Today from our partners at Art Practical we bring you Rebecca Gates‘ fascinating examination of the nexus of sound and textile processes. Be sure to spend some time with this piece—perhaps with headphones on—to really grasp the points at which these seven artists find inspiration. This article was originally published on February 26, 2015.
A sweater pulled overhead, brushing the ears, both muffling sounds and creating a gentle cacophony. The highly rhythmic rattle of a textile mill in operation, any time from the height of the Industrial Revolution to the present. The meditative tempo—to and fro, clicks and clacks—of a loom beater in motion.
When one considers the relationship of sound to textiles, one’s focus can shift scales, from the sound of fabric moving over skin to wearable sound-producing technology; from the unruly knit of an artifical fur Deadcat windscreen damping the impact of wind on a microphone to the simple fabric covering a loudspeaker emitting sounds at great volume.
Ever present, sound has only in the last century been framed in terms of art and its vocabulary, its sensory and expository qualities explored and incorporated in contemporary art works and theory. As the discipline of sound art develops and becomes more common, artists, including those working in textiles, are exploring ways to relate to and collaborate with sound.