In our work as artists, designers, and researchers, we identify multiple challenges in the advancement of spatial media. These challenges are related to the creation and the design of media contents, but also to the development of tools, technologies, techniques, and methods that are being used.
For example, companies, scientific institutions, and users in the spatial sound arts are holding a great interest in the technicality of hard- and software for decades, but we can see great potential in exploring the phenomena that can or could be experienced.
By providing the location, the tools, and the minds, the spaes lab’s mission is to advance the auditory qualities of spatial media by bringing together the perspectives of science, technology, and the phenomena we experience in situ, including its complementary modes of perception such as vision, smell, or touch.


Sound is what we experience related to our sense of hearing, including not only the actual vibrations we can hear with our ears and our body, but also the silence, the imagined sounds, the expected sounds, the missing sounds, the wanted or unwanted sound.


All kinds of space are potentially relevant for experiencing the phenomenon of sound, such as the social, the architectural, the geographical, the euclidean, or the emotional space.


Our understanding of aesthetics is neither limited to the sensation of sound, sight, or touch, nor is it limited to art critique or beauty. Rather, we conceptualize aesthetics as the way we holistically experience phenomena, including the objects and subjects of everyday life, in relation to our expectations, and based on our individual interpretation of reality. It is in this sense that aesthetics is the lab’s point of reference.
Through the spaes lab’s activities, we want to improve our capacitiy to consciously experience and analyze certain spatial qualities in sonic media. Starting from our auditory experience, we want to refine the quality of communicating and discussing the experienced phenomena in a meaningful way among people, both from diverse backgrounds and with different disciplines. The lab’s activities are guided by the interplay of the following six dimensions.


spatial aesthetics in sound


words, strategies, and approaches to describe and discuss our experience


key points in theory about the spatiality of sound


how our thinking shapes our creative practice


the processes and tools we use for realization


how experience, verbalization, and theory can help us to reflect on our creative processes in a constant comparative and iterative loop


Throughout the past century, the awareness of space has affected all kinds of disciplines.


With the introduction of spatial audio technologies, the production of sonic spaces has become a growing field of interest for many creatives including composers and sound designers—and for diverse audiences.


Still, the vast majority of research and creative practice aims to refine technologies and methods to (re-)create a naturalistic auditory experience — paying little attention to the question of how we experience space in its various dimensions, including the phenomenological, the social, and the emotional space.


Similarly, creatives limit themselves by formulating and realizing their ideas sourced from technology-enabled effects.


For now, it seems that we have entered a phase of vast, loud, colorful and impressive sound images, compositions, effects — overwhelming and highly sensational, but often restricted by a limited focus on a software-hardware-in-use-debate.


Are we just throwing around sounds? (Jonty Harrison, 1999)


Despite that many recent spatialized musical works treat the space as an after-thought applied only after the piece is done composing, many composers working in the field of spatialized music are convinced that an understanding of the function of spatial characteristics is a crucial prerequisite to the work.


Ultimately, spatial audio technologies are just the tools to translate ideas into concrete listening experiences—a too often forgotten fact—but spatial sound is rarely discussed, evaluated, and reflected with all the multifaceted dimensions of space.


We don’t know enough. For example, there is little shared agreement on the understanding of the basic terms such as sound or space, of its multiple relationships, and of the implications to applying this knowledge to the various fields including art, music, design, theatre, film, architecture, scenography, etc.


Being aware of the structural limitations of academic and commercial institutions, we are establishing an independent lab dedicated to the interdisciplinary study of the spatial aesthetics in sound.