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2008-2009 - European Project

Creativity and Innovation - Education & Culture DG Programme (2007-2013)
Multi-annual Co-operation Projects
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  • French sound research lab (Locus Sonus)
  • SARC Sonic Arts Research Center Queen's University Belfast (UK)
  • CRiSAP Creative research into sound art practices Univ. of the Arts London (UK)
  • KIBLA Multimedia Center (Maribor, Slovenia)
  • LORNA Association dedicated to the advancement of electronic arts in Iceland, Reykjavik (Iceland)
Associated Partners

  • STEIM Center for research & development of instruments & tools for performers in the electronic performance arts, Amsterdam (The Netherlands)
  • MEDIALAB PRADO Madrid (Spain)
  • HANGAR Barcelona (Spain)
  • CULTURELAB University of Newcastle (UK)

Aims & Objectives

Networked Sonic Spaces
A transcultural co-operation, combining networked audio & other forms of sound art in their relation to architectural & geographical space, social networking & cultural pollinisation.

In addition to an evaluation of the artistic possibilities emerging from the construction of a network of remote partners and consequent technical developments, we will be looking closely at the sociological implications of this enterprise. Our intention is to create dialogue not only within and between the specialised fields of research integrated into the programme but also between different and distant european cultural situations through experimental use of communication technologies.

The principle behind the project is to investigate and develop artistic practices at the intersection of networked and acoustic or local audio spaces, through the use of streaming techniques, and to study the different ways in which these practices are perceived or experienced in different European locations.

The research is organized under two main themes Field Spatialisation and Networked Sonic Spaces. The research, fundamentally practice based, aims to create a corpus of artistic experimentation around a problematic, common to all the partners. Indeed the construction of the human network represents an important ressource in itself. Forms emanating from this activity are « verified » essentially through their presentation in public contexts.

  • To create a program for experimentation of shared online audio practices and which takes into account 1/ The practices developed by each partner member which make use of remote audio technologies 2/ The cultural diversity of the group 3/ The geographical dissemination of the group.

  • To build a unique european corpus, whose function is to develop knowledge in the area of audio art and networked audio practices, to document, publish and generally make this information available for educational purposes (as for example the on-going contributive resource “Networked Music and SoundArt Timeline” currently developed by Locus Sonus)

  • To offer a framework for research and experimentation by encouraging the mobility of researchers and artists between partner organizations, thus favouring cross-cultural creativity.

  • To test various forms of the Locustream project - as a study of a multi-feed system concerning disseminated audience and participants (streamers) - concentrating on inter-cultural contexts of the sound network, by offering presentations of these forms in each partner’s location.

Specific Aims

  • Sound and space
The marriage of sound and space - sound approached from a spatial point of view as opposed to composition (in the traditional musical sense of the word) is at the heart of the proposed research and experimentation and the main pivot of our investigations. Our approach to the notion of space is multifaceted in that it takes into account not only the local area in which the sound is played or in which the audience is present but also geographically and socially distant spaces. Indeed we also approach the space between the two in that we work with notions related to virtual (online) space. The collaboration between 5 partners (from 5 different countries: France, Slovenia, England, Ireland, Iceland) is particularly appropriate in this context in that the distance between the partners and their different cultural surroundings becomes an advantage – almost a necessity – as opposed to a hindrance.

A number of different forms are to be experimented within the group, ranging from concert/performance, through installation to web-based projects. The elaboration of these different types of proposition implies the development of appropriate systems for the restitution and diffusion of acoustic and electronic sound, of apparatus and devices such as instruments, computer programs, interfaces and the invention of processes, protocols and concepts involving the encounters between different cultural and social groups.

The main part of the investigation concerns the transport of sound (and sound ambiances) which leads to the construction of streaming systems as well as sensorial and experiential environments which favour different listening experiences, synchronous and asynchronous, local, distant, geographically and culturally identifiable, « autophone » (sonically self-organised and continuous) and « chronotope » (unified time and space) : the networked sonic spaces.

Our proposed use of streaming technology is unusual in that it consists of a network of « open mikes » (web-mikes) which continuously transmit the unadulterated (in so far as that is possible) sound of the environment in which they are placed: sounds which carry with them the sense of the acoustic, cultural, and social space in which they propagate not so much sound sources as sound « reservoirs ». In all cases the question is one of « sounding out » spaces and the perception of their site-specific (in-situ) and time-specific (in-tempo) nature - atmosphere, architecture, expanse, cultural contextualisation, soundscape, perceptual appropriation - are some of the elements taken into account in the setting up of these microphones. This multiplicity of constituents and instances unfolds as different facets of our experimentation : resonance (single spaces and relayed spaces), transmission and diffusion (transporting the atmosphere of one sound into another space), spatialisation (virtualisation, composition of space), temporality, multiplicity viewpoints (or rather of listening points), comparison of one sound space with another.

These different approaches are further multiplied by the different sensibilities of the individual artists/researchers taking part in the project and their different origins. Beyond the simple demonstration of techniques and of media technologies the interest lies in the developing methods which, unlike « traditional » use of these techniques, take into account their power to modify space and practice and their capacity to create dialogue between different european social situations.

Today Locus Sonus has gained recognition for the unique nature of it's projects and the type of international collaboration that they imply. These projects provide an open resource not only for researchers and artists taking part in the projects but also for individual artists & art institutions around Europe. This participation adds to the corpus of art & research federated by Locus Sonus, documentation of which is made available for educational purposes.

  • Experiment with correlated spaces
Systems developed for the project make use of interactions, interferences and correlations between local and distant spaces, between virtual and physical spaces. Attention is paid to the subsequent modifications of the said spaces whether from an acoustic, perceptive or sociological point of view.

Audio Extranautes. The notion of extranaut, loosely defined, describes an individual or a community moving freely between online and offline spaces or activities - hybridization / immersion - it also implies manifestations of projects which are essentially web based in physical space or again social behavior which finds its origins in an online situation and which extends this behavior into physical space. This notion allows us to tackle in a more precise and communal manner issues related to forms of public reception and attention such as: the displacement of "ambiances" and sensibilities, experimental forms of flux as art, real time or organization of time, open source or other cooperative models.

This exploration of networked spatial systems reveals and clarifies the context in which new audio practices are developing between physical and virtual spaces while offering a new experimental dimension in audio art and music.
The developments of shared projects will open new facets of this research, the european programme enriching their cultural diversity.

Research Questions

The research project is an international collaboration in the field of sound investigation (networked sonic spaces) between all the partners with the creation of a common/shared Lab with a scientific committee as an art research group, composed of all the co-organisers and associated partners who meet 7 times during the 2 years of the program (May 2009 – May 2011).

Workshops related to the research program will be organised in three phases during the two year program (May 2009 – May 2011).

The program proposes a series of symposiums, workshops and related public artistic events (concerts, exhibitions, festivals). The symposiums will present the current state of research and experimentation issuing from the co-operation alongside presentations by each partner and by invited artists and researchers. The workshops offer work sessions designed to test or experiment different ideas in a collective framework related each time to the local european context. Organised by co-organiser member partners, the workshops will be open to educational institutions in each country (conservatories, universities, schools of arts, etc.). Each symposium and workshop will be documented and elements of this documentation, proceedings, recordings etc. will be published.