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CFP: Visualizing Sound & Silence in Art &Architecture, 45th Annual Cleveland Symposium

When we examine visual images, we often concentrate solely on the sense of sight. In contrast, art and architecture, whether employing musical, ritual, or acoustic components, have a long history of incorporating aural elements that engage with the sense of hearing. Whether audible or silent, art, in any form, is not a “mute” medium. The question of who speaks, who is silent, and who is listening echoes within the chambers of power in any society.

How do artists throughout history visualize sound and silence? How does performance alter the experience of an object or space? How does the ephemeral nature of a melody or of a cacophony change our experiences of art and architecture over time? How does conversation or contemplation reshape our understanding of an image?

The Art History Department at Case Western Reserve University invites graduate students to submit abstracts for its 2019 Annual Symposium: Visualizing Sound & Silence in Art & Architecture. We welcome innovative research papers that engage with acoustics, music, sounds, and silence in and around art.

With keynote speaker: Vincent Debiais, L’École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales.

Presentations may explore aspects of this theme as it applies in any medium and from any historical period, geographical location, or methodological perspective.

Papers that engage with the art or architecture of the Cleveland Museum of Art are encouraged, but are not required.

Potential topics may include, but are not limited to:
● Depictions of sound
● Discussion of who is given a voice
● Music in art
● Liturgy & recitation
● Conversation pieces
● Internalization of drama
● Acoustics in architecture
● Silent films
● Performance art
● Sound installations
● The augmentation of other senses
● The role of labels and audio guides in museums
● Resonance with political environment

For consideration, current and recent graduate students in art history, musicology, and related disciplines are invited to submit a 350-word abstract, alongside a CV to by June 28, 2019. Selected participants will be notified by the end of July. Paper presentations will be 20 minutes in length.

Please direct all questions to Reed O’Mara and Rebecca Woodruff at Three papers will be awarded prizes.

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