This work explored auditory geometry – by spatialising sound and sonifying space. The sound sculpture immersed listeners in the middle of a three-dimensional sound field. Attuning the ‘mind’s ear’ and the auditory imagination, the listeners heard a continuous travelling sound ‘drawing’ shapes around them, as a sparkler might do in light. Listeners experienced the sensory qualities of acoustic space and time – outside the usual visual conventions. In this particular sculpture, moving sound sources outlined circles and several topological shapes including a Borromean Knot and Torus (or donut). The sound sculpture was about 12 minutes long in duration.
The moving sound sources were spatialised with state-of-the-art software and diffused over an eight-channel sound system. The speakers were positioned as would be the corners of a cube. Knots and Donuts was inspired by the work of the audio engineers who designed and built the reggae sound systems in Jamaica. They had specialised knowledge of how to make use of the acoustic space of the open-air dance hall session to intensify affect. Knots and Donuts was first installed at the Tate Modern, London, in November 2011 as an event in the Embodying Transformation performance programme, designed to give an embodied experience of topological concepts in the Tate Topology Speakers series, 2011 to 2012.
Conceived and designed by Julian Henriques.
Sound editor: Asa Bennett with thanks to Matt Lewis and Philip Chandler.
Dr Julian Henriques is a reader in the Department of Media and Communications. He is a filmmaker and convenor of the MA Scriptwriting program and the Music as Communication and Creative Practice BA and MA courses. Before Goldsmiths, Julian ran the film and television department at CARIMAC at the University of the West Indies, Kingston, Jamaica. His credits as a writer and director include the 1998 feature film Babymother and a reggae musical and improvised short drama- We the Ragamuffin. Julian researches street cultures, music and technologies and is interested in the uses of sound as a critical and creative tool. In addition, he is also exploring how some of the mathematical concepts of topology can be used in the understanding social and cultural change. Julian’s professional practice has recently turned to sound sculpture with Knots and Donuts installed at the Tate Modern, in 2011. His publications include the jointly authored Changing the Subject: Psychology, Social Regulation and Subjectivity (1984), Sonic Bodies: Reggae Sound Systems, Performance Techniques, and Ways of Knowing and he was a Founding Editor of the Ideology and Consciousness Journal.
Sound Reasons (www.soundreasons.in) is a hybrid creative studio-space-cum-record-label for promoting, producing and showcasing sound art, experimental electronic and contemporary music from around the world. It was formed in 2009 and since then has released and facilitated numerous sound installations and music performances along with CD productions. Some of the artists that have featured on Sound Reasons are Robin Meirer, SoundSkill, monoton, Bernd Scherer, diFfuSed beats, Thomas Peter, Sonic Objects (Nigel Helyer), Jatin Vidyarthi (Masta Justy), Hans Koch and edGeCut to name a few.
Sound Reasons promotes avant garde and experimental sounds of new-music and, in 2012, organised the first edition of Sound Reasons Festival where some of the best talents from the world of sound art and experimental contemporary music were showcased. Planning for more releases is underway.
Technical support by Goethe Institute, Delhi.