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Mary G. Mazurek, IDSVA





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Noise is sound that is loud, confusing, chaotic, unwanted, disturbing, and even dangerous. From this, many have concluded that noise is negative, as it can produce discomfort and terror. But, if noise is never considered beyond this, it continues to be a threat. Therefore, I argued that noise is complex, and if engaged with aesthetically, it can produce astonishingly profound experiences and understandings, accessible within a framework of philosophical filtering.

The complexities that aesthetic noise holds require filtering to gain more profound levels of appreciation. Methods such as deep and deliberate listening, as well as observations to psychological and phenomenological responses to noise, were employed to deconstruct works by Luigi Russolo, John Cage, Alison Knowles, Annea Lockwood, Alyce Santoro, and Sunn O))).

To more fully appreciate the power of aesthetic noise, I applied philosophical filtering from the following thinkers Edmund Burke, Martin Heidegger, Jacque Derrida, and Julia Kristeva. Their philosophies have been traditionally utilized to evaluate literature, the visual arts, and even music, but rarely if ever noise. This is an aspect that makes my work unique.

Aesthetic noise was evaluated through the filter of Edmund Burke’s the sublime and the beautiful, and it was determined that noise could be both when used as an art material. To better understand noise as an art material, it was then assessed with the four causes as elucidated by

Martin Heidegger. Though the case could be made for noise as a material through the four causes, it proved inadequate. Noise would require a different frame. It was then filtered through Jacque Derrida’s premise of the parergon, which provided a porous and indeterminate frame.

This then demonstrated that noise was abject. Julia Kristeva’s premises of abjection and purification were then applied in the processing of noise to gain additional aesthetic knowledge.

This investigation demonstrated that noise is exceedingly complex, and no one philosophical approach proved adequate for its evaluation. However, by engaging multiple philosophies in concert, the value of aesthetic


Aesthetics | Art Practice | Arts and Humanities | Audio Arts and Acoustics


Institute for Doctoral Studies in the Visual Arts


Portland ME



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