I Thought I Grew An Ear in My Stomach: The Phenomenological Experience of the Art Event as Sublime Encounter

Sandys, Kathrine. 2012. I Thought I Grew An Ear in My Stomach: The Phenomenological Experience of the Art Event as Sublime Encounter. Doctoral thesis, Goldsmiths, University of London [Thesis]

Text (I Thought I Grew An Ear in My Stomach: The Phenomenological Experience of the Art Event as Sublime Encounter)

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Abstract or Description

This research explores the potential for the sublime experience through encounter with the immersive, site-specific sound installation, in abandoned Cold War military sites. It defines the distinctiveness of sonic nstallation as a practice, its affinities with specific kinds of installation art, the particular somatic and visceral experience it affords, and its scope for engaging memory, feeling and imagination through the use of the abandoned site. The notion of the sublime is presented as a way of reading the visceral charge in the phenomenological experience of the encounter, as a yet unexplored narrative device in site-specific installations.

The text unfolds the journey from initially encountering large scale Earthworks in the landscape of the Mid-West American desert, subsequently explored through existing discourse, to the development of two original works and exhibitions that employ the outcomes of the field research. The installations created for this research offer an alternative reading on current discourse and practice within the field of site-specific installation, with particular emphasis on acousmatic readings of the sites. The thesis proposes that tactile phenomenological, sonic experiences of acousmatic sound remain largely absent within discourse of the sublime but offer the ineffable moment consummate with the sublime encounter, therefore offering a new reading on the sublime experience of the participatory performance event.

The role of the audience, spectatorship of the work and spatial identity of the sites serve as the historical, critical frame of context, explored through environmentally oriented art practice of Minimalist music and sculpture, Happenings and Intermedia. The installations explored within the research require considered journey to their location, which is questioned for its shifting property to frame the work or ‘encounter’, as an inherent attribute of the event. Finally, the problematic altered perception of the site-specific installation, through remediation in curated exhibitions, is explored through the last chapter.

Item Type:

Thesis (Doctoral)

Departments, Centres and Research Units:

Music > Unit for Sound Practice Research


13 June 2012

Item ID:


Date Deposited:

13 Sep 2013 09:39

Last Modified:

08 Sep 2022 13:44



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