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This practical artistic research project explores how the performance of acoustic sound in dialogue with site can create a sonic scenography, experienced by an audience from within the sonic structures. Six art projects were carried out in the context of this research. Their form varies due to the site-sensitive approach that is employed: the space and the participating musicians are both the source and the frame for the resulting spatial sound performances. During workshops the collaborating musicians are introduced to site-sensitive methods. They learn full-body listening, spatial sounding, and space-care. The musicians learn to co-create with the space. In a collaborative process, spatial sound compositions are created using the site-specific sonic material that is elicited from the dialogue between the performers and the space. The relation to the audience plays an important role in the sharing of the performance space and the experience of the sonic scenographies. Therefore, active audience encounter is considered during the creative process towards the performance and it is further explored during each performance. As sound is invisible and ephemeral it is a vulnerable material to engage with when creating scenographies. In this research its instability has revealed itself as an indispensable quality of a scenography that aims to connect the elements of a shared space and make their relations perceivable. There is a tendency to make ‘reliable’ material scenographies and to sustain spatial sound through audio systems while attempting to overcome the challenges a site brings to performance. This approach to performance, scenography, and spatial sound composition, however, limits the relation between acoustic sound and site. In my sonic scenographies the performers are dependent on the dialogue with the space in order to create sonic structures that can be experienced by an audience. The attention needed for this collaboration is space-care. It includes care for all entities in the space, and especially the audience. The ephemeral quality of acoustic sound creates an active sonic scenography that performs together with the musicians, and engages multimodal listening. The resulting spatial sound performance includes the placement and movement of sonic expressions that are specific for each instrument-site relation. In the created performance, as the audience can ‘roam through’ it, they can experience a sonic scenography that unfolds around them. In the interaction of performers and audience in these shared spaces (architectural space and sonic space) a social space can develop that allows for an ephemeral community to emerge.
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