Artist: Various
Release Date: January 1, 2001
Label: Whitney JDK
Works on this Album:

This CD features sound works included in “BitStreams,” an exhibition at the Whitney Museum of American Art focusing on the extraordinary range of artistic expression made possible through digital technologies. “BitStreams,” on view from March 22 to June 10, 2001, was curated by Lawrence Rinder, the Whitney’s Anne & Joel Ehrenkranz Curator of Contemporary Art, with Debra Singer, Associate Curator of Contemporary Art, who organized the sound portion of the exhibition with artistic advisor Stephen Vitiello. That there are twenty-five sound artists included in “BitStreams” is testimony to how digital technologies have revolutionized the creation, production, distribution, and performance of experimental music and sound art. The number of possible sound sources, for example, has exponentially increased now that almost any kind of information, even light and visual images, can be translated into binary code and subsequently transformed into sound. In addition, widely available software programs give artists incredible flexibility in how they layer and combine sounds, and even the ability to design original sounds. Many contemporary composers also draw on twentieth-century musical history, which validated the use of everyday noises–as idiosyncratic as the hydraulic system of a bus or the sounds of laser eye surgery–as legitimate compositional elements. As artists experiment with sounds derived from nature, language, abstracted digital noise, traditional instruments, and prerecorded music, they combine avant-garde musical influences with equally inventive ideas drawn from more popular music styles of the last several decades. The results signal a shift in aesthetic principles as well as a desire to explore the ways in which the digital age has affected perception, identity, and communication. The participating sound artists in “BitStreams” are: Gregor Asch (DJ Olive the Audio Janitor), Jonathan Bepler, Brian Conley, Richard Devine, Sussan Deyhim, DISC, David Gamper, Ann Hamilton and Andrew Deutsch, John Herndon (A Grape Dope), John Hudak, Brandon LaBelle, Matmos, V. Michael (The Spacewürm), Paul D. Miller (DJ Spooky That Subliminal Kid), Ikue Mori, Jim O’Rourke, Andrea Parkins, Marina Rosenfeld, Elliott Sharp, Fred Szymanski (Laminar), Yasunao Toné, töshöklabs, Stephen Vitiello, Gregory Whitehead, and Pamela Z.