Akustische Räume, Für Augen und Ohren, Musique en conteneur, Der befreite Klang

Retracing the Heard and Unheard Curatorial Practice of René Block from the 1960s to the 1980s

  • Anne Zeitz (Autor/in)


The starting point of this article is the exhibition Der befreite Klang, Kunst für Augen und Ohren (Liberated Sound, Art for the Eyes and the Ears) conceived by the German curator René Block in 1986 for a castle in Austria which was cancelled at short notice. Block had organized major exhibitions and concert programmes concentrating on sonic practices starting from the 1970s, notably Für Augen und Ohren, Von der Spieluhr zum akustischen Environment (For the Eyes and the Ears, From the Music Box to the Acoustical Environment) that took place in 1980 in the spaces of the Akademie der Künste in Berlin and which was one of the first large-scale exhibitions dedicated to sonic practices and the intermingling of musical and artistic approaches. Mainly based on the personal archives of the curator as well as the archives of the Biennale de Paris from the 1980s (INHA-collection Archives de la critique d'art), the article retraces René Block’s curatorial practice and questions the ways one can write about past exhibitions and about sounds that remained unheard.