Visual Music Strategies and the Sense of Place




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De Montfort University


Thesis or dissertation

Peer reviewed


This practice-based research explores concepts and creative methods by relating strategies of visual music to the notion of sense of place. Visual music is approached in the research as an artistic strategy that involves conceptual, creative and perceptual synergy between visual arts and music. Sense of place is considered as an emergent instance that evolves from a preliminary sensory experience of a place to ‘making sense’ of this experience. The merging of these two elements is discussed and practically demonstrated by a set of audio visual compositions within a conceptual framework that draws a line between orientation and composition as founding elements of a continuum that binds represented places with their places of representation into an undividable situation. The research comprises four compositions in which visual music strategies are employed for sustaining a sense of place experience in audio visual representations of places. These compositions integrate visual music and documentary approaches by combining videoed and recorded real-world visual and sonic referential materials with electronically generated synthesised sounds that derive from the videos’ visual flows. The compositions vary in their strategies and methods, in their content and in the diversity of sonic materials they employ. They differ in their context of presentation and scale, ranging from web presentation, through gallery exhibition to a large-scale installation comprising multiple screens and loudspeakers. In their diverse approaches, they demonstrate varying angles regarding issues of space, time, place, situation and being. They also suggest new ways to tell stories of places by fusion of journey narratives with music-oriented compositional approaches. The research contributes to existing practical and theoretical knowledge relevant to the disciplines it encompasses, in line with its two facets. From the sense of place angle, the research demonstrates diverse possibilities of employing visual music considerations in audio visual representations of places. From the visual music perspective, it challenges traditional conceptions of visual music as an abstract nonrepresentational artform, thus adding to its discourse and its palette of practical application.





Research Institute