Unmaking Acoustics

Unmaking Acoustics by SONA at AlgoMech Festival

Unmaking Acoustics by SONA at AlgoMech Festival

I always love this calm spot around the Winter solstice – a moment to reflect on the year drawing to a close… I’m really pleased this year has allowed me to properly recombine my ‘former life’ (as I used to refer to it) in music technology and sound art with my more recent work in auditory science and engineering… at last!

My highlight of the year in this regard took place just last month, when we presented an audio-driven installation as part of the AlgoMech festival exhibition of kinetic and algorithmic art.

Our piece, ‘Unmaking Acoustics’, reacted to various features of the visitor’s own sound – their loudness, pitch and noisiness – and used some elementary insights from my research in human audition to adapt the machine listening techniques to the room acoustic conditions. This allowed the resulting control signals to behave in a perceptually-relevant manner, setting up the installation’s intuitive visual and audio interactions in the gallery space.

Massive thanks to my collaborators in the SONA collective, especially Deborah Egan whose suggestions inspired our giant RGB ‘pixel’ sound visualisations, and Lucy Cheesman who arranged our community-recorded audio bank into an amazing soundscape that our visitors could then explore with their own live sound.

Amy Beeston