SOUND/IMAGE19 – Images from the weekend!

Thank you to everyone who came to be a part of #soundimage19! It was a weekend full of concerts, talks, screenings, performances unpacking the audiovisual and sharing ideas!

We had a really fantastic programme, with guests visiting us from all over the world. Below are some of the images from the weekend.

Verbalizing Sculptural Sound Phenomena in Electronic Music and Sound Arts – Towards a Share Perceptual Space (SPS)

Gerriet Krishna Sharma / Angela McArthur, IEM Graz / Queen Mary London

This contribution is concerned with questions whether the aesthetics of spatialized electronic music of today take into account the perception of the audience at all and how to find terms that could be helpful for composition and analysis of spatialized sound. We are dealing for some time now with spatial sound phenomena that have spatial dimensions like proliferation, width, height etc. forming diverse sound masses that can penetrate, layer, move around each other and define by their properties – space itself. However, to date with the different formats existing, projection techniques and devices, software tools, spatial concepts explained and discussed it is virtually unresolved what the different listening groups hear where in the created space, how they experience plastic sound objects and how they would describe them for themselves. Therefore, the question of common spatial perception remains important in a field of art that claims space and spatial experience as aesthetically being central. Thus, these phenomena are perceived by composers, scientists and audiences causing ‘something’ we call a shared perceptual space (SPS) defined as the intersubjective space where the perception of these different listener groups intersect. While there has been plenty of exchange between science and art since the beginning of computer music, there has been very little between composers and the audience about the possibilities of appreciation and different perceptions of the spatial sound phenomena that are actually inherent in the spatial sound-composition. Electroacoustic music hosts two diametrically opposite cultures: On one side we find the exact sciences of acoustics, informatics, and engineering all of which define conditions of sound production, the very instruments of executing any compositional design. On the other side we find the culture of music appreciation by the ear. Whereas the first aspect is heavily loaded with well-defined verbal concepts that are shared among a community of specialists, the aural, musical aspect that embodies musical thought and projects it to the audience is almost devoid of a consistent terminology as far as electroacoustic music is concerned. Thus a fundamental problem within every aesthetical discussion in this field resides in the contradicting approaches of science and art: Scientific discourse seeks to eliminate ambiguity in its terminology and definitions. An artistic discourse would on the contrary often seek to be as polyvalent as possible, suggesting a network of meanings or implications. Thus the scientific ideal is more often than not alien to an aesthetically oriented discourse. However, there is also a need for some intersubjective agreements in the aesthetic field so that music can be meaningfully discussed in words. Within this lecture approaches and methodologies are introduced how to develop and derive a specific terminology on “sculpturality” for a certain way of spatial sound projection. By this we intent to encourage the aesthetic discussion about space in spatial sound composition and therefore enlarge the compositional contingencies of this art.

Biography

Angela McArthur is an artist, lecturer, and PhD student at Queen Mary University London. Her work draws from the technologies, perception and art of sound in space, to tackle an intersection of the three. In recent years she has been focused on the aesthetics of distance in spatial audio for immersive environments. She has worked in studio, live and location environments, and maintains a commitment to field recording as part of the compositional process. Her explorations centre around natural environments and micro listening. 

The interdisciplinary imperatives of spatial audio have shaped her thinking and work, and she values an almost intertextual approach to working across different disciplines. With a background in sound as well as image, she is interested in the assumed need for sound and image to synchretise, and adhere to realism. She challenges such notions by foregrounding the aesthetic potential inherent in the medium, and asking whether spatial audio attributes might not instead elicit new ways of listening. What does it mean to listen in three-dimensions?

She was recently artist-in-residence 2019 at the Institut für Elektronische Musik (IEM) I Graz. She recently exhibited at Ars Electronica (cinematic VR film in collaboration with the BBC), Tate Modern (Exchange, in collaboration with the People’s Palace Projects), Society & The Sea (audiovisual installation) and worked with a US-based geo-scientist’s infrasonic recordings of the ocean, for an installation to highlight the impact of marine acoustic pollution. In 2017 she co-directed a Sheffield Docfest-shortlisted cinematic VR film, using interactive granular synthesis. She is working towards her PhD at the Centre for Digital Music and in the Media & Arts Tech programme. She completed her masters in the School of Music & Fine Art at the University of Kent with composer Claudia Molitor and fine artist Sarah Turner. She has lived mostly in London, but other places include New York, Sydney,

Canada, and Hong Kong.   www.angelamcarthur.com  Twitter @AngelaMcArthur1

Gerriet Krishna Sharma is a composer and sound artist. He studied Media Art at the Academy of Media Arts Cologne and composition/computer music at the University of Music and Performing Arts Graz. In October 2016 he completed his doctorate at the scientific-artistic doctoral school Graz. His thesis is titled “Composing Sculptural Sound Phenomena in Computer Music”. He lives in Berlin and Graz. 

