The garden of forking paths

Reactive navigable binaural audio environment for one listener with wireless headphones.

November 2012, Sala del Buonumore, Conservatory L. Cherubini, Florence.

Demonstration of the system at work

Description

This project, that constituted my final MA thesis, stemmed from the desire to investigate the relationship between listener and his listening point, within an ecosystemic sound world. With the term “world” it shares the appearance of openness to the exploring viewer and with “ecosystem” the aspect of being a multitude of interrelated and reacting life forms behaving as a whole.

The concept was to create a system that, on the one hand gives the possibility to navigate a space where pre-arranged sound events occur and that, at the same time, would react differently to each particular mode of inspection. What interested me was ultimately to create a device that could give life to a responsive sound world that would be consistent primarily from a musical point of view and that would suggest and give access to a mode of listening to “reproduced” music where linearity is not the only listening feature. Exploring the sonic space defines the listener's own access to the world, and the conjunction between his position and his behavior determines a specific states of "possibility" in the system.

 

The "piece" is therefore a navigable sonic territory that the same exploratory act of the listener changes and makes react. The sound of the ecosystem and the listener are two inseparable entities, resulting in a series of reciprocal interaction events, that could be represented as a sort of narrative development with forks and deviations.

Each visit is the result of the specific encounter between the author's compositional activity that structures a world of possible relationships and lets them happen, and the re-compositional activity of the listener that reconstructs a unique path within the vast network of potential connections.

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