Conceptual Correlations of Sound and Image

Sound-image relationships in conceptual art reflect, above all, the interconnections of postwar avant-garde movements in the visual arts and in New Music. Categories of intuition and of chance thereby constitute not only a direct line of thought from Marcel Duchamp’s concept of anti-retinal art by way of John Cage’s indeterminism to the contingent processes of George Brecht’s events. Protoconceptual methods in visual arts can also be compared at the formal level: the structural principles of minimalism with the related structuring model of minimal music, for example. Relational analogies exist, for instance, in a formal idiom based on geometry or patterns and in significant permutation methods such as phase shifting, as demonstrated both by the compositions of Steve Reich and by the minimalist works of Sol LeWitt. The accumulative principle of serialism and the repetition that ensues from it are particularly important principles of this method: form based on repetition is premised on a type of reception in which perception evolves as a proactive, creative activity in space and time. Such visualization of processes of perception, which also characterizes the work of Michael Snow and Tony Conrad, constitutes a crucial aspect of audiovisuality in conceptual art.