Drawing to Sound Effects

In the series Drawing to Sound Effects, John Baldessari recorded reactions to acoustic stimuli he had selected. He played to Ed Henderson, his student at the time, twelve standard sound effects of the kind used in soundtracks for films or commercials: a trumpet fanfare, the murmuring of a stream, the ticking of a Geiger counter, the noise of a power saw, etc. Henderson was requested to respond to each of the sounds with a drawing, giving a visual rendering of the acoustic effect. When one looks at the mostly gestural and abstract drawings he created in response, it becomes apparent how individual and even arbitrary the connection between sound and visual expression is. Even with standardized stimuli, the reception and processing by the listener inevitably leads to unique reactions.


  • original Title: Drawing to Sound Effects
  • Date: 1974 (?)
  • Genre: Series of works

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