Pierre Schaeffer and Denis Smalley embarked on a quest to define the aesthetic qualities of sound observable through the experience of listening. They have developed extensive classifications of the sound object – a unit of sound that has a life of its own, perceivable through reduced listening – a process in which the cause of the sound is not focused on, but instead attention is given to its intrinsic sonic qualities.

The way that I’ve approached these theories is to visualise the aesthetic qualities of the sound. I’ve done this by designing an interactive software, coded up by Pawel Kudel, that can be manipulated in real time during a performance to generate visuals. The visuals are experienced by musicians who respond to their aesthetic qualities through their musical instrument. The visuals in turn can be changed by the composer to respond to the interpretation of the musicians. This creates a feedback loop between the musicians and the composer with visuals as a mediation medium for their communication.

Visual Object has been exhibited as an interactive installation at the Graduate Degree Show at Glasgow School of Art (GSA) in 2016, it has been used for performances at GSA, Royal Conservatoire of Scotland and the Centre for Contemporary Art in Glasgow and has been commissioned by Glasgow Improvisers Orchestra for GIOfest IX.

Format: Interactive installation, Live Performance, Composition tool
Duration: Variable
Excerpt: 30 seconds in web page background.