Simulating Nature: Sound Without Speakers


Session Title:

  • Sound and Installation

Presentation Title:

  • Simulating Nature: Sound Without Speakers



  • Widely available advances in digital technologies are enabling artists to work in new ways outside the boundaries of phonography (recorded sound). My own sound installations are one example of this trend, in which sound is generated and controlled by an ongoing process or algorithm, and the use of recorded sounds and even speakers altogether is often entirely avoided in favor of a more direct “physical” means of sound production coupled with precise digital algorithmic control.



    My work has dealt with the spatial properties of sound for more than a decade. Recently, I have become less interested in the creation of “virtual” sound fields with loudspeakers than in the creation of sounds directly by “physical” means (e.g. the striking, bowing, or the vibration of physical objects with some sort of transducer). These “physical” means of production are controlled by embedded microcontrollers that contain computer programs designed to operate in a manner similar to biological, ecological, and other natural systems. The computer programs create a complex and delicate system of interdependencies between the various sound producing mechanisms which are intended as a direct analogy to natural systems found in the environment around us.


    Full text (PDF) p. 181