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SOUNDESCAPE

Please find somewhere quiet and dark. You can close your eyes if you’d like.

Sit comfortably but please do not lay down. You will be experiencing movement that is best understood if you are upright. You may, however, be as propped-up and cozy as you like. In fact, I encourage it.

A six second volume test is provided at the beginning. Make sure this sound is the loudest you feel comfortable with, nothing with be louder. My hope is the you shouldn’t have to adjust anything after this point and can simply listen without anything bringing you out of the experience.

Enjoy!

SOUNDESCAPE

I’ve recently begun experiments using sensory stimulus created through sound and recorded movement. With this, the tangible world is inferred through auditory cues. My research examines the interplay between hearing, feeling and seeing, and how we distinguish the world, visually, by listening and generating a felt sense of our physical body in space.

I am currently using Ableton Live to generating basic tones and drones with specific frequencies related to healing. I’ve built some of these sounds into typical chord progressions for a sense of familiarity and emotional resonance. I’ve also sampled sections from three existing tracks for their specific instrumentation which I do not have access to at this time. I’m recording these sounds in space, wearing in-ear binaural microphones while my own body is in motion. I’m also, separately, manipulating the direction of sound in space with portable speakers and an ambisonic rode microphone. I’ve included some environmental sounds, such as the sound of me holding the recording device, to situate the audience again in the space and as another way to physically relate to the environment.

My inspiration for this project is in the removal of the visual body, as a template for human experience, to facilitate an embodied experience. SOUNDESCAPE aims to create the sensation of movement, within the body of the listening subject themselves and the surrounding environment, as well as creating dynamic objects (perceived as bodies) in space.

I am working with the illusory effects of sound with this project. I start by first narrowing the acoustic environment from a fairly recognizable progression of atmospheric sound effects using binaural microphones, which reproduce the environment the same way you would hear it, through your two ears. I introduce the project and set the expectation for relaxed, careful listening using an ambisonic microphone and Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response (ASMR) techniques. Moving around the mic, I am defining the perceptible sound environment for the listener and encouraging a 360, sensory experience. I use light touch, tapping, breathing and movement towards the mic and away from it before transitioning into a series of spatial experiments intended to elicit a bodily experience through sound.

One such experiment is in source blocking which creates “sound shadows” from a perceptible interference in space produced by a body partially obstructing the reception of sound by a recording device. In theory, these sound shadows animate space through playback when the source (body) is moving dynamically, and have the potential, in essence, to rematerialize the moving physical form that is blocking the sound from the source. The specificity in recording and reproducing these aesthetic movement interferences in sound shadows, is the chance to explore their auditory recreation as performance and to generate a felt sense of these bodies reoccurring in space, through sound. To what degree can we perceive the material form through sound?

I use the practical application of the doppler effect to bend sound, physically manipulating frequency with movement while refining the ability to indicate specific qualities of movement. I anticipate a certain level of perceived interactivity in the immersive environment of the sound installation based on theories of musical expectancy, habitually assumed progression, and the activating of mirror neurons, as well as the phenomenon of emotional contagion, based on the visual imagery suggested through sound. I am also considering the specific sensation and location of different sound qualities and frequencies on the body.

The greater question I seek to explore with this project is; how does perceived proximity affect the body? I am hypothesizing that the sensation of proximal bodies “observed” through sound shadows creates a level of physical engagement through kinesthetic empathy, and a sense of well-being and connectedness. My work aims to engage audiences through the body, with other-than-rational sensibilities. The sound installation is intended to produce a felt sense of proximity where it may not be possible, and to appreciate and refine a sensitivity to the tangible world of vibrations.

I am basing my research on studies done on ASMR, also known as the whisper community, where a certain percent of the population experiences physical sensations of tingling and chills when listening. This effect has been studied in music, referred to as “musical frisson,” involving changes in skin conductance and the release of dopamine. I am also interested in exploring the connection between the theories of brainwave synchronization with external sources, the premise of binaural beats, and coregulation, in polyvagal theory, which occurs when an individual’s nervous system is regulated by the positive influence of another individual’s more regulated nervous system.

The development of a sound installation allows me to create a site specific, decidedly anthropophonic soundscape and I am excited to build on this concept during a spatial sound residency in May at Lobe spatial sound studio which specializes in 4DSOUND.

Timeline:

00:00-00:10 … Volume test tone

00:11- 01:13 … Narrowing the acoustic environment

01:13 – 02:46 … Ambisonic Introduction

02:47 – 07:03 … Movement in close proximity, breath and touch

07:03 – 9:55 … Binaural space exploration with different roomtone drone effects

9:55 – 12:09 … Binaural recording, doppler effect

12:13 – 14:48 … Doppler effect manipulated in space, single channel

14:50 – 15:22 … Ambisonic recordings at various distances, fast channel switching

15:23 – 17:22 … “Sound shadows” created in source blocking

17:25 -18:09 … Immersive spinning effect, single channel

18:10 – 18:36 … Outro

18:37 – 20:00 … Opening up the acoustic environment/ pulling sound with long-range frequencies

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