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Computational Arts Individual Study

 Listen into the real: Binaural study in acoustic perception

By Taoran Xu


Studying from a sound art perspective, the author investigates “in-head” acoustic perception in the context of modern listening. If space can be perceived through sound, then recording and playback techniques allow capturing a unique spatial moment for later regain. The notion of phantom as the invisible visible can be used to explain the embodiment of an auditive momentum in a space that is physically not there. This empirical study which presents the results of four structureed interviews in which interviewees are confronted with one binaural sound walk work made by Jane Cardiff and George Miller to reflect on the perception of wandering in a virtual space: a space that is not here.


The audio sample “HER LONG BLACK HAIR, 2004 , EXCEPTS #2” is provided by Cardiff & Miller on their website. The four interviews all took place at interviewees’ homes where they were familiar with and at ease. The interviewees comfortably sat down or lay down on the sofa with a good monitoring headphone put on and asked to wear a blinder as well to deepen and pay more attention on their listening.

The questions concerned respectively in what place they envision themselves to be, whether they performed an active role in the situation, what body performed this role and how comfortable they felt in the auditive space.  The questions would be asked after one had stop listening. All the four participants were adults females, one identified as a fine artist, one identified as a filmmaker , one identified as a sound designer and one identified as a computational artist. Interviews took place in Chinese, and therefore all quotes and texts were translated by the author.   


Further Reading

The full research report can be found here.