Report of my binaural Omniwave experiment on China’s globalization for the STEIM Project Blog.
Report of my binaural Omniwave experiment on China’s globalization for the STEIM Project Blog.
My contribution to The Great Dutch Art Calendar of Trichis Publishers for 2018 is a photograph and an observation during my sound research into the globalization of urban China 1986 – 2015. Titled – ‘Time Lapse China’. In a max of 60 words I talk about traces of humanization of urban sound in China:
“When I landed in Shanghai again in 2015 the massive ringing bike bells of 1986 had disappeared and I found myself standing under viaducts listening to the heavy thumping and droning of the evening rush hour on 10 lanes highways.
Just as fascinating were the whizzings and whooshings of the electric mopeds, scooters and cars. Human sounds were audible again. In my street I heard children shoe’s trippling from far.
A personal video impression (3m51) by filmmaker Patricia Werner Leanse of my public Pilot ‘Time Lapse China’ during the STEIM Open Days and the Amsterdam Museum night 2017. The Pilot was the result of a loudspeaker research in which I had translated my binaural recordings from China 1986 and 2015 (which show their 3D effect only on headphones) into a 3D loudspeaker presentation, expressing the sound of China’s radical and massive globalisation.
Visitors (including a variety of students from several art institutes) were walking or sitting in a sound-field, evoked by two ‘virtual’ speakers (Omniwave), mixed with mono sounds of several mini- speakers.
the ‘virtual’ speaker, the Omniwave, explained by the inventor, Leo de Klerk (photo Cilia Erens)
Public Pilot ‘Time Lapse China’
November 1-4 in STEIM + during the Museum Night of STEIM and De Appel Arts Centre.
I had to learn to walk again.
I had this feeling, when at the end of June I started work with the audiofiles which are going to form the basis of Time Lapse China. As if I were jumping, stepping from one discipline into another.
The sound to which I was listening I knew already. They are recordings which I made in 1986 (on cassettes) and in 2015 (digital) in China. In both cases I was using a special technique, called binaural recording, which gives a 3D sound sensation provided that one is listening with earphones.
In May this year I asked Leo de Klerk, inventor of the OMNIWAVE, a revolutionary loudspeakersystem, if it was possible he would grant the usage of these speakers.
He was keen with interest. Because of his ‘inauble’ loudspeakersystem it became possible to walk around in STEIM Studio 3 in a soundfield as if I was crossing the street in China, an effect that I only know from my own recordings when I am wearing earphones. Magical.
How exciting, new and different working with all sort of loudspeakers is has become clear to me in my STEIM period. The knowledge and experience that I have gained in the 30 years I made soundworks for earphones has seemingly become obsolete.
Now I am investigating in a studio how I can create a reality. I place audio files not after one another, but next or opposite to one another. I am constructing an environment, which does not excist yet: soundfile for soundfile and speaker for speaker.
Besides the OMNIWAVE system I use mini speakers with ‘local ‘ reach, so that I can create a dialogue between the spacial sound field and isles of contrasting or additional sound.
New for me.
I work with a sound chart which holds 24 tracks, of which I use multiple tracks at any one time, and play with mono stereo omni, with volumes and sound colours.
The choices I can and eventually have to make out of a hundred hours of sound are endless. There are no laws for it. So it is just tossing with speakers (except the Omnis). Per the chosen audio file checking out the variety of speakers, and then listening to how everything sounds, alone or together. Listening to what is happening, what it evokes. A giga search.
In a log I am keeping up with what I have done on one day, what worked and did not work. Which combinations of sounds and speakers I still want to try. And I have defined sound themes which are going to help with the definite selection and order.
There are advisors which support me. Sound designer Evelien van der Molen is teaching me more about my digital audio workstatio as well as how to create space in between the sound layers.
Robert Bosch Audio is giving particularly sound technical advise and is constructing the needed devices.
Collegue Justin Bennett comments more from the side of sonology.
Dramaturge Robert Steijn came with an important question: what are you trying to achieve, a documentary or an esthetic experience?
sketch by Robert Steijn (photo Cilia Erens)
I am deliberating on that. And on the final presentationform. Has it a beginning and an end? Is it going to be a loop, or is it going to take hours and has the listener just have to see how long he/ she wants to stay in the studio?
In the meanwhile I have finished my first phase in the STEIM Studio and am working in my pop up ‘homestudio’, temporarely without the Omni’s. I have positioned myself in the centre of my living room and have organised around me a set up of fifteen (mini) speakers, lying on side tables or on top of a cupboard. On this way I investigate which sound is doing what in this colourful collection of sound sources.
Concluding my residency
From October 20 I will be back in STEIM Studio 3.
