The project "Orchestrating Space by Icosahedral Loudspeaker" (OSIL) aims at increasing the practical and theoretical understanding of electroacoustic sound phenomena that are defined by their sculptural-choreographic nature, i.e., exhibiting localization, motion, and extent. Such auditory objects are new means of expression and as such they have already been subject of artistic research in the project "The Choreography of Sounds" (CoS), PEEK AR 41.
In particular, the project focuses on the icosahedral loudspeaker (ICO) constructed at IEM in order to project auditory objects into rooms, a feature that has already been successfully employed in various pieces that have been performed in concerts and installations in different halls and listening situations.
The ICO is a compact playback device that uses acoustic algorithms to project sound beams into freely adjustable directions, also wall reflection leading to the listener. In the existing compositions, listeners perceive auditory objects that move away from the icosahedral loudspeaker and which can have various shapes. The auditory objects hereby created are stunning, maybe because they involve a natural contribution of the room. Moreover, the visual simplicity of the ICO is contributing to an intimate and focused listening atmosphere. Nevertheless, how the effects work depends on how the sound beams are configured and mixed, as well as the room situation. For this reason, spatial compositions require to be adapted to the acoustic reflection paths in the given room situation, unless the setup is strictly prescribed.
Having said that, the ways of projecting auditory objects into space are not well understood yet. So far, artistic creation and shaping of these objects with different sounds was based on intuition and went without verbal description or understanding. This yields our current situation, in which we can neither precisely describe the required ingredients or outcomes yet, nor their psychoacoustic background. The development of a deeper understanding is regarded as a key to further develop the art, and a set of methods to adapt the ICO’s means of expression to different spaces. Eventually, also the reception of the produced phenomena and its aesthetics needs to be better understood and use a verbalization of inter-subjective agreement.

The art research will be based on three core principles:

I. Composition

Within the framework of a sequence of consecutive electroacoustic compositions, the sculptural-choreographic properties of sound phenomena will be examined in an empirical study. Thus the starting and aiming point of OSIL is always a spatial sound composition in HOA.

II. Inter-subjective Verbal description

Parallel to the compositional process, an explorative inter-subjective verbal description will detail the phenomena produced in such a way that it is generalizable and can be dealt with as a quantitative psychoacoustic question.

III. Psychoacoustic Modeling of Auditory Objects

To find these explorative verbal descriptions and their psychoacoustic quantization for artistically generated auditory objects, methods known from psychoacoustic and an expert listening panel shall be employed. The combination with spherical microphone array measurements, psychoacoustic models of the auditory objects can be established


The intermeshing descriptions will progressively inform the compositional process, resulting in a new, broader understanding and a generalizable approach of the artistic work with electroacoustic sound sculptures that is not restricted to works using the ICO.
By the end of OSIL, the methods of working, understanding, and composing auditory objects that are projected into rooms with the ICO will be internationally unique. We are going to turn the ICO into a mobile tool for an advanced electroacoustic style of composition and a projection of electroacoustic music into the performance situation, which is easily adapted optimally. Establishing methods of serial and not hand-knitted production, as well as standardized use in future concert performances will also been made viable. Moreover, the interdisciplinary experiments and results are going to appear in a series of publications. The nomenclature system for electroacoustic sculptural-choreographic auditory objects of OSIL will interconnect the disciplinary linguistic cultures of composition and psychoacoustics/audio engineering, and it will be made available on a website. The research results of OSIL will be demonstrated in a moderated concert and in a concluding international workshop.