Aural Fields

3D rendering by John Heida.

Aural Fields One is both a sculpture and a generative sound installation.

Visually, the piece is a black, monolithic sculpture hung against the wall. Its front-facing side is made of a sonically transparent yet visually opaque black fabric — tightly stretched — which covers a multi-channel speaker system hosted inside the sculpture, pointing outwards.

The sculpture’s affordances - its weight, size, and shape - emphasize the spatial quality of the sounds generated from within. Reciprocally, these sounds highlight the sculpture’s dimensions as they get stretched throughout the sculpture’s frontal panel, sonically “illuminating” the sculpture’s edges. This tight relationship between the sculpture and its sounds gets explored over time.

The intricate combination of sounds and their movements produce spatial patterns. By focusing one’s attention to where in the plane these sounds are coming from, audience members will be able to trace these sounds’ location over time, allowing them to experience volumes forming and moving in space — volumes whose contours cannot be seen, but only heard.

The Aural Fields Series is a part of Gil’s ongoing efforts to construct and manipulate sound as material. Gil has been developing a framework called “sonic plasticity” to expand the spatial possibilities of sound. This framework provides concepts, tools, and workflows that describe sound as a malleable medium, one that can be stretched throughout space, that has height, width, and depth. Aural Fields One is the first in this series.