Project Brief

Background

Over the course of the 20th century, there has been an on-going combination of sound and spatial practices such as in visual art installations, architectural space, spatial music, sound art and more recently, virtual reality. This trend has not only created new aesthetic challenges concerning the combination of features and modalities of the different art forms but also new ways for experiencing artworks. The combination of such modalities, which is strongly associated with sound and visual art installations, incorporates ideas of co-composition, interactivity and collaboration by exploring hybrid spatial/physical/sonic environments through making new objects. Mike Blow (2014, pp.6-7) mentions that ‘It can be argued that the point of a multimedia piece is not the senses themselves but the space between them that is created by their interaction, the phenomenon Michel Chion calls ‘added value’ (Chion 1994 p. 5).’

In this project, the group will work by developing and combining objects of different dimensions such as 3D physical and/or digital objects and sound for creating new hybrid types of composition. This project aims to provide methods for designing and defining such new hybrid objects within contemporary contexts. The proposed area of research includes spatial dimensions and dimensions of sound. Spatial objects can be both spaces and/or physical objects placed in space. Three-dimensional/sculptural objects exist in spatial dimensions but also in time as they are being made. Outputs of such sculptural processes are highly depended on materials and the energetic decisions of the maker. Sculptural objects can exist not only as physical/material but also as 3D digital objects, conceptually, and as processes. Sound or sonorous objects ‘…enables us to have an overview of the entire fragment of sound as a shape, hence as an object, and notably so an object with several concurrent features evolving between the start and end points of the fragment (e.g. timbral, dynamic, textural, etc., evolution in the course of the fragment)’, as described by Godoy (2006, p. 149).

Following the above, some questions that emerge are:

  • How can hybrid objects be developed?
  • What are the particularities of their making processes?
  • What role can these processes play in the final outcome?
  • In what modalities do such hybrid artworks exist?
  • How can co-compositional ideas be expressed with the use of digital media?

 

Aims and objectives

In this project we will discuss issues of the combination of physical/digital 3D objects and sound objects for creating new hybrid experiences. We will investigate ways for interacting across spatial and sonic, comparing and combining the modalities of two or more objects of different dimensions. We will also look at methods for developing the first (i.e. a space) based on the second (i.e. sound) and vice versa. This means that we will make and work with objects of different dimensions by observing, analysing and combining their modalities. We will experiment with different media in order to create sonic, physical and/or virtual experiences in space. These will be situated between sound design/composition, three-dimensional physical, digital or virtual objects and spatiality. We will also deal with new aesthetic challenges and debates that may rise from these new hybrid objects and their interweaving modalities. Challenges can include aspects of interactivity and ways for experiencing the new objects and artistic decisions during the making that might be affected by combining these modalities.

The methodology that we will use is informed by sculptural, digital/computational and sound practices. We will investigate the notion of translation between modalities, their re-synthesis and composition from a new perspective. We will use sound, space, 3D and digital modelling and bits of programming to create new hybrid experiences of artworks.

As this project aims to bring together different art forms and disciplines, it would be good to have participants from various backgrounds. These can be sound design/composition, architecture, design/design informatics and visual arts. The desirable skills for the participants in this project are: sound design/production/synthesis/composition, making prototypes/3D modelling skills (virtual/digital and/or physical) and bits of programming.

This project will require excellent coordination and cooperation between participants. Each team member will have to work both individually and within the group for articulating ideas and testing methods as a whole. Members will be allocated with individual tasks and will also need to develop a close working pattern with each other from the beginning of the project.

 

Learning outcomes

  • Creative collaboration between disciplines.
  • Gain further experience of working with sonic structures in interdisciplinary contexts.
  • Produce professional documentation of work, suitable for presentation beyond University.
  • Engage with the particular aesthetic challenges and delights of combining different art forms and other disciplines.
  • Develop skills complementary to the course such as technical, social, aesthetic and professional.
  • Engage substantively and critically with notions of ‘translating modalities’ as they apply to installations that combine sonic, visual, spatial/physical in particular, and our relationships with technology and the world in general.
  • Develop creative ways to make such multidimensional installations, applications and performances.
  • Develop your own set of audiovisual materials and integrate them into a collaborative work of art.

 

Practical outcomes

  • The methods themselves
  • Presentation of the research/making process and the outcomes
  • The artistic work
  • Documentation of the presentation, the design and collaboration/making process, research undertaken and finally, your reflection on the topic

 

Image credits: REnlightment, 2017. Interactive Performance featuring Gong Meditation. Cooperated with Benjamin Savage and Wanfu Qin. Available at: http://sites.saic.edu/designshow2017/artist/yizhi-zou/ [Accessed 6 December 2017]