This paper defines the object-based sound installation as a distinct category of sound art that emerges from the intersection of live musical performance and the sonic possibilities of the recording studio. In order to contextualize this emergent category, connections are drawn among the rationalization of the senses, automated musical instruments, the lineage of recorded sound and the notion of absolute music. This interwoven history provides the necessary backdrop for the interpretation of three major works by Steven Reich, Alvin Lucier and Zimoun. These respective pieces are described in order to elucidate the ways in which object-based sound installations introduce embodied visibility into the transformative gestures of sound reproduction.

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