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Horizontality : From "Window" to "Ground", Exploring Immersive Auditory Space as an Interactive Participant Medium : a thesis submitted to Massey University and Victoria University of Wellington in fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Musical Arts in Composition, New Zealand School of Music
My sound-based arts practice is currently concerned with the shift of focus from the
materiality of the sonic art object to the conceptual and semantic dimensions involved
in interaction within a system. The twentieth century saw the dawn of technologies
that could not only mediate the sonic arts in new ways but also inform its techniques
and tropes. Over the last few decades we have seen the emergence of the genres
Transmission and Telematic Art, the methodology of both often being informed by: 1.
new concepts of space. The rise of post-industrial Capitalism situates us in a new
epoch of spatial awareness. This seems particularly relevant now that mediated sonic
and communication technologies are an integral part of our lives. Transmitting media
“punching a hole in space” now ignore acoustic container boundaries: a sound heard
and its source can exist separately yet simultaneously. Physical location and distance
become less relevant. How does this create a shift in how we perceive the spatial
within the practice of living?; and 2. redefining concepts of author and audience. All
who participate are involved in authorship creating a form that is impossible to
mediate to a passive audience. My work explores how this situation and the
aesthetics deriving from it inform me as a practitioner within the medium of sound:
the generative and emergent behaviour that arises from relationship as a form of
“composition” and, of particular interest to me, the desire to shift focus from the
traditional role of sound as an object of aesthetic expression to immersive interactive
auditory space as a means of entering into dialogue with the multidimensional
environment which humanity inhabits.