John Kannenberg is a multimedia artist, experimental curator, writer, and researcher whose work investigates sounds as cultural objects; the frontiers of digital heritage; the multisensory geography of museums; the nexus between parody, authenticity, and the absurd; the phenomenology of time; and the importance of listening as a cultural, political, and empathetic act.
His art practice emphasises process, rule making, and rule breaking. His art has been presented across the globe, including appearances at Tate Modern and the White Cube gallery in London; Cairo's 100Live electronic music festival; the First Glance video art festival in Tripoli; and Neighborhood Public Radio's project for the Whitney Biennial (duetting with Glenn Bach). John's drawings of the sounds of museum spaces have been published in Manifest Gallery's international drawing annual INDA10, and his sound maps of museums have been featured on Hyperallergic.com.
In his current role as Director and Chief Curator of The Museum of Portable Sound, John has founded an institution that exists on a solitary mobile phone to research the collection, curation, and display of sound as a museological object while critiquing conventional museum practices and music industry-imposed limitations on the digital distribution of sound. As part of the museum's Education Department he teaches Listening to Museums, a course that combines readings and on-site museum listening sessions to explore ideas of museology and sound studies in tandem.
He has given talks as an invited speaker on the topic of the sonic experience of museums on BBC Radio 4; at London's National Gallery; the Victoria & Albert Museum; the Sackler Research Forum at the Courtauld Institute of Art; the Royal College of Art in London; The Institute of Archaeology's Museum Studies MA programme at University College London; John Cabot University in Rome; and the University of Leicester Museum Studies Programme. He was awarded the 2017 Science Museum Group Journal Writing Prize for his article about sounds as museological objects of culture.
His work as an independent curator has included numerous exhibitions for radio, online and physical venues like the Herskovits Library of African Studies in Chicago, the ZKM Medienmuseum, the Biennale of Electronic Arts in Perth, London's ResonanceFM art radio station, and a display of ancient Egyptian soundmaking objects for the Kelsey Museum of Archaeology in Ann Arbor.
Kannenberg, J. (2017). ‘Towards a more sonically inclusive museum practice: a new definition of the “sound object”.’ Science Museum Group Journal. Issue 08 [online]. Awarded 2017 Science Museum Group Journal Writing Prize.
Boon, Tim; Jamieson, Annie; Kannenberg, J.; Kolkowski, Aleks; and Mansell, James (2017). ‘Organising Sound: How a research network might help structure an exhibition.’ Science Museum Group Journal. Issue 8 [online].
Kannenberg, J. (2016). ‘Listening to Museums: Sound mapping towards a sonically inclusive museology.’ Museological Review. Issue 20 [online].
Kannenberg, J. (2016). ‘Why Listen to Museums?’ Uniformagazine. No. 6. Devon: Colin Sackett Press.
Kannenberg, J. (2014) ‘Listening to Karanis: The Mer-Wer Remix Project,’ In Karanis Revealed: Discovering the Past and Present of a Michigan Excavation in Egypt, Wilfong, T. G. (ed.), Ann Arbor, Mich., Kelsey Museum of Archaeology, pp. 179–181.
Kannenberg, J. (2014). ‘Mapping the Sounds of Collections: Listening to Museums and Archives.’ News Quarterly, World Forum for Acoustic Ecology. Vol. 11, No. 1 [online].
Kannenberg, J. (2013). ‘Listening to the Active Sounds of History: field recording and museums.’ Sound and Vision Blog. London: British Library [online].
Kannenberg, J. (2012) Hours of Infinity: recording the imperfect eternal, Ann Arbor, Mich., Kelsey Museum of Archaeology.
Kannenberg, J. (2009) ‘Landscape I: Vanishing Point,’ In Notations 21, Sauer, T. (ed.), New York, N.Y, Mark Batty Publisher, pp. 115–116.
Public Work Podcast, Brown University Center for Public Humanities and Cultural Heritage, May 2018
Artists and Friends podcast, interview with Central Saint Martins curatorial students, April 2017
Review of Museum of Portable Sound, Londonist.com, April 2017
Review of Museum of Portable Sound, Museums Journal, February 2017
'Gallery Whispers and Lunch in the Café: Mapping Museums Through Their Sounds,' profile on Hyperallergic.com, August 2014
Soundmarks as objects of curatorial care: The exhibition of audio recordings within a museological context
Art History: Undisciplined, The Courtauld Institute of Art, London
Sounds as objects of culture: Exhibition strategies at the Museum of Portable Sound
Exhibiting Sounds of Changes
The Finnish Labour Museum Werstas, Tampere, Finland
Listening to Culture: The Museum of Portable Sound
Science Museum Summer Research Seminar Series, London
Listening to Culture: The Museum of Portable Sound
Visiting Practitioners Series, London College of Communication
Panel Discussion with Eric de Visscher and Emily Candela
Listening to the Museum : People, Places, Objects. Aural Culture in the 21st-century Museum
The V&A, London
Intangible Culture in an Expanded Field: The Collections of Audio Interfaces & Transport at The Museum of Portable Sound
Science Museum Group Research Conference
Science + Media Museum, Bradford, UK
Intangible Industrial Heritage: The Collections of Audio Interfaces & Transport at The Museum of Portable Sound
Museums, Collections, and Industrial Heritage – International Committee for Museums and Collections of Archaeology and History Conference
Curating Sounds as Objects of Culture and Human Agency
Resonant Worlds: Sound, Art & Science – International Sound Art Curating Conference Series
ZKM Center for Art and Media, Karlsruhe, Germany
Sonic Events Native Within the Museum Soundscape
College Art Association, New York
What is the Museum of Portable Sound?
The Phoenix, London
The Museum of Portable Sound: Establishing a paleonomy of the sound object within museology
Research Week, University of Leicester Department of Museum Studies
The Museum of Portable Sound: Establishing a 21st century museum without walls, a paleonomy of the ‘sound object,’ and a case for a more sonically inclusive museology
Sound Art Matters
Aarhus University, Denmark
Listening to Museums: Sound Mapping Strategies for Visual Environments
Media and the City – European Communication Research and Education Association
Cultural Heritage in the Age of 3D Printing: Rise of the Intangible?
Arts in Society
Imperial College London
A Sound Map of the Egyptian Museum, Cairo
Crossing Listening Paths – World Forum for Acoustic Ecology annual conference
Ionian University, Corfu, Greece
Pathways to the Past MA course
University of London
Museum Studies MA course
Institute of Archaeology
University College London
Information Experience Design MA course
Royal College of Art, London
Department of Communications
John Cabot University
The Courtauld Institute of Art, London
Tyneside Sounds Society
Shipley Art Gallery
Points of Listening lecture series
London College of Communication
Sound Art & Performance MA course
University of Surrey – Guildford
Tyne & Wear Archives and Museums, 2017
Kendall College Art Department, 2012
So.Cal.Sonic, Long Beach, California, 2005