NXT creatives

Irad Lee

Koninklijke Academie van Beeldende Kunsten Den Haag


SONOMATERIA is a multi-user sound sculpture, installation, tangible sound interface and intersensory composition. The work aims to explore the sonic manifestation of touch by experimenting with the mutual reinforcing effect that the manipulation of tactile and auditory perceptions can have on each other in the context of art and design. SONOMATERIA takes the form of a tangible interface that allows spectators to manipulate digital sound via tactile interaction with a selection of physical objects made of 16 distinct materials: polystyrene, coal, cork, wood, industrial rubber, clay, sponge, stone (granite), coal, wax, synthetic leather, vinyl, iron, gaffer tape, and plasticine. A unique library of sounds was designed for each material, containing a selection of different sounds which reflect and respond to the properties and subjective tactile qualities of each particular material. Positioning the cubes manipulates the attributes of sounds and determines their spatial, quadraphonic distribution in the installation space. Via physical interaction with the materials, spectators can navigate through, rearrange, form and deform a pre-existing fragmented sound composition. The interface responds with tactile and sound feedback, attempting to position the spectator in a loop of intersensory synaesthesia. The work draws upon and extends surrealist cut-up techniques popularised in the late 1950s by writer William S. Burroughs. Cut-up is a literary technique in which a text (or multiple texts) is cut up into smaller portions at random, and then rearranged to create a new text. In SONOMATERIA, this technique is extended from the literary domain to the musical domain, and instead of words, big portions of sound are cut down to small fragments. Spectators are invited to interact with the fragments via a tangible interface that invokes tactile sensations, and thereby access an intersensory composition coded into a hybrid of touch and sound.