Working in the fied of so called “spatialized music” for about 15 years I was asking myself how to describe the phenomena I was producing in loudspeaker environments better, – in other words – how to find descriptions and techniques that are knowledge- and perception-based at the same time? The aim is to find a poetic approach in contemporary media art, using complex environments to create unique experiences that differ markedly from ordinary setups (e.g. cinema, television, home 5.1) and invite the listener to share an extended ontology of sonic spatial arts.
Perception was of course always a part of spatial composition but seldomly something that became a main topic of the compositional process.
What do we know about our perception in mediatized or medialized spatiotemporal environments?
How can we foster an aesthetic practice that composes space, using space as a prerequisite for sculptural/sonic material in these environments?
Artistic Research – as it is heralded today – seemed to me an appropriate tool to artistically investigate this situation. For that I started to work with OSIL and collaborated with the Artistic Scientific Doctoral School of the University of Music and Performing Arts Graz.
This thesis includes a practical and theoretical investigation into electroacoustic space-sound phenomena, plastic sound objects [González-Arroyo, 2012], previously little researched. Over the last 60 years these have increasingly appeared in certain sound projection techniques in the field of computer music. A special loudspeaker system developed by the Institute of Electronic Music and Acoustics (IEM) at the University of Music and Performing Arts Graz, the icosahedral loudspeaker, has been used and further developed for this purpose. The focus of all of the artistic research endeavors is the question of “Shared Perceptual Space” (SPS), the space in acousmatic music [Chion, 2009, 144] within which the perceptions of composers, scientists and audience intersect in respect of three-dimensional sound objects. The research aims to use artistic actions in order to demarcate this space or to trigger its formation. To do so it repeatedly implements a three-phase process: within the context of a series of progressively evolving electroacoustic compositions, the plastic qualities of these sound phenomena are explored. Parallel to the compositional process, an attempt will be made to find the language to establish generalizable descriptions of the objects produced. Research into existing terminologies and their application was employed to this end. Further to this, these terms were reviewed in an attempt to classify the researcher’s own compositional process. Additionally, engineering sciences were used to simulate and explain the artistically produced spatial sound phenomenon in psychoacoustic terms with listening experiments, measurements and virtual modelling.
The resultantly interlocked descriptions and also collisions of perceptions gradually informed the ensuing compositional process and led to an expanded understanding and a different practice of artistic work with these phenomena.
See also: mirage 1-6
*González-Arroyo, Ramón. 2013. “Towards a Plastic Sound Object.” In Raum: Konzepte in den Künsten, Kultur- und Naturwissenschaften, edited by Petra Ernst and Alexandra Strohmaier, 239–48. Baden-Baden, Nomos.
*Chion, Michel, Guide to Sound Objects. Die Kunst fixierter Klaenge – oder die Musique Concrètment. Merve, 2010.