Within the past 15 years he was deeply involved in spatialisation of sound in 3D environments like Ambisonics and Wave-Field Synthesis and the transformation of sound into body-space relations. Between 2010 and 15 he conducted the series of works „Oblivious to Gravity“, an artistic research project with electroacoustic aural architectures in vacant urban spaces. Commissioned by the cultural fonds of the state of Styria/Austria (A9) and the Sparkassenstiftung Cologne/Germany.

He was senior researcher and composer within the three year artistic research project “Orchestrating Space by Icosahedral Loudspeaker” (OSIL) funded by the Austrian Science Fund (FWF) with 40 publications, over 20 lectures and 12 internationally premiered compositions. He had been appointed as DAAD Edgar Varèse guest-professor at Electronic Music Studio, Audio communication (AK), TU Berlin for WS 2017/18. Since 2019 he is working on a book on „spatial practices“ and new compositions, exhibitions and a lecture series.    

https://www.gksh.net/

The Atmospherics

Trond Lossius & Jeremy Welsh, Independent Artist / Trondheim Academy of Fine Art, Norwegian University of Science and Technology

The Atmospherics (River Deep, Mountain High) is an ongoing collaborative project by Trond Lossius and Jeremy Welsh. The project researches notions of “place” explored through field recording in sound and video that capture unique qualities from rural and urban areas. The material is processed and edited in order to realise large-scale (and sometimes smaller scale) audio-visual installations. Aspects and elements of different locations are combined to produce temporary places that refer to but does not literary represent actual places that have been visited and documented. The material collected often exploits contrasts – for example, between industrial structures and the natural landscape, motion and stillness, sound and silence, or light and dark. Imagery in part comes from West Norwegian landscapes well known from the work of 19th-century national romantic painters. A question in the project has been how to see and listen to these landscapes from a 21st-century perspective? How to capture certain qualities of the visual and auditive identities of these places, and then use these as raw material to compose something new? To what degree do information and impression of the places converge or diverge in sound and image field recordings? Processes of abstraction and filtering allow transformations of the material. Editing and montage de- and re-contextualise the images and sounds. Multiple viewpoints within an installation and the use of surround sound enable the construction of an immersive environment that invites the viewer to interact with the material through their perceptions, memories and emotional responses. During field trips, the artists record video material in 4K and audio in ambisonics. Subsequent treatment of field recordings also implies research into creative use of these high-definition formats. Audio-wise this involves software development when needed, including the porting of Ambisonic Toolkit to Reaper. An ongoing field of research in the project is how to make ambisonic field recordings a malleable material in the creation of music and sound design. How can the creative workflow with ambisonics in audio editing software become agile in a way that resembles standard work with stereo audio? The project also explores strategies for using larger loudspeaker rigs in installations while reducing the visual interference with multiple video projections and screens. Audio-visual relationships are of vital interest. The Atmospherics seldom make us of one-to-one couplings between audio and video and instead explore the potential of several parallel looping media streams. The loops all have varying durations and fuse into a constant flow of new combinations that invites new cross-readings and chance encounters between layers. Each installation develops in response to the specific exhibition location. To that extent, the works have an aspect of site-specificity and respond to the architectural and acoustic qualities of the installation space. Material is edited, modified and mixed in situ so that each time the work takes on new aspects. Since 2014, the project has resulted in a series of installations in Bergen, Trondheim, Arendal, Førde, Utne and Campania, Italy.

Biography

Jeremy Welsh (b. 1954, Gateshead, UK) lives between Trondheim and Bergen. He works within video, installation, photography, audio and performance. He is a professor of visual arts at the Academy of Fine Arts in Trondheim, NTNU. He was a former professor, master coordinator and dean at the Bergen Academy of Art and Design (2001-2013), and founder and curator at The Film & Video Umbrella, London (1988-1990). His education is from Nottingham Trent University (1977) Goldsmith’s College, University of London (1982). His works have been included in several national and international collections, like the National Museum of Art, Architecture and Design, Oslo, Trondheim Art Museum, Arts Council Norway, ZKM Media Center (Karlsruhe) and MacQuarie University Art Collection in Sydney.

