Project: SonicTrails

Örjan Sandred



The abandoned city.

“Sonic Trails : Lockdown” is a multimedia installation reflecting on a city in Covid-19 lockdown. A visitor is transferred between concrete and abstract experiences in a 3-dimensional world created through projections on semi-transparent screens and a multi-channel loudspeaker system. The installation was created in close collaboration with Max Sandred.

In Sonic Trails: Lockdown, visitors are immersed in various events in the lockdown city occurring regardless of their presence. Using multiple audio-visual samples of these urban phenomena, the installation creates a new place for visitors to inhabit.  

Artificial intelligence algorithms determine the composition of this environment in a constant process of deconstruction and reconfiguration. Pitches and harmonies are dissected from environmental noises, familiar objects and places are reduced to abstract visuals and spaces, rhythms and motifs are brought to focus. The AI leaves nothing to chance by structuring its actions and interactions, constantly revealing new material and juxtapositions while occasionally bringing back existing themes. In this sense, the installation is a precise musical composition, experienced beyond the realm of sound as synesthetic, audio-visual, spatial experience. 

The installation uses a constraint based control system, where parameters for sound and video processing are controlled through logic reasoning. Part of the creation process was to research and define a rule system that would produce a continuously varied effect with a balance of predictable and unpredictable output, and that would create a satisfying musical result. 

Presentation of the project at Arts, Letter and Numbers.

Host: Dr. Lisa Landrum