Reanimating the Readymade

Bussigel, Peter and Moore, Stephan and Smallwood, Scott

Proceedings of the International Conference on New Interfaces for Musical Expression

There is rich history of using found or “readymade” objects in music performances and sound installations. John Cage’s Water Walk, Carolee Schneeman’s Noise Bodies, and David Tudor’s Rainforest all lean on both the sonic and cultural affordances of found objects. Today, composers and sound artists continue to look at the everyday, combining readymades with microcontrollers and homemade electronics and repurposing known interfaces for their latent sonic potential. This paper gives a historical overview of work at the intersection of music and the readymade and then describes three recent sound installations/performances by the authors that further explore this space. The emphasis is on processes involved in working with found objects–the complex, practical, and playful explorations into sound and material culture.