Camille Norment: Plexus, Context and Constellations
Throughout the run of Camille Norment: Plexus, Dia Chelsea’s talk space will host an iterative presentation of literature and sound, creating a constellation of contexts to accompany the exhibition and its live programs. These materials will expand and alternate in ways that reflect thematic engagements and live programs, addressing the metaphysics of sound and the relationships between feedback, agency, and horror, among other concerns.
The space features a rotating and expanding guest-curated library of books and vinyl records for visitors to select and listen to on turntables. For the initial gesture, Seth Cluett and James Hoff curated a selection of texts and sound in collaboration with Camille Norment that will unfold incrementally throughout the project. Visitors are also invited to listen to an audio montage mixed by Hoff that highlights the use of feedback within the horror genre in TV and film.
Max Neuhaus’s Max-Feed (1966), a portable, self-contained feedback instrument conceived for mass production, accentuates the presentation. Displayed here in a vitrine, Max-Feed functions as a visual register of sonic feedback, which is an operative strategy and mode of engagement throughout Plexus and Norment’s practice more generally. In another reference to feedback through acts of collaboration and accumulation, visitors are encouraged to share their own suggestions for the library’s book and vinyl collections via this form.
Max Neuhaus's "Max-Feed"
Max Neuhaus’s artwork Max-Feed (1966) was intended to be mass-produced and sold inexpensively in grocery stores. As an electronic device that creates feedback through a radio in its proximity, anyone could own the artwork and turn a room in their home into a sound installation. Neuhaus coined the term sound installation, and I share his belief that the omnipresence of sound, and its relation to public engagement, holds the potential for agency and democracy through participation.
Feedback and Horror
In this audio montage, which focuses on the horror genre in TV and film, feedback is employed eight times as a plot device. Audio has been culled from scenes in A Quiet Place (2018) and A Quiet Place Part II (2020), in which feedback is used to kill invading aliens, and All of Us Are Dead (2022–), in which the sound is used to combat zombies. While feedback has been used as a cinematic sound effect or soundtrack element for decades, these contemporary scenes feature the sonic phenomenon not only as a central plot device but also as a diegetic tool for combatting supernatural antagonists, ultimately empowering the characters who wield it.
Alexander, Stephon. The Jazz of Physics: The Secret Link Between Music and the Structure of the Universe. New York: Basic Books, 2016.
—. Fear of a Black Universe: An Outsider’s Guide to the Future of Physics. New York: Basic Books, 2021.
Ballard, J. G. The Crystal World. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1998. *
Bennett, Jane. Vibrant Matter: A Political Ecology of Things. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2010.
Böhme, Gernot, and Tina Engels-Schwarzpaul, eds. Atmospheric Architecture: The Aesthetics of Felt Spaces. London: Bloomsbury Visual Arts, 2020.
Brooks, Daphne A. Liner Notes for the Revolution: The Intellectual Life of Black Feminist Sound. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2021.
Charnas, Dan. Dilla Time: The Life and Afterlife of J Dilla, the Hip-Hop Producer Who Reinvented Rhythm. New York: MCD, 2022. *
Corbin, Allan. Village Bells. New York: Columbia University Press, 1998.
Delany, Samuel R. Dhalgren. New York: Vintage, 2001.
Easterling, Keller. Extrastatecraft: The Power of Infrastructure Space. New York: Verso, 2016. *
Eidsheim, Nina Sun. Sensing Sound: Singing & Listening as Vibrational Practice. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2015.
—. The Race of Sound: Listening, Timbre and Vocality in African American Music. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2019.
Gallerneaux, Kristen. High Static, Dead Lines: Sonic Spectres and the Object Hereafter. London: Strange Attractor Press, 2018.
Graham, Dan, and Brian Wallis. Rock my Religion: Writings and Projects 1965–1990. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1994.
Groom, Amelia. Beverly Buchanan: Marsh Ruins. London: Afterall, 2021. *
Haraway, Donna J. Staying with the Trouble: Making Kin in the Chthulucene. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2016.
Haskell, David George. Sounds Wild and Broken: Sonic Marvels, Evolution's Creativity, and the Crisis of Sensory Extinction. New York: Viking, 2022.
Hayles, N. Katherine. Unthought: The Power of the Cognitive Nonconscious. Chicago and London: University of Chicago Press, 2017.
Heller-Roazon, Daniel. The Fifth Hammer: Pythagoras and the Disharmony of the World. New York: Zone Books, 2011.
Ihde, Don. Listening and Voice: Phenomenologies of Sound. Albany, NY: State University of New York Press, 2007.
Ingold, Tim. Line: A Brief History. London: Routledge, 2016.
Massey, Doreen B. For Space. London: Sage, 2005.
Noland, Carrie. Agency and Embodiment: Performing Gestures/Producing Culture. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2009.
Pallasmaa, Juhani. The Thinking Hand: Existential and Embodied Wisdom in Architecture. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley, 2010.