jewelsh.blogspot.com

Trond Lossius (b. 1966, Bergen) is based in Bergen. His projects investigate sound, place and space, using sound spatialisation and multichannel audio as an invisible and temporal sculptural medium in works engaging with the site. He has collaborated on a large number of cross-disciplinary projects, amongst others with the contemporary performance group Verdensteatret. He graduated with a Master degree in Geophysics from the University of Bergen and went on to study music and composition at The Grieg Academy. From 2003-2007 he was a research fellow at Bergen National Academy of the Arts. Lossius has previously been Head of Artistic Research and Fellowship Programme at Oslo National Academy of the Arts. He is one of the developers of the software framework Jamoma, and he has ported Ambisonic Toolkit to a set of plugins for the Reaper DAW.

trondlossius.no

The importance of sensuality in electroacoustic music: A presentation of my work as a Composer

Véro Marengère, Université de Montréal

The sonic contact is a sonic touch or a proximity touch. It can be perceived as a light brush.

Touch can be heard in the sound as it carries a sensory quality. Through its intrusive and

invisible nature, the sound hoists a sensual, sexual and even healing power. While sensuality is electroacoustic music’s strongest property, it remains its biggest taboo. In my process as a sound artist, I mainly utilize this particular power of sound throughout my compositions and performances.

Biography

Véro Marengère is a composer and sound artist based in Montreal. Graduated from the Digital Music program of University of Montreal, her work is strongly influenced by Suzanne Ciani, Anna Friz, Holly Herndon and the experimental underground scene of Montreal. She creates musical compositions and performances aiming to carve a dialogue between sensuality and sound. Shaped by her work within the field of dance and instrumental music, her language blends together elements of music, sound design, dance and live performances. In the midst of her versatility, her artistic concern remain constant: fostering intimacy through the intangible and finding a balance between digital processing and organic sources.

https://www.veroveromarengere.com/

The Video Game as a Sound Interface: Towards new instrumental gestures?

Hervé Zénouda, Toulon University (France)

This proposition aims to shed light on an emerging creative field the “audio games”: a crossroad between video games and musical composition aided by computer. Today, a plethora of small applications, which propose entertaining audio-visual experiences with a preponderant sound dimension are available for game consoles, computers, and mobile phones. These experiences represent a new universe where the gameplay of video games is applied to musical composition. In proposing to manipulate what we refer to as “a-musicological” representations (i.e. using symbols not normally associated with traditional musicology to manipulate and produce sound), this creative field raises a number of questions about representations of sound and musical structures, but also invite to be aware of new instrumental gestures dictates by these new interaction with sound and music and interrogates the musical results produced by these extra-musical goals. Furthermore, these objects play an undeniable role in the rise of a new amateur profile, already put forth by authors like Vilèm Flusser (Flusser, 1996), with regards to photography. After having defined the characteristics and the limits of this field and highlighting a few of the historical milestones (abstract cinema, gaming theory in music, graphic actions and graphic scores, open and random composition…), we will study a few examples of musical games and try to spot on some of these new gestures and new music structure which could be issue from the confrontation of these two different cognitive objectives : play a game by manipulating his own gameplay and compose music. For that, we need to create new analytical tools for these new cultural objects.

Biography

After musical activities (drummer, composer, producer) and designer/developer of interactive devices, Hervé Zénouda has been teaching at the University since 2000 (University of Paris 13-Villetaneuse). In 2006, he defended a PhD in Information and Communication Sciences and was appointed Associate Professor at the University of Toulon and the I3M laboratory (Nice / Toulon) in 2007. His thesis was published by Editions L ‘ Harmattan in 2008 under the title Images and sounds in contemporary art hypermedia: from correspondence to fusion.

The creation of The Angst of the String (The Glass String)

Dr Brigid Burke, Independent Artist

Chamber Music/instrument building/audio/visual performance is becoming a new field of creative practice and performance. It’s fuelled by the imagery of three dimensional art spaces in contemporary performance culture and is increasingly acceptable and engaging with old art forms and new technologies combined with live digital audio and imagery projection.

In this analysis, I will examine detailed aspects of specific audio/visual/instrument building in live performances. The Glass String formerly The Angst of the String for Chamber strings, String Percussion instruments, live electronics/pre-recorded and video depicts different performance outcomes from the same instruments, score, and intention, from the original onset of the idea. I will focus on the performance spaces and audio-visual delivery across a range spaces and performers including separate audio and visual outcomes.

The Glass String (formally The Angst of the String) in the long term will be the creation of an ensemble work for chamber string ensemble – 8 violinists, 4 cellos, 4 String Percussion instruments, live electronics/pre-recorded and video. The percussion and string instruments are made from glass, paper, gold leaf, lights, discarded violins, violas and cellos, live and pre-recorded electronics and video. It is a notated, audio-visual composition for Chamber Ensemble. The artistic rationale is based on 24 deconstructed pieces of violins, violas and cellos. The Glass String explores different audio out comes using surfaces of vibration, overtone, intonation and attack on the string from both the traditional and percussion string instruments exploring old traditional technologies and new phenomenon. Each string instrument has been transformed into a string/percussion instrument that has attached microphones, effects units that are controlled by switch pedals and sensors by the performers and electronic artist that controls the live visuals. The instruments have also attached lights and cameras that are projected live with pre-recorded visual footage and live cameras. The Chamber ensemble plays the transformed string instruments and their conventional string instruments. The score explores extended techniques, percussive sounds, graphic /traditional notations and microtonality, whisper sounds and glissandi.

This creation will investigate sound worlds from each of the Chamber instrumentalists from a mechanical investigation with a wash of constant rhythmic patterns repeated that gradually become disjointed and fragmented as the effects are changed throughout the composition. The Glass String combines thick textures and extremities in all the instrumentation both audibly and visually.

Biography

Brigid Burke is an Australian composer, performance artist, clarinet soloist, visual artist, video artist and educator whose creative practice explores the use of acoustic sound and technology to enable media performances and installations that are rich in aural and visual nuances. Her work is widely presented in concerts, festivals, and radio broadcasts throughout Australia, Asia, Brazil, Europe and the USA.  Brigid’s main focus is integrating musical ideas with a combination of different media. Each component of media is a tool in the exploration of her artistic process: sound (acoustic, laptop, clarinets and electronics), composition, improvisation, installation, collaboration (with dancers, acoustic performers and other new media performers), print making, pen and ink drawings, painting and animation (digital).

Her involvement New Music has led her to integrate sound, visuals, video mixing and theatre in her performances of her own work and in collaboration with other composers/performers. Other ensembles Brigid performs with are: Tri Duo with Grania Burke, Nunique Quartet, Pausa with Adrian Sherriff, Collage and BHZ with Mark Zanter and Steve Hall based in the USA and Duo with David McNicol piano.  Currently she curates with Mark Pedersen SEENSOUND a monthly Visual Music series at the LOOP Bar Melbourne – seensound.com Recently she has been a recipient of an Australia Council Project Music Fellowship & new work commissions ‘Burning Antrils’, ‘Coral Bells’ & “Instincts and Episodes’ also Artist in Resident at Marshall University USA with a Edwards Distinguished Professor Artist Residency, Indiana University USA in 2015 & 2017 also ADM NTU Singapore. Also most recently she has presented her works on the Big screen at Federation Square Melbourne, Tilde Festival, ABC Classic FM. and International Media Festival at the Trafacka Arena in Prague, ICMC International Computer Music Conference Perth Australia, Echofluxx 14-19 Festivals Prague, Generative Arts Festivals in Rome, Milan, Ravena & Florence Italy, Asian Music Festivals in Tokyo, The Melbourne International Arts Festival, Futura Music Festival Paris France, Mona Foma Festival Hobart, The International Clarinet Festivals in Japan and Canada also Seoul and Australian International Computer Music Festivals. She has a PhD in Composition from UTAS and a Master of Music in Composition from The University of Melbourne. 

www.brigid.com.au

Hyperobjectivity in the Art of Lumia by Thomas Wilfred [b.1889 d.1968]

Trent Kim, University of the West of Scotland

Lumia is an early-mid 20th century art form pioneered by a Danish born American artist, Thomas Wilfred. As an early example of new media art, Wilfred developed this unique art form through technological innovation (a series of Lumia devices named ‘Clavilux’) and various aesthetic experimentations inspired by other art forms including theatre, music and abstract painting. This paper situates the art of Lumia within the field abstract art at large and applies the concept of ‘Hyperobjective’ by Timothy Morton to explain Lumia’s unique method of abstraction. I describe this method of abstraction as how an image ejects the viewer in motion and contextualise the materiality of Lumia as machine animation and reflective media as a means of perpetually disorienting a point of view. I compare Lumia to other types of abstractions in this presentation, but also to examples of generative art and argue that the aspect of ‘Hyperobjectivity’ found in Lumia makes the art incomprehensible than infinite or random. By the incomprehensibility, viewers are not embedded in the world of the image produced by Lumia but are strictly out-with the image. Moreover, the silence of Lumia can reiterate this way of abstraction: seeing out-with image or being ejected by the image. In short, Lumia moulds time and space, and light is there to witness, relay, and participate in the changes in motion.

Biography

Trent Kim is a programme leader for BA (Hons) New Media Art at University of the West of Scotland. He started his career in live media and then expanded it onto video art and animation. His works have been shown in South Korea, the US and UK and he has given lectures in various HE institutions including the University of Glasgow, Glasgow School of Art, Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, Kyungsung University (South Korea) and Yale University (US). He is a PhD candidate in animation at the Royal College of Art (London) and his specialist subject areas include lumia (early-mid 20th-century American art by Thomas Wilfred), animation, abstraction and phenomenology.

Virtual Futures

Allegra Shorto, Khora Contemporary

Immersive technologies are changing the nature of what an artwork is and how it is valued. Technological developments are beginning to blue the boundaries between virtual and physical space. Amidst this shifting landscape Khora Contemporary is rethinking the value of an artwork in a market that seems to increasingly value experience over possession.

Biography

Allegra Shorto is Art Director of Khora Contemporary and is based between London and Copenhagen. Her work focuses on establishing Virtual Reality as a widely applied medium within the arts, through collaborations with artists and institutions working with new digital technologies. Allegra has a background in contemporary art curation and holds a degree in History of Art from the University of Cambridge.

Hearing, Sight and a Host of Other Senses

Aki Pasoulas, University of Kent

This paper explores a compositional method based on the interpretation of information received through all senses as gestural and textural activity in the aural domain; it attempts to map our experiences from a number of systems (visual, gustatory, olfactory and haptic environments) to another (aural space). The paper starts from the method I followed when creating my latest composition, as a case study for this approach. For the making of my piece I used information collected through multisensory walks, including environmental recordings and sensory maps as starting points to create layers of sound material. The piece does not employ data sonification digital processes, but instead, it conveys sensory information from the immediate environment as either sonic gestures or textures. Starting from Smalley’s motion and growth processes, I approached my experiences as shapes developing in time. Gesture implies a motion, a temporal structure, whereas texture implies a consistency, the feel and appearance of something. The construction of the piece involved mapping sensory experiences on a relative timeline on separate soundmaps, smellmaps, touchmaps, tastemaps and sightmaps. Composite layers of that information were combined with recognisable sounds from the environmental recordings I made during the walks, to form musically meaningful structures. For example, according to my interpretation, a smell that starts strong and disappears slowly can be represented by a relatively fast attack that gives rise to a texture which gradually disintegrates and disappears; whereas grazing in a passing gesture bristles of tall cereal crops can be translated into thin high-frequency spectral lines appearing and disappearing over lower-frequency oscillating figures. Transferring experiences between senses followed a loose interpretation in my recent piece, but focusing on constructing more detailed maps will overcome this tendency. Similar structural processes can be followed for all senses, where possible, which are combined to create polyphonic structures that eventually form larger sections in a composition. In addition, my composition explores interrelationships between music, time perception, memory and the listening environment, as it is based on a number of multisensory walks with senses acting on different timescales. Ultimately, the composition becomes an imaginary soundscape approached in a non-linear way, in the sense that no story is unfolding but rather, it is a presentation of snippets of experiences about particular spaces, places and times, based on a specific theme. Evidently, listeners will not relive the experiences I had through the multisensory walks, as the composition does not replicate them. Instead, this process allows us to use creatively information that we receive from other senses, often neglected when thinking about sound.

Biography

Aki Pasoulas is an electroacoustic composer, Director of Education and the Director of MAAST (Music and Audio Arts Sound Theatre) at the University of Kent. He also taught at universities in London including City, Middlesex, and the University of the Arts, and he holds a PhD on timescale perception in electroacoustic music. His research interests include acousmatic music, time perception in relation to music, psychoacoustics and sound perception, spatial sound, acoustic communication, and soundscape ecology especially in relation to listening psychology. He has written for instruments, found objects, voice, recorded and electronic sound, composed music for the theatre and for short animation films, and organised and performed with many ensembles. His scholarly and music works are published through EMI/KPM, ICMA, Sonos Localia, HELMCA, Cambridge University Press and Oxford University Press. Aki received honourable mentions at international competitions, and his music is continuously selected and performed at key events worldwide.

(http://www.aki-pasoulas.co.uk)