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Sound Spaces at Thinking Digital

by Simon Bowen

Sound Spaces contributors Stefan Kazassoglou (of Kinicho), and Tim Shaw and John Bowers (of Culture Lab, Newcastle University) will be at Thinking Digital Newcastle 10,11 May 2016. Kinicho will be installing their COSMOS sound system for third-order ambisonics, which will be used for a creative collaboration involving Tim, John and other invited artists during the Thinking Digital Arts symposium on 10 May. Stefan will also be speaking during the arts symposium, which in 2016 focuses on ‘unusual collaborations.’ For more details see the Thinking Digital website, and Thinking Digital Arts ‘blog.

Thinking Digital Arts


by Simon Bowen

Tim Shaw, Simon Bowen, John Bowers, Eashan Raychaudhuri, Pinky Raychaudhuri, Stefan Kazassoglou
Multi-channel audio
Custom built software
Audio transducers
Map collage mounted on MDF board

Sound Map

During the Sound Spaces (Liverpool) project, Eashan and Pinky Raychaudhuri produced an iPad composition (titled “A Bundle of Laughs”) from field recordings they had made around the city. Working with Stefan Kazassoglou, they then relocated their manipulated recordings by giving them the sonic character of the places we had visited. This was achieved by convolving the manipulated recordings using the IRs of the sites we had visited, playing them back through the Kinicho’s ambisonic sound system (COSMOS), and recording the result onto personalisable audio greetings cards. Further, photographs Eashan and Simon had taken of the sites were used as images on the cards. Alongside this, Simon and John had experimented with visualisations of the city through layers of maps and using the locations visited to plot imaginary sound lines across the city. We presented these ideas together as a SoundMap initially as a map projected onto a table with the greetings cards placed on the relevant locations, and then at a public exhibition using using a printed map mounted onto a wooden board and placed onto a stand. Audio transducers were placed underneath various relevant locations of the map playing back sound relating to that place. Some of the sounds were also processed through the relevant IRs to create a convolution reverb effect.


by John Bowers

John Bowers
5-channel audio
3-dynamic visualisations, 2 video loops

An original inspiration for the Sound Spaces (Liverpool) project, was my proposal to explore the city’s ‘sound lines’ (“one part song-line, one part ley line”) – imagined sonic ley lines between different locations, and how they might create virtual connections between seemingly disparate places. During the course of the August SoundLines workshop, I devoted much attention to making a piece that embodied a ‘sound line’. The sonic component of this piece involved cross-fading between recordings made at one site in the city to recordings made at another. As the cross-fade took place the recordings were transformed by algorithms coded in Pure Data into more noisy, drone-like, pulsing or crackling forms of themselves. In this way, as the piece unfolded the listener was ‘transported’ between locations and in and out of more sonically abstracted forms. In this creative conceit, these more abstracted forms were imaginings of the hidden ‘sound lines’ connecting the two locations. A visual projection showed the relative locations of the sites, the lines connecting them, and the current position of the cross-fade against a background created by collaging historical maps of the city. For the public exhibition, I further developed the piece to work over a multi-channel loudspeaker system and five HD monitors.

Sound Lines by John Bowers

GPS Traces

by Tim Shaw

Tim Shaw
Single-channel audio
Custom build software
GPS tracker

During the Sound Spaces (Liverpool) project, as well as recording audio and visual material from our field visits, I collected GPS data using the iPhone application ‘Track’. Taking inspiration from the self-archivist Jacek Smolicki each day was ‘tracked’ and at the end of the day these traces were distilled into minimal lines, keeping only positioning data and ridding it of all other metadata. Each day was shown as a different image and simply presented as a black line on a white background. An ANS style synthesiser was built in Pure Data and used as a way of generating sound from the images. In this construction each pixel line related to a different oscillator. The gain of each oscillator was controlled by the grey value of each pixel. The image was scanned vertically and then changed to another day’s image at random.