (#9, #10)
    • Poems de Brion Gysin. Between 1960 and 1962 Brion Gysin made this poem where he introduced the sound of writing itself. It would be published in 1972 by Revue OU disk 40-41 of Henri Chopin. img-1 e img-2
  • 1962
    • Festival Fluxus en Wiesbaden. First time the term Fluxus is used. 14 consecutive concerts.
    • How to Do Things with Words. John Langshaw Austin gives a series of lectures in 1955 at Harvard University that forms the basis of this book published in 1962. The idea of ​​performative writing appears.
  • 1964
    • Grapefruit by Yoko Ono. Book where the artist compiles a serie of event scores.
  • 1965
    • Música para una pluma estilográfica. Score by José Cortés for Zaj. About making “music” with a pen. Score about different ways of making noise with a pen.
    • Akustická kresby. Milan Grygar makes the first of his sound drawings (1, 2). Almost automaton drawings that make noise and are recorded while being made. Diegetic drawing begins to appear in line with contemporary research in relation to concrete music.
  • 1966
    • Traité des objets musicaux. Pierre Schaeffer publishes the book Traité des objets musicaux. He defines concrete music and reduced listening.
  • 1967
    • De la grammatologie. Jacques Derrida publishes a book deeply linked to deconstructivist criticism, especially in relation to linguistics and the phenomenon of writing. Very critical with logocentrism.
  • 1968
    • Pendulum Music. Steve Reich. Microphones come and go with a pendulum movement emitting its own sound when interacting with space and amplifiers.
    • Abandonar la escritura. Manifest by Ignacio Gómez de Liaño that he publishes in the french magazine Revue OU: “Literacy is nothing more than exploitation”.
  • 1969
    • World Soundscape Project. R. Murray Schafer, Barry Truax, Hildegard Westerkamp, Bruce Davis, Peter Huse. Founding year of the soundscape research group at Simon Fraser University.
    • I am sitting in a room. Alvin Lucier. Feedback and reverb. Loss of semanticity through space. Space / Sound.
    • The book of i’s. José Luis Castillejo. A year before writing the book of letters (unpublished) publishes this monographic book on the letter i.
    • La Pluie (project pour un texte). Marcel Broodthaers makes this 16mm film where he writes a text with ink under the rain. The letter disappears with the water as soon as it is written. Writing without linear time, without a trace. Ephemeral writing.
  • 1970
    • Mirtha Dermisache writes her texts, letters, books, fragments of history, as one of the referents of asemic writing (without semantics).
  • 1973
    • Sonic Meditations. Pauline Oliveros creates the Sonic Meditations that will later be considered by herself as the beginning of deep listening..
    • Conversaciones Telefónicas. Isidoro Valcárcel Medina makes this artwork that collects the recording of 80 radio calls to unknown persons to inform them of his new telephone number. A conversation without information? Suspension of semantics? Phone calls are always information? Meaningless conversations?.
  • 1977
    • The Tuning of the World (The Soundscape). Canadian R. Murray Schafer publishes his study on the soundscape.
  • 1978
    • Red Bird. Trevor Wishart publishes Red Bird: A Political Prisoner’s Dream in York Electronic Studios. An artwork that in the technical plane stands out for the manipulation of the voice and the punctual incorporation of writing recordings.
  • 1979
    • Automatic Writing. It is a composition by Robert Ashley where he records his own involuntary speech that results from what he says is his Tourette syndrome as one of the voices in the music. An involuntary language that runs independet from de codes of the community.
  • 1982
    • La voix au cinéma. In this book by Michel Chion, appears the idea that there is a cinematographic character called Accusmaser, as well as the existence of three types of listening: causal (information about what produces the sound), codal (or semanic according to Pierre Schaeffer, when we are faced with a encoded sound signal) and reduced (listening the sound by itself, outside of external interference).
  • 1983
    • MIDI. Short for Musical Instrument Digital Interface, it is actually a data communication protocol that enables various musical devices to communicate with each other. It would evolve into the OSC protocol. Indispensable to understand the mapped listening .
  • 1985
    • Max. Miller Puckette begins to develop the Max software that together with Pure Data in 1996 or Supercollider also in 1996 open the field of interactivity in audio and the possibility of custom programming any sound instrument.
    • De Streek: Theorie van het schrift. Gerrit Noordzij publishes a theory about the stroke, about the strokes of writing on paper in relation to movement and the pen.
  • 1987
    • Jocs de lletra. Bartolomé Ferrando. First appears the writing and then a phonetic interpretation of it. Inverse the logic of the phonetic representation. Example of asemic writing and another example that sound poetry and surrounding artistic practices fail to get rid of voice, get rid of the phonetics.
  • 1988
  • 1990
    • Un golpe de dados. The music band from Vigo, Os Resentidos, published the album Jei that included the song Un golpe de dados. A clear tribute to Mallarmé’s poem Un coup de dés jamais n’abolira le hasard that makes use of the culture of sampling and remixing. Tools and methods that are becoming increasingly important. That same mixing vector will be the one that leads to connecting disciplines that are sometimes very different, such as graffiti, calligraphy, tattooing and sound art.
  • 1996
    • Transformations. Hildegard Westerkamp publishes a compilation of his most significant works. In the album book writes a short text that synthesizes his sound work. The soundscape is a language with its own laws: “I hear the soundscape as a language with which places and societies express themselves”.
