Spatial Sound

Spatial Memetics

Spatial Memetics is a methodology that aims to develop trans-sensory language sets for use in technology-driven immersive experiences. These languages are formed by a series of sound objects with definable, recognisable syntax and dimensional and behavioural characteristics, that can integrate across multiple sensory modalities. A sound has a visible shape, which has a vibrational signature, and vice versa. Perceivers are then able to convey and interpret these symbols through multiple sensory technologies within the environment.

The methodology proposes that spatial sound, more than visual or other sensory media, offers fundamental directions in new linguistic exploration - and perhaps a return to much older modes of sensing, thinking and feeling through language. Written language forms are a relatively recent invention, with much communication in ancient history conveyed orally, and therefore sonically and aurally.

Consequently, place and environment were fundamental to the character and nuance of communication. Natural spaces, such as the Grotte du Pech Merle in France, were actively chosen by ancient men and women for their resonant properties (Prehistoric Paintings, Sound and Rocks, Reznikoff, 2000). The particular reverberant character of these spaces might have played a crucial role in the formation of early language (Bringing Cave Echoes and Sanctuary Resonances Home, Paich 2015).

With the rapid rise of the internet and digital media in our present day, a new form of linguistics has become one of the most dominant and pervasive in our daily exchanges: the meme. Memes are inherently viral and transcend physical place, media and location. Yet, the emergence of spatial memes suggest sensory messaging that conveys personal meaning to its perceivers in ways that are more physically and emotionally engaging. As the integration of immersive technologies in our environments progresses, it will allow the shaping of increasingly sophisticated, discrete spatial forms that transcend their individual sensory mediums- a new kind of multidimensional, spatial language set.

The result of this research is to form a series of syntactic and semantic classes that can be tailored to deliver very precise, subjective concepts and narratives to a specific perceiver- and ultimately, to enable complex, peri-conscious discourse between multiple individuals within space(s).

→ Key Questions

What new forms of communication are offered by a language based on sensory objects?

How do we measure and evaluate meaning of these forms?

What are the aesthetics that emerge from working with these forms?

What new kinds of interaction and exchange might they open up?

What is the scope for new types of sensing, sensitivity, and meaning to emerge in our present day paradigms of communication?

What are the potential impacts on society and culture?

→ Creators and Contributors

The Spatial Memetics programme is open to creative and scientific research proposals from a range of contributors at different stages in their career. All fields of research are welcome to apply to the programme, including but not limited to:

  • Semioticians & linguistic theorists
  • Researchers in neuro-linguistics
  • Clinical psychotherapists
  • Language and voice therapists
  • Educators practising communicative methodologies, e.g. primary school teachers
  • Composers & writers
  • Sound designers & instrument builders
  • Media designers and strategists
  • Communication specialists