Spatial Sound

In Times of Crisis,
Give Yourself Time To Listen

Community Update, May 2020

The team of the Spatial Sound Institute continues to work remotely during the COVID-19 global pandemic, with its members spread across many parts of the world. Like so many others, the security of our Institute’s work and the continuity of our Residency Programme has been struck with many uncertainties. Having borders sealed and curfews and lockdowns in place in many countries has halted most of our ongoing projects. Yet in these challenging circumstances we strongly believe that listening is the opportunity — a way to become more consciously aware to all aspects of our presence in the world and to embrace the unknown and unexpected.

As we transition our lives and culture under the influence of the pandemic, foremost, we would like to express our heartfelt solidarity with the community at large, friends and residents who are confined to their homes and are facing personal, financial and health implications due to the resulting crisis. We are grateful for the calls and messages that have come our way, it has encouraged us to remain determined, to stand ground and collect our energies to find ways for sustaining our work — exploring the role of sound and listening and the importance it carries in our everyday lives.

To this end — and responding to the wider cultural movement in creative arts and sciences — attempting to reorientate our mode of work to a digital and online structure of sorts has been difficult for us to ascertain or imagine, if we contemplate our position from the perspective of sound and listening.

In the midst of all the influx of online content, we have chosen to observe rather than instantly respond — and allow for different resonances of knowledge and perception to emerge, that are not just about the hyper-connected digital world. In saying so, we are taking care to come up with content for conversation and co-creation sparsely, to avoid jumping on the bandwagon of hashtag trends, simply because we want to maintain different ways of meaning-making, interests and expectations from our audience.

We are pleased to share a couple of features that we believe can inform the search for ways how sound can transform our cultural sense of isolation into a spirit of exploration.

Our first in-house feature, The Origin of Experience is a podcast adaptation of 4DSOUND and Spatial Sound Institute Founder Paul Oomen’s TEDx lecture from 2017: The Ecology of Listening

The second feature Composing Sonic Futures is a Participative Call for Engagement that has been especially conceived in this spirit of concern and solidarity. 

We hope these features will inspire our readers. We will continue to update the community on all further developments as we know more and again are grateful for the support all around us.

The Origin of Experience by Paul Oomen 

Narrated with a sense of sound’s past, present and future, Oomen takes us on a granular journey into listening and its effects on the evolution of the human body.

From our first days in the womb sensing proximity through vibrations, through to our embedding within the environment by means of sound, towards a listening that transcends the limitations of the physical.

We hope this podcast will offer an opportunity to immerse and re-connect yourself in listening, to help cultivate awareness of the body and its subtle abilities to receive and respond.

Composing Sonic Futures

In a world where our liberties are compromised, how can we rediscover through listening, thought and language?

“Composing Sonic Futures” is an open invitation to submit your reflections in the format of a 2-5 minutes composed piece of sonic fiction accompanied by a short text (500-1000 words).

Three of our favourite submissions will be awarded each with a grant of 500 EUR and the works will be published as a curated series on our online platforms.

How To Apply 

Interested applicants should send:

- a short description of the concept (max 500 words)
- one reference work/link 
- their résumé

to no later than June 15, 2020. 

We will shortlist three candidates who will be commissioned to realize their project. 

We hope that this modest grant can offer a form of support for those in need, and drive a personal voyage where your imagination is without limits.