The process of developing ‘Brag and Blether’ using an Ambisonic sound space.
I have produced an experimental sound work by creating an ambisonic sound space. A technique used to place sound into a full-sphere surround sound space, using a horizontal and vertical plane to position the sound. It is an alternative to the horizontal-only plane found in most surround sound production. I composed fragmented conversation by editing mono sound files with no spatial image information. Then processed the sound recordings with the ambisonic toolkit with meta-information describing location or direction and placed them into a new spatial arrangement. To create the sound installation for basic full-sphere replay, I used six loudspeakers and positioned them in a circular array. Each speaker contributes to any one sound in any direction, as opposed to the multichannel technique of sending different sounds to different speakers.
In the process of developing the sound-work for an exhibition, I had to think about what is ambisonic surround sound is and how I would present it.
On the 13th of June, we had a group exhibition meeting about the allocation of spaces for the master show. I was presented with an unexpected problem. Other artists in the exhibition did not want my sound near their artwork. However, after an interesting discussion and delegation lead by Edwin, my tutor, I was given a perfect place in the Cooper Gallery Foyer.
Rope and Knots
I made the decision to hang the speakers from the ceiling but after inspecting the speakers and noticed there were no holes for a wall or ceiling fixture. I began researching how to hang the speakers with rope and was inspired by a string bag for a ball and the seventies craze of Macrame. I tested different knots and string hangings before I came up with the final design, choosing black nylon rope and sheet bend knots.
Creating the Ambisonic Space
The recorded sounds are field recording and conversations highlighting people’s idiosyncrasies, all recorded in and around the museum. Each recording had a different spatial arrangement. If I mixed these recordings as they are, the spatial arrangement would be confusing as each recording has a structural acoustic relationship to the place it was recorded in. By producing an ambisonic sound space, I control the sounds in space allowing the listener to hear sounds in a three-dimensional space of my own creation.
I mixed and processed the Sound work using 32 separate tracks mixed to the Master Bus. This is a list of the tracks I change using the Ambisonic Toolkit for Reaper.
Track 8 JS: ATK FOA Encode Planewave
Track 9 JS: ATK FOA Transform DirectO
Track 10 JS: ATK: FOA Encode Spreader
Track 12 JS: ATK Transform Dominate
Track 13 JS: ATK FOA Transform MirrorO
Track 14 JS: ATK FOA Encode Periphonic 3D
Track 16 JS: Pitch an Octave Down
Track 23 JS: ATK Transform Dominate
Track 20 JS: ATK FOA Transform Dominate
Track 25 JS: ATK FOA Transform Nearfield
Track 27JS: ATK FOA Transform Dominate
Track 28 JS: ATK FOA Transform Dominate
Track 29 JS: ATK FOA Transform Mirror
Track 30 JS: ATK FOA Transform Focus Press Push Zoom
Track 32 JS: ATK FOA Decode Binaural
The Master Track
I used ATK FOA Decode Patantophonic 2D for the Master track as I was using a six speaker array.
Install presented a few problems as the ceiling was 3meters 20cm high, this was solved by building a tower scaffold. I also found it helpful to label each wire before connecting it to the audio Interface and decided to hide the computer in a plinth, open on one side to let air circulate.
Explaining the work
I made the decision to create a mind map to explain the sound work as The Masters Show has a very mixed and diverse audience. This would allow people to dive in, read what information they wanted, or just skim the text and get a basic understanding.
If you would like to visit the Masters show please click on the link below.