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Sonic Topologies
Sonic Topologies

Diffracting Material and Epistemic Dimensions of Immersive Sound Technologies

In Western music, spatial movement of sound reaches back to the Renaissance and the Venetian polychoral style, in which spatially separated choirs (cori spezzati: broken choirs) sang in alternation. Over the past decades the spatialization of sound has been explored in a vast variety of settings including interactive installations and musical performances. However, since the second half of the 20th century until today only a limited number of tangible musical instruments and interfaces for this purpose have been developed, most of them dedicated to solo performers only. In parallel, spatial theories and sound art practices have considered space a sonic, social and relational construct filled with and created by sound. Interactive sound technologies could thus be considered as tools for weaving the sonic, social and relational fabric of human and more-than-human-worlds. However, common tools used for these purposes are in most cases based on the concept of human-machine interaction with machines being controlled by a (human) input as described by Norbert Wiener among others who defined Cybernetics as “the art of steering” (from Greek: kybernḗtēs – governor or helmsman of a ship). Today’s immersive sound technologies can be considered as originating in an era of conquest and colonial expansion, and still embody modernity’s attempt at human domination and control of the environment. Since technologies are not only emerging from human practices but in turn shape human practices as well as social and ecological relations, the influence of the underlying structural frameworks are effective until today. By using diffraction as a methodological guideline, the project aims to refer to epistemological, engineering, crafting and compositional approaches, tactics and concepts, in order to gain a diversification of the used technologies. From this, a number of (speculative) instruments for sonic collaborations with human and more-than-human-worlds will be manufactured.

“Spatial Entanglements – a collaborative Musical Instrument System”

“The iOSCahedron – a hybrid Spatialization Instrument”