Martin Parker
University of Edinburgh


Portfolio, Practice based, composition, long-form


Sonikebana is a long-form composition designed for nine loudspeakers inside wooden boxes on wheels. The audience is invited to move the speakers around the room in order to shape their experience of the piece itself. Sometimes the slightest touch of a speaker will cause the music to take on a completely new direction, leading to the emergence of new sonic forms. At other points, the speakers react less obviously and audiences are encouraged to listen instead. The formal idea for this piece is based on a model borrowed from the refined Japanese art form of flower arranging called Ikebana. This involves the careful arrangement of plant matter in order to reveal something already present (but hidden) in the materials being arranged. This approach has been applied to a sound piece where audiences take on the role of designer and listener. The compositional structure of the work allows for direct and un-rehearsed audience intervention, but without compromising the ultimate intent. Sonikebana was first realised as the public facing dimension of an interdisciplinary EU-funded research project with biologists, ecologists, computer scientists and artists called City Sounds. Version 1 used field recordings taken as part of the research project and focused on sample manipulation techniques. Version 2 developed from this experience. Having observed audience behavior around the boxes and tested the hardware and software systems, Version 2 focused on sound synthesis techniques, form and audience interaction. It was presented in August 2019 as part of the Edinburgh Art Festival. The sounds of Version 2 were synthesised from analysis of video shot at Little Sparta, the garden of Ian Hamilton Finlay. The movement of foliage shimmering in the wind was used to excite a range of novel synthesis and computer sound processes.

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2 May 2024


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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.