This publication is the result of a collective reflection on the legacy of Max Neuhaus, the pionneer figure of sound installation art (special issue of the art and research magazine D'Ailleurs – Institut supérieur des beaux-arts de Besançon).
The American artist claimed an emancipatory conception of sound experience through pioneering works such as Listen (1966) and Drive-in Music (1967) but also, more broadly, through his "topographical" installations marking a historic passage from music to sound.
Neuhaus' ecology of listening should be considered among the founding experiences of sound studies, expressing the relationships between the individual and the environment in a transdisciplinary perspective – through art, science, sound design, urbanism and landscape design.
Translations of major texts, re-editions and unpublished contributions by artists and authors in this volume extend the “Max Feed” collective exhibition presented in 2016 at the Frac Franche-Comté and at the ISBA – Institut des Beaux-Arts de Besançon. They regard strategies of attention, interactions and modes of transcoding related to a rarefied and discrete sensoriality.
The publication mobilizes multiple forms of listening (background music, urban and consumerist space, radio and telecommunications, subaquatic sound, reduced and augmented perception, psychoacoustics), all the while operating a critical reading of notions such as immersion, acousmania or sonic presence.
Beyond the possible developments of a contextual listening, the reflection initiated by Max Feed proceeds from a bias consisting in considering sound not as an ontological manifestation, but as a relational entity participating in the production of social space.
Published following the exhibitions “Max Feed – Œuvre et héritage de Max Neuhaus” at Frac Franche-Comté, from October 9 to December 30, 2016, and “Mix-Feed” at the Institut supérieur des beaux-arts de Besançon, from November 10 to December 9, 2016.
Max Neuhaus (1939-2009) is the pioneer of artistic activities with sound. A renowned interpreter of contemporary music while still in his twenties (he began his career as a performer of works for percussion from the experimental music repertoire: Stockhausen, Cage, Feldman, etc.), Neuhaus went on to dedicate himself to sound installation work through artistic interventions in public spaces, becoming the first to extend sound as an autonomous medium into the domain of contemporary art. His works are permanently exhibited in Times Square, New York, USA (Dia: Beacon); at the Kunsthaus Graz, Austria; at Castello di Rivoli, Museo d'Arte Contemporanea, Italy; CAPC Musée d'Art Contemporain de Bordeaux, France; AOK Building, Kassel, and Stommeln, Germany. Neuhaus notably exhibited at MoMA, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; ARC, Musée d'Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris; Centre National d'Art Contemporain, Grenoble; Kunsthalle Basel, and Kunsthalle Bern, Switzerland; he also took part in Documenta 6 and 9, Kassel, and La Biennale di Venezia.