SONIC FABRIC, the invention of sound and conceptual artist Alyce Santoro,
is a beautiful, audible, versatile textile woven from 50% polyester thread
and 50% audiocassette tape recorded with intricate collages of sound. The
sound compositions themselves are a kind of SONIC FABRIC too – strange and
intricate music made by weaving together unlikely combinations of looped
and layered samples of found, created, and collected sounds.
As the artist says : I began by knitting with the tape, but the texture of the resulting fabric was very loose and flimsy. Finally a weaver friend offered to try using the tape on a loom at the Rhode Island School of Design. The product astounded both of us. We never expected such a beautiful, tightly-woven, functional material.
Nearly a decade has elapsed since then, and her works made of SONIC FABRIC
have been included in exhibitions in galleries and museums around the world
related to sound art, recycling and repurposing, technology, and fashion.
As a conceptual artist and a musician, shw says, I am constantly collecting and
experimenting with the sounds that are recorded onto the tape before it’s woven
SONIC FABRIC is woven on a 1940’s dobby loom at a small family run textile
mill in New England. The large spools of tape used in the weaving process are
salvaged from the waning audiobook industry. All of the tape is recorded with
intricately composed collages of sound prior to weaving.