Research Associates

Research is a systematic investigation of some aspect of thought or reality which leads to transferable knowledge. In artistic research, this knowledge, embedded in compositional or performative work, may be expressed through diverse media, including but not confined to written text.

Margherita Brillada (master’s degree 2021)

Radio Art: An Expression of Social Relatedness

This research is conceived to actively participate in social reality aiming at the development of a musical language and a compositional approach intended as tools for critical reflection on current issues. By increasing awareness of audiences, and thinking of Radio Art as an expression of social relatedness, the project focuses on the production of radio artworks and podcasts.

Historical and theoretical research on the body of Radio Art was fundamental to understand how radio itself and its audience has expanded and changed in recent times. Radio, podcast, and music streaming platforms all have their public and different ways of listening. Questions raised about the context of new media and its audience are cardinal points for the choice of the compositional methods and on how to shape the sound according to this.

Podcasts are listening-on-demand platforms that allow a conscious and intimate way of listening. In such formats, my compositional methods deal with the concept of linearity of time, resulting in a sonic narrative structure. FM Radio and related online streaming platforms, on the other hand, are usually listened in everyday situations where it is difficult to predict when the audience is tuned in. When composing for the radio it is possible to overlook the concept of linearity of time. I argue that Radio Art should avoid dealing with finite temporal objects with a beginning, a middle and an end, but rather allow radio listeners to perceive a different piece and create the final version from a framework of possibilities. The compositional approach for Radio Art should be an open acoustic end result, welcoming the idea of losing control of a temporal structure.

Guzmán Calzada Llorente (master’s degree 2020)

Musical Explorations Through Spaces

With site-specific locations in mind, I am expanding the aural conception of what a room is and how it operates. As a general strategy, I plan to understand acoustic spaces as energetic places, locations with inherent autobiographies that can be manifested by articulating and uttering their resonances. This primarily occurs when working with room reverberation and electromagnetic activity, and by even exciting objects which inhabit a room through different vibrational methods. Within this framework, a piece of music may stand as a sort of adaptive sculpture, articulating a room’s history.

One branch of my research focuses on electroacoustic pieces for specific venues, working with audio sources that trigger fixed oscillators when they have certain coincidences in their frequency spectrum. These electronic instruments or a particular audio source are related to a venue by both expressing a perspective of their acoustic-physical properties and their poetic dimensions. While another branch of my work, involves approaching the process described above by filtering and re-synthesizing an original audio source, where transformations of a musical or audio source can be understood by the way in which a room affects them. 

Practically, investigating this will involve realizing several solo and ensemble pieces — ones that directly emerge from different filtering and re-synthesizing of audio and also graphic sources (e.g. scores). Overall, I expect this project to address notions of how understanding a space can reveal many different spheres of meaning. 

Giulia Francavilla (master’s degree 2021)

Immersive Sound: In-Between Spaces

The overarching focus of my research centres upon immersive sound: investigating some of its possible ramifications through sound composition and theoretical research.

Namely, the research focuses on three main aspects related to the topic: Presence, Distance and Transformation. These aspects shape my practical investigation and my path through theoretical reflections, furthermore underlining the foundation of immersive art into the relationship between the individual and the external world. Within respect of this, the practical research starts from Wind as a sound source belonging to the non-human environment, investigated through the perspective of algorithmic composition: field recordings of wind are used as a source of control for the creation and manipulation of synthetic sounds, thanks to a step-by-step process of analysis – data mapping – manipulation. The process is applied to the framework of live coding and fixed media composition, constituting an outcome that oscillates between some extremes: “familiarity” and “abstraction”, “data-driven” composition and “human” intervention. 

Within this perspective, a connotation of virtuality takes form when referring to the space created by a sonic composition, and its dialogue within the physical space contains multiple potential relationships with the perceiving self.

The research is shaped through the usage of different media such as multichannel speaker setups, headphones, binaural technology, alongside the experimentation with VR technology. The latter is being investigated as a different side of the research and put in relation to the musical aspects of the research by keeping the focus on simulation, abstraction, and perception of space.

Martin Hurych (master’s degree 2022)

Development of Listening: Recording Sounds of Daily Activities in the Acoustic Environment

This project considers how society’s acoustic environment affects individuals. There will be an emphasis on investigating the opportunities of how people can learn through their daily activities and interactions with the public environment. Additionally, my work will focus on discovering how various experimental methods of listening and their associated technology can act as tools: extending and facilitating new sonic experiences. 

Overall, this research seeks to develop the capacity of listening to one’s surroundings by using this facility more generally in life and in artistic practice. The subject of the analysis will be recordings made from selected daily activities, such as those that are habitual and often unconsciously lead us to avoid encountering new experiences. In contrast to this, my goal is to extend limited perceptions of reality from the actual content and context of recordings, thereby placing everyday life into an experimental learning process.  

