Immersive sound

Fri 10th Sep 3:00 pm

Immersive sound
Michael Böger, Budhaditya Chattopadhyay, Antti Ikonen & Markus Pesonen
Chair Noora Vikman

Michael Böger

The sound designer is given new creative possibilities when using an immersive sound system. Through the ability of object-based mixing, it is possible to create a more balanced mix than with traditional stereo or surround based sound systems. This development presents a challenge as well as a relief. The subsiding of technological barriers enables a more free flowing sound design process. The listening experience also becomes more equal and democratic from the point of view of the audience. The challenge lies in the adaptation of the new technology itself. An immersive sound system gives us a better representation of an actual acoustic environment. Since the sound designer is responsible for what comes out of the loudspeaker, and for “how everything sounds”, it is important to use immersive technology in a mindful way.

Budhaditya Chattopadhyay

Immersion is a much-used and much-fetishied word in the domain of sound and media arts. It is through immersion that the audiences are often made to engage with the artworks. In these works, immersion operates as a context for realizing the production of presence as an illusion of non-mediation (Reiter, Grimshaw et al). The main concern for me is whether the audience tends to become a passive and non-acting guest within the machinic immersive space often constructed by an authoritarian and technocratic consumer-corporate culture and driven by machine sensibility. I argue that in this mode of non-activity the audience may lose the motivation to question the content and context of the work by falling into a sensual and indulgent mode of experience, therefore rendering the consumerist-corporate powers to take over the free will of the audience. From the position of a sound/media artist myself, I advocate for producing a discursive environment with a human agency rather than a machinic immersive one. I will examine the possibility of creating sound artworks where the individuality of the audience is carefully considered and taken into account as a parameter for the artwork’s dissemination. I term this future situation Post-immersion, as a manifesto for discursive sound work

Antti Ikonen
Designing sound for shared environments – challenges in the acoustic community 

My point of view to the topic of this panel discussion comes from managing an actual large-scale interior sound design project and the research related to it. A new hospital for children in Helsinki, Finland was completed and taken into use in 2018. Large areas of this hospital are being equipped with loudspeakers, which are playing a generative ambient soundscape specially designed and tailored for the hospital. At the moment we are doing a survey among the people who are using the building, and already the first results are revealing the differences in the experience among the acoustic community.

Markus Pesonen

My perspective for the Immersive Sound panel comes from working as a composer, musician, sound designer and non-formal educator. The main focus of my work is exploring audio without visuals in different listening concepts, environments and hybrid sound art implementation in wellbeing and education. I’m interested in how listening cultures are informed and shaped by technology and what possibilities and considerations does the development of sound technology give us for the future? Can immersive sound technology diversify our listening culture and what are the risks that listening technology pose our wellbeing?