Acousmatic Approaches to the Construction of Image and Space in Sound Art




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Cambridge Journals



Peer reviewed



This article considers ideas of image and space as they apply to acousmatic music and to sound art, establishing overlaps and compatibilities which are perhaps overlooked in the current trend to consider these two genres incompatible. Two issues in particular are considered: compositional (especially mimesis and the construction of image, and what shall be termed ‘ephemeral narrative’) and presentational (in particular multi- channel speaker deployment). While exploring several relevant works within this discussion, by way of a case study the article introduces the author’s GRIDs project – a series of four multichannel sound sculptures united in their arrangement in geometric arrays of many (in some cases potentially hundreds of) loudspeakers. These permit, by virtue of being so massively (and geometrically) multichannel, the generation of extremely intricate spatial sound environments – fabricated landscapes – that emerge directly from an acousmatic compositional aesthetic. Owing to their alternative means of presentation and presentation contexts, however, they offer very different experiences from those of acousmatic music encountered in the concert hall. So the latter part of this article explores the various ways in which the listener might engage with constructed image space within these sound sculptures, along with the relationship of the audio content of each with its visual and situational setup – that is, its environment.



acousmatic, image, space, acousmatic, music, sound art, multichannel, GRIDs, fabricated landscapes


Batchelor, P. (2015) Acousmatic Approaches to the Construction of Image and Space in Sound Art. Organised Sound, 20, pp. 148-159


Research Institute