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Seth Cluett, Sound Artist

Seth Cluett considers himself an artist, performer, and composer. He was born in 1976 in Troy, NY. His background in photography informs his careful attention to detail when working with sound. Growing up in rural upstate New York, environments and the sense of time and speed of a place is something that fascinates Cluett, and something he feels is only best explored through sound. He started off exploring sounds that accompanied images that were full of detail and fascinating to him. He then moved on to exploring sounds that "carried a sense of place with them." He likes sounds that have multiple layers of meaning that can be interpreted by many people in many personal ways.

The display of his sound installations are often quite beautiful, incorporating reflected light of sound vibrations in his earlier works such as "precedence affect" (2000) and "cloud-to-air" (2003/2008).

I am attracted to his work because of the way he incorporates simple, minimalistic objects into the display of his work. "Doleros" is an exploration of the Ringing Rocks State Park of Bucks County, Pennsylvania. The objects from which the sound is emitting are sculptural speakers and important in creating a sense of place. The speakers have been embedded in found objects and are placed low to the ground which contributes to a sense of place in their connection of a distant experience to the physical present moment.
Similarly, "a spatial asyndeton" explores acoustical place by creating a fluid sonary landscape void of the conceptual framework of beginning and end. The word "asyndeton" has been used by philosopher and sociologist Michel de Certeau to refer to an "erasure of the journey from memory when one conceptualizes their travel between two points". The unique perception of the same sound at every point on a circle embodies the erasure of our notion of "arrival" and "departure" and "exploration and experience reveals a topography in sound that maps the void as geography." I think it is Cluett's attention to the relationship between physical place and metaphysical experience or sensibility in relation to sound is what draws me to his work.

As I mentioned before, his work has been overall driven by an attention to detail, but the more recent works that I have just described take on larger underlying conceptual meanings that build upon the exploration of physical process (rain, walking, sound vibrations, movement, change over time) of his earlier works. Building off of "a spatial asyndeton," Cluett is now exploring memory and currently working on a piece called "Three Forms of Forgetting" that will debut early 2011. Links to a large body of his installation works can be found here: