'Reconfiguring the Landscape' investigates how 3-D electroacoustic composition and sound-art can evoke and provoke a new awareness of our outdoor environment. The work addresses both urban and natural settings.
Outdoor sound environments have penetrated the materials and structures of electroacoustic composition and sound-art, and we have witnessed an increase in the number of installations and compositions, and the awareness of sound in architectural environmental design. More recently, our technology to capture, analyse and synthesise 3-D sound spaces using tools such as higher-order ambisonics has aligned with the precision of our spatial hearing, such that electroacoustic composition has the potential to address, and be enriched by, the full dimensionality of the sonic landscape. Unthinkable only a few years ago, it is this affordance and challenge that the project takes as its point of departure.
Framing the project is the work of Truax and Schafer in electroacoustic composition and soundscape theories, Schaeffer’s modes of listening, and Ingold’s approach to understanding our environment through active engagement. Case studies span installations, land-art, composition, noise abatement and environmental design.
The project contains four cross-disciplinary modules exploring the 3D soundscapes and landscapes of local sites:
1. Layering: Compositions that draw on site-specific 3D sound and human behaviour will be layered back into the existing environment. What are the implications of this combined 3-D soundscape? What is the impact of the resulting multi-modal experience? What happens in the counterpoint between real and added? What is the dialogue between reality, hyper-reality and experience?
2. Enhancing: How can we encourage the visitor to uncover details of sound and space that are too fleeting to be fully comprehended in the real-time flow, distracted from by the experience of our other senses, or occurring in our absence? We address what is present, to inspire and tempt our wish to linger and experience space and place. Enhancing reveals the living ‘soul’ of the original space interpreted by the artist.
3. Relocating: What happens when we relocate 3-D sound from one site to another? In Relocating, high-speed internet will transmit 3-D audio over vast distances and merge one scene into another in real-time. It will connect locations in the world which share features such as climate, terrain and social function.
4. Modifying: The quality of our acoustic environment is a rating that society has become more aware of. The normal way to address noise is by abatement. Is it possible to modify sound via acoustical intervention, to transform the ordinary into the remarkable and explore noise in a playful way?
The integration of art and technology is central to the investigation. Sound, space, human behaviour and temporal variations will be captured, analysed and embraced as sources for creative work.