  • 1999
    • OpenCv. A first alpha version of this computer vision free library is published. It will make possible that the visual information of the “reality” can be converted into data and interpreted by machines. Some of this visual information will be writing and calligraphy. The library will be used by multiple projects such as the Graffiti Research Lab, turning calligraphy into data and then into sound, breaking with the idea of ​​casual listening defined by Michel Chion and generating a new type of listening: mapped listening.
  • 2000
    • Qalitic writing. Rommel Hervez starts a research and the creation of the qalitic writing that he defines as “la organización espacio-temporal de una grafía –y su sonido– a través de la creación y desarrollo de fonemas que devinieron experiencia sonora”.
  • 2001
    • Processing. Ben Fry and Casey Reas create the Processing program language. Initially designed to learn to program in creative contexts, it is quickly adopted by the community as a tool for making their artworks, designs and experiments.
  • 2002
    • OSC. The first version of the Open Sound Control protocol appears, which beyond being an evolution of MIDI allows greater complexity in the transmission of data between digital instruments.
  • 2003
    • Messa di voice. Golan Levin and Zach Lieberman develop this performance with their own library that will lay the foundation for what will later become Openframeworks (in 2005 with Theodore Watson). Digital tools begin to show new ways of representing voice and language that goes beyond the alphabet.
    • Wiring. Hernando Barragán begins to develop this project that seeks to facilitate the connection of different sensors with other sensors, computers, hardware, etc … In 2005 it would lead to the birth of Arduino. Its low cost and the simplicity of its programming code revolutionize accessibility to DIY hardware and it lays the technological base for many interactive analog input projects (physical computing). One of those inputs will be writing.
  • 2004
    • Netlabel Alg-a. Birth of the online netlabel alg-a with free licenses: alg-label.com. That same year the community of art and free action alg-a was born.
  • 2005
    • David Toop sound drawing. As David Toop himself relates in the book Sound Objetcs, from 2005 he begins to work with papers and amplified drawing: “The two activities converged: I drew on paper (with and without ink) using black bamboo and dried steams of Equisetum hyemale (also know as horsetail or scouring rush), cut from my garden (..) Unlike the sound arising out of their stridulation and compression, their presence lingered as one element in a cluster of objects, all of them sound”.
    • Caligraft. Ricard Marxer researches generative calligraphy and publishes Caligraft, for which he develops the Geomerative library based on Processing.
  • 2006
    • Escoitar.org. Horacio González, Julio Gómez, Xoán-Xil López, Chiu Longina, Berio Molina, Jesús Otero Seoane, Carlos Suárez y Enrique Tomás. Year of birth of the Escoitar.org collective. Research group about the Galician soundscape. (2006-2016)
  • 2007
    • F.A.T. Lab. The F.A.T. (Free Art an and Technology) is born. A collective that links popular culture and open source technology. Within the collective, the Graffiti Research Lab was developed, which among other things would make possible to directly relate graffiti and sound. DIY, open source and activism. Rise of the hacker philosophy.
  • 2008
    • Drawdio. Drawing of musical instruments with a pencil and paper. Graphite as a conductive element. By Jay Silver.
  • 2009
    • Digital Sound Drawings. Morten Riis publishes this work in the Crónica Electrónica music label under the digital technique of “data bending”. It allows to interpret drawings as sounds, somehow following the ideas under the “ornamental sounds” of the 1930s.
  • 2010
    • Graffiti Markup Language. Originally created by Evan Roth, Chris Sugrue, Theo Watson and Jamie Wilkinson. Communication language between the data extracted from a written letter and other computer applications. Para-diegetic relationships are evident. What is heard is not directly produced by what is seen, although it stores certain relationships encoded in data.
  • 2011
    • Sonotexts by W. Mark Sutherland. Works of sound poetry where he develops the Metalogue, a system to record the sound of writing.
  • 2013
    • ASMR. Artist Claire Tolan begins working in the field of ASMR (Autonomous Meridian Sensory Response). Collect a practice that had been spreading for a couple of years on the internet, especially on YouTube. Videos where hands appear manipulating objects, where the small sounds that are produced are amplified. Among these manipulations capable of provoking a synesthetic response, the sound of calligraphic writing stands out.
  • 2014
    • El momento analírico. María Salgado reads her thesis where she claims analphabetism as a form of unwritten writing, or as a claim outside the alphabet.
  • 2016
    • RGB Color Model. Blanca Rego’s film where she plays with the technique of datablending: “The soundtrack are the film frames themselves saved as audio files, using a data bending process inspired by the optical sound experiments by filmmakers such as Norman McLaren, Lis Rhodes, Guy Sherwin, etc. . What you see is exactly the same that what you hear. ”.
    • Sound calligraphy by Ulla Rauter. Work that combines calligraphy with the sound of spectograms of words. Calligraphy manipulates these sounds. Writing manipulates the actual sound (word) that it represents. Video of the artwork
  • 2017
    • Linlow. Performance by Aoi Yamaguchi, SchneiderTM, Mika Satomi. Japanese typography and interaction with sound in real time. One more example of the transmutation of data from calligraphy. The calligraphic gesture is transformed into anything else (sound) through a mapping of the action.
    • Setras. Berio Molina. Acousmatic callygraphy book.
  • 2018
    • Sound of drawing. Takuma Yamazaki creates a simple system to amplify writing. He wins the Kokuyo Design Awards in 2018.
    • Sonicdream. Mirko Kircher and Moritz Tobler begin to do their Live Painting actions, where they amplify and manipulate the live sound of the painting action.
  • 2019
    • Sk(etch). Composer Leah Reid publishes the work Sk(etch). A small 5 minute piece where she explores the sounds, gestures, textures and timbres of the act of drawing and writing.

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