Spatial Sound

As part of DXEDIT - Expo for Design, Innovation & Technology, a 10-day festival produced by Design Exchange in Toronto’s port lands, the Living Architecture System Group incorporated over 300,000 custom components into ‘Astrocyte’. The title alludes to the star-shaped cell at the core of the work, a cluster of electronic actuators and sensors that respond to viewer’s motions with patterns of light, vibration and distributed sound.

As poetically expressed by LAS director Philip Beesley, the work behaves as a harmonious swarm of insects, in which the motion of one element influences the others, responding to the environment in a visually captivating display. This complex system is enhanced by the soundscape created by sound designer Salvador Breed using 4DSOUND technology, customised for usage within Astrocyte by Poul Holleman.

Spatialized sound immerses the audience into a multidimensional experience: the installation space can be explored through acoustic perception. Through interactive systems and the behaviour they elicit, the audience’s relationships with the work are tested. Multiple iterations of these installation test-beds aim to demonstrate how created environments can emphatically feel and think as humans do - with the goal of enriching our interactions not only with each other but with the spaces we inhabit.  

The work was made possible by the support of the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada and the Ontario Arts Council. 3D printing technology was provided by Formlabs, LAS industrial partner. The collaboration with 4DSOUND and the Spatial Sound Institute was supported by the Consulate General of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Toronto.

Designboom -  Astrocyte says a lot about listening