Activated Space: the transformation of internal spaces to become audible and interactive

Activated Space is a proposal to develop and present a series of installations that alter an architectural space to allow its resonant frequencies to become audible and interactive. The proposal combines elements from sculpture, electronic media, music, architecture and acoustics.

research questions:

How can active listening be encouraged?
How does our awareness of acoustic surroundings influence our perceptions?
What happens if you magnify the sound of a room?

Why is the role of sound increasingly coming to the fore within the Fine Arts?
How does technological change cause perceptual shifts which generate new potentials for awareness both inside an art/music context and generally?

These questions are resolved through the creation of a series of public installations, supported by a substantial website resource, public talks, critical commentary and the documentation and archiving of each installation. This process of development is integral to and directs the work towards a final structure.

The working procedure has been to initiate installations in a range of spaces amplifying the sound of those spaces in accordance with their inherent acoustic properties of reflections and standing waves. Various techniques are employed to allow the resonant frequencies of a room to become highly audible in real time. This process is modulated by acoustic changes as people move around the room, by ambient sound, by humidity, by the movement of air.

A key aspect of the primary research questions is the real time nature of the installation works and their relationship to the to the viewer/listener/participant. In practice, the real time element requires that development of this core work and dissemination are inseparable.

The working procedure combines an interdisciplinary practice of experimental music/sound/sculpture/time-based art within a Fine Art tradition and those of professional music/sound production.

As a sustained attempt to produce and monitor this work, one distinctive feature is an online diary of the creation and duration of each component installation.

Principal investigator
Mr David Cunningham
Principal project staff
Mr David Cunningham
Start date
Monday, April 1, 2002
Completion date
Tuesday, March 1, 2005
Data formats

Edited book:
Judith Nesbitt and Jonathan Watkins ed "DAYS LIKE THESE: TATE TRIENNIAL OF CONTEMPORARY BRITISH ART 2003" Tate Publications London 2003 ISBN1-85437-457-5

Edited book and audio CD:
Hatanaka, Minoru ed "Sounding Spaces" ICC Gallery Tokyo 2003 ISBN4-7571-7022-X
Chapter in an edited book:
Toop, David "Haunted Weather" Serpent's Tail London 2004 ISBN