A Sound Encounter of En Creux: in-between Roni Horn, Alvin Lucier, and Robert Smithson

Chung, Hsiang Ying. 2014. A Sound Encounter of En Creux: in-between Roni Horn, Alvin Lucier, and Robert Smithson. Doctoral thesis, Goldsmiths, University of London [Thesis]

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Abstract or Description

This practice-led Ph.D. research consists of a body of work and its contextual analysis and reflection through the creative practice of Roni Horn, Robert Smithson and Alvin Lucier. Initiated with the following questions: why do I hear sound when there is no sound to hear? What is it to cause the impression of something that is not present? which emerged from my own practice and my chance encounter of Horn’s work, the aim of this writing intends to explore and adumbrate the notion of en creux evoked and circumscribed in and through sound as a creative medium in the light of the practice of Roni Horn, Robert Smithson and Alvin Lucier. Five pieces of artwork have been developed, analysed and discussed as case studies alongside with the foregoing artists’ work and aesthetic thinking. In order to tease out the constituents of an encounter of en creux, each case study focuses the examination and investigation on different aspects of Horn’s creative strategy of doubling, Smithson’s dialectic of Site and Nonsite and Lucier’s I am sitting in a room, and in turn, their aesthetic and critical influence on my approach to use sound in the pursuit of the subject in question. The primary concern of this practice-led research is not to develop and define sound as specific aesthetic object impinging on in its environment, but as specific aesthetic agent in which the form and the content constantly modifies and contains each other, and as an aesthetic agent through which specific circumstances are created in time and space.

The creative practice of this research project is thus modulating between these three artists’ practice while the critical reflection and the analysis of the work produced is triangulated by their conceptual and aesthetic thinking. Five pieces of artwork, varying from stereo recordings, installations, performance and textual instructions, are selected and discussed as case studies in the written thesis. These include Spring Piece (2009), 2 p.m. (2009), Folding (2009-10), Hear One Near and Think of the Other (2011) and Measurement No.1 D NAB (2011-). Being both the source and the outcome of the critical findings and analysis, these works are considered as doubling to the written thesis, and vice versa.

Item Type:

Thesis (Doctoral)

Identification Number (DOI):


Additional Information:

The material in this thesis is copyrighted and therefore access is restricted. Any reuse must be cleared. Please get in touch with gro@gold.ac.uk.


Alvin Lucier, Roni Horn, Robert Smithson, Sculpture, I am sitting in a room, Land Art, Earthworks, Sound art, Sonic arts, circumstances, atmosphere perception, mirror displacements, the shape of time, presence and absence, eccentric positionality, low-lvel scanning, George Kubler, Measurement, Sound installation, 3D audioscape, soundscape composition, en creux, doubling, dialectic of Site and Nonsite.

Departments, Centres and Research Units:

Music > Unit for Sound Practice Research


3 November 2014

Item ID:


Date Deposited:

10 Dec 2014 10:06

Last Modified:

08 Sep 2022 11:29



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