Victoria University

Sound phantoms: The hidden sonic signatures resident in objects with particular reference to that of the tree

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dc.contributor.advisor McKinnon, Dugal Lambourn, Matthew 2020-02-28T01:58:56Z 2020-02-28T01:58:56Z 2019 2019
dc.description.abstract This exegesis informs the ten accompanying audiovisual artworks which express the concept of the sound phantom. The sound phantom is a speculative entity, enjoying persistence, and harboured by all objects. It consists of every sound, real or conceptual, that the object has made or could make, past and future, time-condensed and folded into spatial form. Once this form, or field, is entered by a listener, various sonic representations of the object can be experienced. The object chosen for this paper is that of the tree. There is a possibility that the sound phantom is an ancient idea in both academia and cultural fora, though it has not necessarily enjoyed the scrutiny and artistic response presented here. Given that the actual sound of an object is only part of the sound phantom, the phantom encompasses sonic representation of its other sensual properties (such as visual and textural) as well as conceptual (such as human and non-human perceptions of the object, and its own memories and goals). The sound phantom can be imagined as a zone straddling the boundary of scientific/philosophical understanding and the unknown. There is support from existing academic research for the existence of such a concept, not least in that conceptual and sensory objects enjoy the same status as objects, even if their ‘realness’ is what is in question. This also implies that at some level these objects have experience and even agency, even if it is far from human understanding. Once we accept that different life forms exist on vastly different timescales, it becomes easier to accept the notion that slowly-moving organisms like trees may be able to sense, remember, communicate and make decisions. If we could somehow perceive the object’s ‘sonic self’, that may re-encourage an idea that has been in decline over the last few hundred years: that of inter-entity empathy. At least in practice, it is undeniable that the environment and its non-human inhabitants have been severely disrespected and damaged to a critical point in modern times. If we are able to empathise with other things through art, we might yet rekindle enough action to avert disaster to both the world and ourselves. I have chosen established media to portray the idea of the sound phantom, using 2D projection of biaxial 360º video material as a visual guide to the immersive 7.1-surround sonic material. There are other artists that have approached various aspects of the idea of the sound phantom, if not necessarily the political reasons for doing so. Even though our perception of the sound phantom can only be partial, through this paper and our powers of cognition, we might yet be able to grasp the concept and remember that we are not seperate from the world, but of it, and would do well to realise that through our individual and collective actions. This exegesis and the works are a first a step along that pathway. en_NZ
dc.language.iso en_NZ
dc.publisher Victoria University of Wellington en_NZ
dc.subject Sound image en_NZ
dc.subject Sound art en_NZ
dc.subject Spatial sound en_NZ
dc.subject Sound form en_NZ
dc.subject Sound shapes en_NZ
dc.subject OOO en_NZ
dc.subject Object-Oriented Ontology en_NZ
dc.subject Sound objects en_NZ
dc.title Sound phantoms: The hidden sonic signatures resident in objects with particular reference to that of the tree en_NZ
dc.type Text en_NZ
vuwschema.contributor.unit New Zealand School of Music en_NZ
vuwschema.type.vuw Awarded Research Masters Thesis en_NZ Sonic Arts en_NZ Victoria University of Wellington en_NZ Master's en_NZ Master of Musical Arts en_NZ
vuwschema.subject.anzsrcfor 190406 Music Composition en_NZ
vuwschema.subject.anzsrcseo 970119 Expanding Knowledge through Studies of the Creative Arts and Writing en_NZ

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