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Ed Campion and the Sound Habitat

This year the Berkeley Center for New Media offered four faculty research grants to seed ambitious academic projects in the field. Our alumni voted on the applications and awarded $5,000 to Ed Campion to create a portable sound habitat for exhibtions. Read more about the project below!

Music professor Edmund Campion with architecture professor Ronald Rael, will create a moveable sound installation sphere. The sphere, called Sound Habitat, could be used as a flexible gallery, museum or other site-specific installation space. Ed is the Director of the Center for New Music and Audio Technologies (CNMAT) and on the executive committee of the Berkeley Center for New Media (BCNM).

The space has a precedent with the 1958 Philips Pavilion at the Brussels’ World’s Fair. The composer Iannis Xenakis, for Le Corbusier, designed a walk-in structure installed with hundreds of loudspeakers that immersed visitors in spatial audio and visuals. As modern multi-media spaces have become much more common and there remains a significant shortfall in such portable spaces.

The structure is being designed and built by the Emerging Objects team under Ron Rael, Virginia san Fratello, and Mona Ghandi. The 3D printed panels are built to hold small speaker components to form a multichannel spherical array driven by an Audio Video Bridging ethernet extension. The result is an immersive sound installation space that can manage 48 to 96 independent sound sources controlled by spatial audio software pioneered at CNMAT.

Ed imagines Sound Habitat as both a Plato’s Cave, challenging the meanings of design structure and multi-media, and a sanctuary, offering an auditory refuge from reality.

Learn more about CNMAT here and Emerging Objects here.

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