Locus Sonus is a research group whose main aim is to explore the ever evolving relationship between sound, place and usage. Our methodology places artistic experimentation at the center of our research. Multidisciplinary theoretical approaches dialogue with, nourish and nurture this experimentation and the research sometimes (but not systematically) leads to artistic productions in the form of installations, performances, concerts and web-based projects. Beyond this, Locus Sonus regularly publishes research in recognized journals and takes on an editorial role for special issues.
Our research centers on sound in its relationship to space place and usage. We are particularly concerned with the transformation of sound space that is occurring as audio transmission, distribution and generation evolves and the artistic possibilities that these changes offer. We study emerging technologies but also the ways in which they modify existing practice – for example the ways in which mobile phones might re-question the notion of soundwalking or how live streamed audio might be used in electroacoustic music.
Over time we have organized our investigations according to two poles. The first of these is (new) Auditoriums to be understood here as the different ways in which audiences collectively share a listening experience. Beyond physical spaces such as concert halls, clubs or open-air stages, we attribute this description to all systems that allow a shared audio experience. Examples include radio, audio streaming or virtual worlds. We consider that each system has particular (audio and social) qualities that call for artistic enquiry and experimentation, these may in turn lead to different types of artistic practice. We consider that it is possible to study these qualities from multiple disciplinary positions, ranging from acoustics, through musicology, art history and aesthetics to sociology and studies of usage. Locus Sonus attaches considerable importance to the evolution of Listening Practices.
The second is Audio Mobility. This is not to be seen as being separate from the notion of Auditorium; in fact, according to our definition, in many cases a mobile listening system may be considered as an auditorium. However, arguably, mobility has a particular influence on the perception of sound space in the sense that when on the move, sound is automatically tied to a person’s mobility – even when that sound is recorded music in headphones. A mobilized audio apparatus becomes part of a person’s phenomenological system and with processing power of recent smartphones this opens a panoply of new creative possibilities. Locus Sonus’ research considers how Sonification can be used with mobile devices to create sound and music in real time for a given situation, but also how virtual sound spaces can overlay acoustic ones creating new audio dimensions.
Much of Locus Sonus’ research revolves around long-term collaborative and collective projects. Beyond the experimentation undertaken within the lab, these platforms subsequently provide resources for individual artists and different art projects.
Locus Sonus is integrated in Ecole Superieur d’Art d’Aix and is funded by the Ministère de la Culture Française.