Pickering, Andrew. The Cybernetic Brain: Sketches of Another Future. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2011.
Radigue, Elaine, and Julia Eckhardt. Espaces Intermédiaires. Brussels: Umland Editions, 2019.
Rodger, Tara. Pink Noises: Women on Electronic Music and Sound. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2010.
Simpson. Deane. Young-Old: Urban Utopias of an Aging Society. Zurich: Lars Müller, 2015. *
Stoever, Jennifer Lynn. The Sonic Color Line: Race and the Cultural Politics of Listening. New York: New York University Press, 2016.
Tomlinson, Gary. A Million Years of Music: The Emergence of Human Modernity. New York: Zone Books, 2015.
Toop, David. Ocean of Sound: Ambient Sound and Radical Listening in the Age of Communication. London: Serpent’s Tail, 2018.
—. Haunted Weather: Music, Silence, and Memory. London: Serpent’s Tail, 2004.
—. Inflamed Invisible: Collected Writings on Art and Sound, 1976–2018. London: Goldsmiths Press, 2022.
—. Into the Maelstrom: Music, Improvisation and the Dream of Freedom. New York: Bloomsbury Academic, 2016.
—. Sinister Resonance: The Mediumship of the Listener. New York: Continuum, 2011
Trower, Shelley. Senses of Vibration: A History of the Pleasure and Pain of Sound. New York: Continuum, 2012.
Tsing, Anna Lowenhaupt. The Mushroom at the End of the World: On the Possibility of Life in Capitalist Ruins. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2021.
Wilkerson, Isabel. The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America’s Great Migration. New York: Vintage, 2011.
Frahm, Nils. Tripping With Nils Frahm. Erased Tapes Records, 2022, LP. *
Hendrix, Jimi. Star Spangled Banner / Purple Haze, Live at Woodstock 30th Anniversary. MCA, 2007, LP.
Jaar, Nicolas. Space is Only Noise. Circus Company, 2012, LP. *
Neuhaus, Max and John Cage. Fontana Mix-Feed. Alga Marghen, 2002, LP.
Norment, Camille. The Haunted. VON, 2021, LP.
Radigue, Élaine. Feedback Works 1969–1970. Alga Marghen, 2013, LP.
Tsunoda, Toshiya. Vibrational Movements of Metal Plates/ Limiting Feedback Oscillation. Ahota, 1999, LP.
About the Contributors
Seth Cluett is a composer, visual artist, and writer. With work ranging from photography and drawing to installation, performance, and critical writing, his “subtle…seductive, immersive” (Artforum) sound work has been characterized as “rigorously focused and full of detail” (e/i) and “dramatic, powerful, and at one with nature” (The Wire). The recipient of grants from Foundation for Contemporary Arts Emergency Fund and Meet the Composer, his work has been presented internationally at venues such as The Whitney Museum, MoMA/PS1, Moving Image Art Fair, CONTEXT Art Miami, GRM, and STEIM. Cluett is Artist-in-Residence at Nokia Bell Labs and Director of the Computer Music Center at Columbia University where he is on the faculty of music composition and serves as Assistant Director of the Sound Art MFA Program. More info: sethcluett.com.
James Hoff is an artist living in Brooklyn, New York. His work encompasses a variety of media, including painting, sound, and performance, as well as a publishing practice with the organization Primary Information, which he co-founded. Recently, his work has focused on language and ambient media at the intersection of developing technologies and networked communication in relation to social, political, and sonic space. He has exhibited work and performed at cultural organizations throughout North America and Europe.
Camille Norment was born in Silver Spring, Maryland, in 1970. She received a BA in comparative literature and art history from the University of Michigan in 1992, and an MFA and an MA in Interactive Telecommunications from New York University in 1994 and 1998. She attended the Whitney Independent Study Program from 1994–95. Informed by the sonic, Norment’s practice spans drawing, installation, performance, sculpture, sound, and video. Her work has recently been the subject of solo exhibitions at Oslo Kunstforening, Norway; the Reva and David Logan Center for the Arts, University of Chicago; and Temple Bar Gallery + Studios, Dublin. Several public works by Norment are permanently installed in Norway and Italy. She has recently performed at institutions including the Munch Museum, Oslo (2021); the Renaissance Society, University of Chicago (with Hamid Drake, 2019); and the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis (with Craig Taborn, 2019). Her albums include Toll (2011) and the soundtrack and special edition LP for the film The Haunted (2017/20). Norment represented Norway in the 2015 Venice Biennale and has since participated in the biennials of Kochi-Muziris, India (2016); Montreal (2016); Lyon, France (2017); and Thailand (2018). She is prorector of research at the Kunsthøgskolen i Oslo (Oslo National Academy of the Arts). She lives in Oslo.
The contributors would like to extend their deepest thanks to the following public programming participants and visitors for their thoughtful book and record suggestions that have since been added to the selection:
Asterisks (*) appear in the bibliography beside texts suggested by visitors.