The Heard and the Unheard: Sound Library/Bar Guidebook

cover of The Heard and the Unheard: Sound Library/Bar Guidebook

“The European avant-garde sound movement has been in existence for nearly a century, since Luigi Russell published the manifesto The Art of Noises in 1913. In Taiwan, however, its history has formed in just over twenty years, since the lifting of martial law in 1987.

During the martial-law period (1949-1987), Taiwan experienced many different restrictions of “sound”: censorship of publications, the airwaves, gatherings, marches, and songs. Such censorship controlled people’s thoughts, confined their imaginations, and limited what kinds of sounds they were able to accept and produce. For example, Taiwanese listeners of that era expected that Taiwanese music was functional – that it should shoulder the mission of boosting morale, that it promote the campaign to “counterattack the communists and regain the mainland,” and that it educate the populace. Set against such a politicized social backdrop, Taiwan could scarcely produce experimental sound, sound artists that would be deemed acceptable, or even listeners of such sound.”

-Jeph Lo