Conceptual Correlations of Sound and Image

4 Presence and Place

Toward the end of the 1960s, works conceived as conceptual art by artists such as Hanne Darboven and Sol LeWitt demonstrated not only the influence of intuition and chance occurrences: the structuring principles of Steve Reich’s minimal music, for example, were also of enormous significance for an artistic trend that sought to renegotiate the primacy of the visual in visual arts.[5] Even though, strictly speaking, compositional methods such as phase shifting have little to do with sound-image relationships proper, they were indispensable to serialist conceptual art formats such as Sol LeWitt’s Incomplete Open Cubes (1974). Instead of representing time and space (in the illusionist tradition), artists recognized in repetitive procedures the potential for a tactile-phenomenological experience of spatialization and temporalization. A linear and organic concept of time ceded to a presence- and place-oriented concept of synchronicity in the sense of spatially located time. Recourse to the structural principles of minimal music, as identified by Pamela M. Lee in LeWitt’s serial methods, allowed not only the moment of in situ production—that is, the work models designed for the specific site of presentation—to become imaginable in visual arts, but also a decentralization of the work structure, insofar as the linear principle of sequentiality was interlinked with the accumulative principle of juxtaposition: a moment that aimed for a real experience of time and space as a recursive structure, the rhythm of which was to generate new stylistic impulses.[6]