vii. Robert Crouch


“Remember that a sound often has not just one source but at least two, three, even more. Take the sound of the felt-tip pen with which I am writing this draft. The sound's two main sources are the pen and the paper. But there are also the hand gestures involved in writing and, further, I who am writing. If this sound is recorded and listened to on a tape recorder, sound sources will also include the loudspeaker, the audiotape onto which the sound was recorded, and so forth.” - Michel Chion, The Three Listening Modes

Robert Crouch is an artist and curator whose work encompasses sound, performance, and technology. As an artist, he locates his work within the intersection of post-phenomenological listening practices, conceptual sound art, and contemporary electronic music. At its core, his work can be understood as an argument taking place between a preoccupation with tonality versus a set of signifiers latching on to context, history, and subjectivities. Similarly, Crouch’s curatorial work focuses on the overlapping disciplines of sound, technology, movement, and performance.

For this talk, we will listen to excerpts from his latest sound work, Organs. The three pieces comprising Organs were selected and edited from a year of recordings developed in collaboration with choreographer and artist Julie Tolentino in 2014. Three separate projects were documented through audio recordings of performances and rehearsals, as well as related field recordings. Each piece recalls a matrix of encounters between a specific body (or bodies) within a unique context, conducting and responding to sounds, both electronic and organic: the interplay of the soft tissue, sinew, bone, and blood of the body-organ, pushing against/within/outside the sustained tones and synthetic expressions of the techno-organ. Each organ exists simultaneously alienated from, and an extension of, the other.

“After spending much of 2014 working with Julie, recording sounds, listening, adjusting, re-recording, listening again, discussing, modifying, I think of this less as a finished artwork and more of a momentary reflection. A pause. The punctuation between statements in a long series of utterances that are intentionally dialogical, generative, and socially motivated.”

Crouch will also present documentation of Tolentino’s Cry Of Love - Honey Installation performance from 2010 and discuss its implications for his own work, and will follow through to his current curatorial research on the performance work of the late Chilean artist Juan Downey for the Getty’s Pacific Standard Time: LA/LA.

Robert Crouch has exhibited in Montreal, San Francisco, Los Angeles, New York, and London, and performed at venues including Oboro, the Chapel Performance Space, Art Center College of Design, Human Resources, Hammer Museum, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, and the Stone. He is the co-founding Director of VOLUME and the Artistic Director for the AxS Festival. He is currently developing a new project with taisha paggett for LACE in the fall of 2015.