Interference Journal Issue 7

Investigating Autopoiesis In Site-Responsive Sonic Art

By Lauren Hayes

This paper discusses the ongoing research project Sounding Out Spaces which explores technologically-mediated sonic responses to site through human, material, and environmental considerations. Informed by theories of self-organisation and reflexivity, the project attempts to build a methodology for developing portable sound-systems using microcontroller technologies in which sonic entities emerge over time through mutually affecting relationships with the environments in which they are situated. I assess this work with reference to Hayles’ discussion of second-order cybernetics and its implications for conceptualising musical systems as sets of relationships between living things, machines, and the environment. I expound these ideas through two case studies of the latest iteration of the tools—hardware and software systems—developed for this work: firstly, a large-scale installation which was presented in the Sonoran Desert of Arizona, United States. The second case study took place as a series of experiments at the Ars Bioarctica residency in the sub-arctic tundra at the Kilpisjärvi Biological Station, University of Helsinki, Finland.

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