Sculptural Sonic Agents

Sculptural Sonic Agents is a collaboration between Andrew Brown and John Ferguson. The goal is to explore the development of sonic sculptural agents, these ‘agents’ are bespoke instruments that comprise artificial listening and sound generating capabilities. They listen to the sonic environment around them (including other machine and human performers) and respond is ways programmed by the composer/designers. This project celebrates the creative possibilities of technological miniaturisation and foregrounds the computational power of single board computers, thus no attempt to conceal the underlying technology is made. 

The devices demonstrate individual and collective musical agency i.e. an ensemble has capability for feedback and interaction that might be perceived as communication. The self-contained sounding capabilities (having inbuilt microphones, processing circuits and loudspeakers) allows the agents to operate independently and to be positioned spatially as sound sculptures, thus adding a further behavioural independence and a spatial dimension to the project. In attempting to imbue physical devices with interactive capabilities this work extends the boundaries of new musical practices and help us better understand musical agency.

In 2017 Sculptural Sonic Agents was presented at 1) World Science Festival Brisbane as part of 100 Ways to Listen 2) the national conference of Museums Galleries Australia 3) Sensory Ecology at Gympie Regional Gallery 4) Perspectives on Listening: Biosphere Soundscapes, an International Workshop and Symposium at Queensland Conservatorium. In 2018 100 Ways to Listen won the Queensland State award and was a finalist in the national APRA AMCOS Art Music Awards in the Excellence in Experimental Music category.