Anna Khvyl (master’s degree 2023)

Sound in Spaces of Remembrance and Commemoration

The intangible physicality of sound is capable of expressing a more-than-graspable message to a listener. The invisible presence of sound waves balances between individual imagination and socially constructed reality. Our shared ability to listen to the environment builds a sense of community, while leaving a space for personal sensorial experiences. We listen to be with someone, and we listen to come to ourselves.

Places of remembering are meant to prescribe a specific value to a site, both personal and collective. Commemoration practices exist in every culture to allow communities to overcome traumatic memories through sustained mutual experiences. A moment of silence as a radical sonic presence is used to express something beyond words, something “more-than-graspable”.  

In my project I explore commemoration practices via aural experience to create a sound work that interacts with human perception and site, and facilitates collective memory through listening and sound making.

Lucie Nezri (master’s degree 2022)

indeterminate — incomputable

Indeterminacy is one of the most important notions for science and contemporary music from the 20th century. Its emergence can be traced back to the discoveries made in the field of quantum mechanics, which had a decisive influence on musical practices. The early ‘indeterminate’ experiments found in the music of John Cage and Iannis Xenakis are exemplary of the development of different compositional strategies—along with, sometimes, radical and polarized philosophies that resulted from their respective understandings of indeterminacy. With time, this notion has revealed its paradoxical facets and numerous nuances, both in science and music. In particular, a new light has been shed on indeterminacy and its potential expressions due to recent evolutions of computability theory.

The latter will be central in this research and will serve to reveal a compositional and perhaps ethical standpoint in the face of indeterminacy. If this notion has been initially used as a means for composers to generate more complexity in sounds and macro-compositional structures, indeterminacy will be examined from its limits. Specifically, an aspect of this research will consist of approaching indeterminacy from computational limits, considered as interstices of a particular, compositional indeterminacy. The inherent logical and mathematical dimensions of computations will be regarded as inspirational starting points for composing. They will be explored as different gradations and loci of indeterminacy, imbued with various degrees of determinacy. 

Farzaneh Nouri (master’s degree 2023)

Improvisation with Énacteur: an AI-driven collaborator

Énacteur will be an AI-driven collaborator for use in both live electroacoustic music improvisation and algorithmic composition. The design will be focused on the communication between artist and machine, resulting in a synergetic human-AI sonic network with emergent behaviors. The outcome will be a complex system that spontaneously produces temporal, spatial, and functional sonic structures. It will be an example of a cybernetic network, maintaining features such as feedback, system perspective, agency, and symmetry.

Énacteur will consist of three main components: an audio analyzer (or machine-listening system), a real-time sound processor, and a decision-maker / compositional strategist. The machine-listening system will analyze various parameters of the sound produced by the artist; the processor will use the analysis data to synthesize and transform the sound in real time; and the decision-maker will follow a compositional strategy extracted from previous demonstrations, creating sonic textures and musical structures during the improvisation process. By analyzing structural combinations provided by the musician, Énacteur will be trained on the stylistic preferences of the artist. Learning methods will include generative grammars, evolutionary algorithms, and imitation learning. The object of this enquiry is to explore the emergence of human-machine musical interaction via a self-organized structure of collaboration, and to investigate how AI models as composition tools could influence new aesthetics in electroacoustic music composition.

Yannis Patoukas (master’s degree 2019)

Studio Manoeuvres*

How can we approach electroacoustic-music composition from the perspective of experimental rock production? What elements can we extract by studying experimental studio practices used in rock music and how can they be used to compose new music? How can “studio improvisation” or “studio as instrument” approaches be explored further?
My recent research involves the exploration of different historical, technological and aesthetic crossovers between electroacoustic music and experimental rock music of the late 1960s and early 1970s, focusing mostly on production and compositional techniques. Being fascinated by several experimental studio practices and production techniques used during that period, my compositional work is heavily influenced by the early experiments in the field of pop, rock and jazz music where the recording studio started to be approached as a tool for composition rather than just for documentation purposes.
When inside a recording studio, I usually follow a more improvisational workflow; welcoming mistakes, trusting random or open processes and always making the most of the physicality of any analogue device in the vicinity. I approach the tape machine or the mixing desk in the same way as I approach an electric guitar; as a fully functional musical instrument.

*Manoeuvre: a movement performed with care and skill

David Petráš (master’s degree 2023)

Song and Site: Listening to The Environment of Traditional Music

This research aims to explore the possibilities of working with sound recordings of traditional music through the disciplines of ethnomusicology, anthropology, field recording, and soundscape composition. My main motivation is to look for ways to present audio recordings through several compositions, based not only on recordings of music and oral history, but also on the sounds of the environment and activities from the lives of people who are part of the research. This creative approach can bring new possibilities to work with the sonic narrative by clarifying the essential circumstances of the origin of the songs and the environment in which they are performed, as well as the cultural context in which this happens. The practical part of the thesis will be based on a case study of research led by visual artist and ethnographer Lucia Nimcova in the Carpathian Mountains (in Zakarpathian Ukraine and Slovakia), on which I am collaborating as a sound artist.