Spatial Sound

Reflections from the Inner Mirror (2017)

In collaboration with TEDxDanubia

4DSOUND: Reflections From The Inner Mirror presented spatial sound performances, sound sculptures, participative lectures and inspirational talks that explored the body, the senses and consciousness through listening.

"Most of our time is spent thinking about what is going on in the world outside of us. We are occupied with our position in society, with work responsibilities, with fellow passengers sitting around us on the bus or train, what needs to be fixed in our house and what the media are reporting about the state of the world. When we look at ourselves in the mirror, we see ourselves from outside, we see the features of our body, we catch our appearance, the look on our face. But how, and when, are we enabled to look inside ourselves?"

Listening, in essence, provides us with an inner mirror. Listening is the act of attention - to become aware of our experience as it is unfolding, from moment to moment. Listening is embodied experience - everything we hear is an event inside of us, something physical, vibration felt on the skin, in the tissues and cavities of the body. So when we are listening to space, we are listening to ourselves - we perceive our connectedness to the environment and other beings within it.

We are losing our sensitivity to listening, as we are pulled into the stream of new media, technologies and digital environments that are evolving around us. Our attention is becoming increasingly fragmented and disrupted by the omnipresence of information and all-encompassing noise that is invading our environments. Recently we are moving with rapid speed into a new era of augmented and virtual realities that are taking over our lives, without being fully cognisant of the consequences, and what we might be leaving behind.

4DSOUND, through the use of spatial sound technology, cultivates listening as a medium to investigate our inner systems of perception. If we look beyond the typical ways we consume and enjoy sound, we recognise there is a need to discover new forms of interaction with sound that are more participative - and that there is a need to define new practices with sound that will enhance our relationship with listening.

With a programme of sonic acupuncture, social-sonic encounters and immersive sonic meditations, 4DSOUND: Reflections From The Inner Mirror presented provocative and unexpected ways of interaction with sound in space. Deeply exploratory and experimental, these forms made use of some of the most advanced sound technologies available at present, but also referred back to some of the oldest forms of cultural exchange with sound.  

The programme was presented in concordance with TEDxDanubia’s multi-disciplinary conference exploring one of the most formative questions throughout history: alone or together? Answers to this dilemma have been at the core of our individual and collective identities, and have been the engines of progress or disaster, both on a personal or a civilisational level. As the 21st century unfolds around us, our new world of emerging hyper-connectedness with new opportunities and new dangers for people and nations alike, the relevance of this question seems sharper than ever.

As part of the discourse around spatial listening in the context of the conference, the publication by 4DSOUNDs Creative Director John Connell 'Learning to Listen Again' examines the impact of noise pollution in our physical and digital spaces, and suggesting new directions by focused listening practices and spatial sound technologies.

4DSOUND’s Founder Paul Oomen gave a talk at the TEDxDanubia Conference at MÜPA Budapest investigating the nature of listening itself, addressing its relationship with the evolution of our environments and the choice we have in the present to cultivate a new ecology of listening.

The subject of deep listening from within, with a 10-hour durational programme of ongoing immersive sonic meditations at the Spatial Sound Institute.

As part of the programme, actor, dramaturge, vocal coach and long-term 4DSOUND collaborator Robert Jan Liethoff <link bio page> presented ‘Space Body Intelligence’, a participative listening experience that invited the audience to explore questions and ideas on the perception of sound. How does working with spatial sound affect us, physically and mentally? What kind of environment is supportive to enable listening in a more differentiated way? What do our ears consider a healthy sound texture? And what influence does this have on our awareness of space, both internal and external? The audience listened to spatial sound images while working through several perceptual tasks and questions, which addressed their perception and physicality.

‘Pulse Project’ by acupuncturist and sound artist Michelle Lewis-King<link bio page> is based on reading the pulses of audience participants according to traditional Chinese medicine, Lewis-King generated real-time immersive, interactive and spatially dynamic soundscapes that the audience could physically enter and walk through. In this way, an audience experienced the sonic landscape of an individual's interior body. The resulting soundscapes materialised the unique infrasonic resonances hidden within and between human beings, and in essence simulated a form of sonic acupuncture in time-space.

In preparation of each performance of ‘Pulse Project’, Michelle Lewis-King hosted individual pulse reading sessions for a very limited amount of participants. The resulting soundscapes of the participants’ bodies were the subject of the performances in 4DSOUND throughout the programme.

Russian sound artist and researcher IOANN performed Imagining the Hyperspace<link project page>, following his residency at the Spatial Sound Institute where he conducting research on multi-dimensional concepts of space.

Who said that what we perceive is the real world, rather than a shadow theatre, the projection of something more complex that surpasses our ordinary renditions of perception? How could we then recognise four-dimensional objects, if they would exist? And if there is a fourth dimension, what prevents the existence of a fifth? His resulting work is aseries of geometrical sound sculptures in space. The intention of the work was to enable the listener an intuitive, physically embodied experience of complex multidimensional structures and geometrical concepts. The work invited the audience to explore space beyond our ordinary perception, to discover what else is inherent to human nature and how we are able to evolve consciousness.

The programme also featured 'The Sound Is The Scenery' by multidisciplinary artist Rona Geffen, who utilizes sound, light and colours to perform a modern-day sacral ritual, creating an immersive sonic environment intended as a place for meditation, elevation of consciousness and stimulation of personal growth. The audience was taken on a journey starting from an inward meditative state and from there, through the solar system, the galaxy, and then back home, to earth and the self. The work was based on sounds tuned to the frequencies of the rotation of planets in our solar system, placing it in the lineage of exploration of the ‘Harmony of Spheres’ and investigating its relationship with traditional and contemporary sound healing practices, geometry and mathematics.

Geffen's research and performance incorporated the work of collaborators Alessandra Leone (visual and light installation) and Claire Aoi (mathematics and processing).