This is the result of my practice based research at Queen’s University Belfast (more specifically, at SARC), supervised by Dr. Pedro Rebelo and Dr. Paul Stapleton (2nd supervisor).
Here, you can find the full portfolio commentary in PDF, related posts and video documentation for each piece.
Through a creative portfolio and an analytical and critical commentary, this research investigates the use of spatial references in the composition of semi-open environmental sound works. The portfolio explores a number of strategies to make use of spatial references as formal compositional components to enable more intuitive performance/reading experiences. The pieces present a number of electronically mediated scenarios in varied formats; concert, installation and mobile application. Counting on the intuitive way one tries to constantly identify surrounding spaces, each piece uses physical (performance/presentation spaces) and representational devices (illustrations, maps, video projections, spatialised sound etc.) to articulate and delimitate semi-open artistic experiences. Such ambiguous scenarios are enabled by both the unpredictability of elements of each work and the dependence on the subjective interpretations of the agents involved in the process. The creative processes presented here in a descriptive, analytical and critical manner attempt to make an artistic contribution and provide documental material for future reflection about related practices.
A Blue Bridge is a soundwalk based audio-visual piece for 16 channels. The piece presents readings of a particular urban space in the city of Belfast through an interactive performance that recreates a soundwalk, juxtaposing and superimposing layers of sound, light and memories. It proposes a semi-open concert situation, conducted by a performer that leads the audience through a reconstructed soundwalk composed of fragments of several recordings of the same route, crossing a footbridge over the river Lagan (Belfast-UK).
A custom Max MSP patch manages 1 video file and 16 audio channels divided in two layers: 8 fixed (“real” sounds layer) and 8 manipulated and processed in real time (“imagination” layer). The fixed layer contains several stereo recordings of the walks done in different times of the day, edited to create a number of sub-layers. This approach allowed me to assemble a number of complex sonic environments that resemble the original ones, but expanding them from stereo to an 8-channel surround scenario.
During the performance, these 8 channels are played back synchronously with the video. In terms of content, this first layer presents manly background, ambient sounds, without too many distinct sonic events being heard.
The second audio layer (“imagination”) contains heavily edited recordings, presenting mostly foreground sounds that can be manipulated and brought to the foreground by moving around a wirelesses control sphere (sending OSC messages to Max MSP).
In the following performance excerpts, recorded in the Sonic Lab at Queen’s University, the 16 channels were mapped onto 32 channels with speakers in 3 levels: bellow, above and at the audience level.
Up the Hill is a multichannel sound installation based on field recordings made at Cave Hill Country Park and created specifically for the Soundscape Park in Belfast (a small park, open to the public during weekdays, a “permanent interactive sound installation”, hosting a great number of works scheduled from 9 to 5PM).
Up the Hill is a “miniaturised version”, a glimpse of the experience one could have walking around the much larger environmental sound system of Cavehill.
Come Across is a soundwalk based performance. The work presents a listening focused preparation strategy that involves multiple simultaneous soundwalks, mapping, audio and video recording. Such preparation stage leads to a concert performance that re-enacts the soundwalks by drawing on map in an exercise of listening and reminiscing.
The work was developed collectively by Diogo Alvim, Eduardo Patricio and Rui Chaves (Unlikely Places ensemble).
In 2012, in 10-minute long a poster session part of Global Composition Conference in Darmstadt, Germany, we talked about Come Across’ general concept and presented a short video documentation with excerpts of a rehearsal realised in the Sonic Lab at the Sonic Arts Research Centre (Belfast). This was a good opportunity to evaluate other people’s response to the work’s proposal and it helped us to format the version for a future performance.
Lock 1 memories is a GPS triggered soundwalk mobile application I’ve developed in 2013. It is available for Android and iOS platforms. It presents a semi-open interactive composition based on environmental sounds designed to share the author’s experience of place and trigger potential new insights on the listener about the Lagan Towpath area, around the weir near the Belfast Boat Club. This app-piece is part of a larger project called Belfast Soundwalks.
Developed by Diogo Alvim, Eduardo Patricio, Pedro Rebelo and Rui Chaves, No Chords Attached “(…) is a site-specific piece that explores the physical, temporal and poetic strategies between two mobile remote performers and a pianist in a more conventional performance space (Chaves 2013, p. 35)”. It proposes a non-conventional performance situation combining soundwalk and instrumental music, making use of a feedback system that enables sonic relocations and superimpositions between contrasting physical spaces.