A public Pilot will conclude my residency (November 1-4 from 14:00 – 18:00). Hope to meet you there.
During THE STEIM ‘Open Days’ and during the Amsterdam Museum Night my studio will be open as well. Please check out the openings hours of the STEIM programs. And don’t forget to check out the current directions to STEIM because of road works all over the place!
With the support of the Amsterdam Fund for the Arts
‘Transmitting an experience’ is one of the 5 modules of EPAS, The European Post Graduate in Arts in Sound. For the second year I am asked to give my ‘Binaural Recording’ workshop including a ‘Spacewalk’ in the environment of The Netherlands Filmacademy.
Studio STEIM: Starting from point zero
200 cubic meters of soundspace and 15 loudspeakers are available, from minimonospeakers to Omniwaves (see link to Iphone movie).
A first reaction of an ex sound walker: ‘… headphones bring me to China and loudspeakers are bringing China to where I am right now…’
But how will I go on with that?
to be continued
From soundwalk to exhibition/ from headphone experience to a sound universe
A research project by Cilia Erens
supported by AFK, the Amsterdam Fund for the Arts.
After some 30 years of pioneering the concept of the soundwalk for a headphone wearing audience I want to take a next step in my development as a sound artist.
This is my first blog about a for me brand new research in the next couple of months. Instead of devising headphone experiences in the public domain (location specific) I am now going to explore ways to exhibit my sound material on loudspeakers in neutral interchangeable locations. This is where individual visitors can choose their own way through a sound universe evoked by precisely positioned speakers.
Can it be done?
The AFK has given me a Development Budget to try and find out.
Time Lapse China (1986-2015)
In 2015, thanks to successful crowdfunding at the Platform voor de Kunst, I was able to go back to China. I found myself listening to and making binaural recordings in the same cities I had recorded 29 years ago, at a time when the sounds of the West were only just beginning to penetrate Chinese society.
When I landed in Shanghai in 2015 I felt as if in just one moment I had travelled through time. It was an impressive experience which, two years on, I’m still trying to get to grips with.
How to express this Time Lapse in sound? That is what I want to investigate but in a different way from my first effort in 1987 when I used my binaural cassette-recordings to create ‘China Daily’, my first ‘soundwalk’. As a result hundreds of sound walkers ‘walked the walk’ in a number of Dutch cities. Eye and ear were separated and Dutch street scenes mingled with a 3D Chinese world of sound in what was, in fact, a form of augmented reality.
This time I want to explore an exhibition concept.
STEIM, studio for Electronic-Instrumental Music, (one of the few studios without a fixed speaker arrangement) has invited me to take part in their artist-in-residence programme. Leo de Klerk, Bloomline Studio, is lending his revolutionary ‘unaudible speakers’.
In the studio I will be towing speakers back and forth, from the most conventional speaker systems to unconventional ones. Collegue Justin Bennett and Robert Bosch Geluid will supply me with advise.
For me a new era opens up: I will be listening out
for the best match between speakers and ambient binaural sound,
for ways of creating a dialogue between sounds evoked by precisely positioned speakers.
for ways of sounding out Time Lapse China.
Will it become filmic without film; an installation may be? Am I going to process my recordings? Will it travel? It’s all there waiting to be found out. I’m looking forward to it and will keep you posted in my blogs.
I will be finishing the sound research with a four-day public pilot, for which I will invite you to nearer the date. I am currently looking for an exhibition space in Amsterdam, and of course all suggestions are welcome.
To be continued.
For a survey of scientist Jeroen de Vos about ‘spectrality’ I contributed three binaural recordings.
Publication of his article including recordings in Leonardo, an academic journal published by MIT Press (Volume 26 2016).
If space can be perceived through sound, then recording and playback techniques allow capturing a unique spatial moment for later retrieval. The notion of spectrality as the invisible visible can be used to explain the embodiment of an auditive momentum in a space that is ultimately absent. This empirical study presents the results of five structured interviews in which interviewees are confronted with three binaural spatial recordings to reflect on the perception of dwelling in a spectral space: a space that is not there.
I just received a ‘Development Budget’ by the AFK to do research on how to develop an exhibition-context for ‘Time Lapse China’ (a binaural sound research on the globalization of urban China 1986-2015).
For me is this research a first: a development from headphone- to loudspeaker-presentations.
Relax tonight during the Rotterdam Museum Night in a 3D soundscape played through ‘sound arms’ designed for The Rotterdam Eye Hospital. My work (part of the art collection of the hospital) was put into service in 2008 in order to reduce the surgical risks associated with cataract surgery. A first under eye hospitals worldwide.