This body of research is an exploration of synthetic sound as a new material from the perspectives of compositional developments in postwar modernity, audiology, and psychoacoustics (the study of how sound is perceived and its effects on the brain and the body).

The researcher is Florian Hecker, a Chancellor’s Fellow and member of the Material / Technê / Materialisms research cluster in the School of Art at ECA, where his work relates to wider questions such as the bottom-up construction and generation of matter, and enables him to consider - through sound - questions that stem from other artistic fields, such as installation, intermedia and sculpture.

The installations, concerts and artist publications arising from the research propose new experimental forms, yet contain references to histories of conceptual art, minimalism, and performance.

A central aspect of these works is their focus on topics identified with collaborating researchers, often building on earlier works from collaborators' specific subject areas, or from Florian’s own previous projects. 

Isolation and dramatization

Florian works with both analytically-investigative and intuitive-subjective strategies.

This involves isolating particular concepts from fields of knowledge such as computational linguistics, audiology, and psychoacoustics - the conceptualization of timbre, for example - and ‘dramatizing’ these in the form of a new work.

For the interaction with this ‘concept-material’, the term of the dramatization of an idea is useful; the French philosopher Gilles Deleuze states that it is within the different spatio-temporal properties - the creation of particular times and spaces - where new concepts emerge.

Photo of a sound installation project
Image courtesy of Caylon Hackwith
'Chimerization / Hinge', 2012. Installation view from Exploring Compositional Epistemologies at Midway Contemporary, Minneapolis, 2015.

"Florian's latest commission, Synopsis, is at Glasgow Tramway from 26th May 2017 to 30th July 2017. One of his most ambitious installations to date, it is based on four computer-generated sound pieces, creating distinct but overlapping spatial layouts for the audience to experience."

Current and recent work

Recent works, such as Formulation (FLV Project) (2014), A Script for Machine Synthesis (2013-2016) and Formulations (2015-2017), feature a complex of non standard sound synthesis processes and means of sound analysis, decomposition and further resynthesis.

Formulations, Florian’s major solo show, opened at MMK (Museum für Moderne Kunst) in Frankfurt am Main, Germany, in November 2016 and runs until 5th February 2017. A book of the same name, which features a trans-disciplinary collection of responses to the work, was published by Koenig Books, London, in December 2016.

Recently, Florian has presented his research at the Alte Oper Frankfurt, Germany, at the Lausanne Underground Film Festival, Lausanne, Switzerland and at the National Museum of Contemporary Art, Seoul, South Korea. He has also created the 'Inspection - Maida Vale Project', a major new site-specific electroacoustic work for the BBC, broadcast live as part of BBC Radio 3's 70th season.

His latest commission, Synopsis, is at Glasgow Tramway from 26th May 2017 to 30th July 2017.

He is currently working with members of the Centre for Speech Technology Research at the University of Edinburgh, with the Analysis / Synthesis Team at IRCAM, Paris, and with researchers at École Normale Supérieure (ENS), Paris.

All images courtesy of the artist (Florian Hecker), Sadie Coles HQ, London and Galerie Neu, Berlin, as well as the photographers listed.

Would you like to undertake research-led study at ECA?

We also offer a range of research-led postgraduate programmes. Find out more.

Photo of a sound installation project
Image courtesy of Stefan Korte
'Formulation', 2015. Installation view from Preis der Nationalgalerie at Hamburger Bahnhof, Berlin.
Photo of a sound installation project
Image courtesy of Marc Domage
'A Script for Machine Synthesis', 2013-2016. Studio 104, Maison de la Radio, Paris, October 2015.

Related people