art lab

Lewis Sykes – Proposal


I’m particularly interested in sound and the nature of sound and how it combines and interplays with moving image within the audio-visual contract.

So the artistic outputs of my research – sound responsive and interactive gallery installations, real-time visualisations of musical performances, short audiovisual films and live audiovisual performance – all attempt to show a deeper connection between what is heard and what is seen by making the audible visible. Since this process is relatively unconcerned with the literal depiction of objects from the real world my creative outputs are essentially abstract rather than figurative. It’s not that surprising, since my main artistic influences are the creators of early abstract film and somewhat later computer-aided abstract animation such as Oscar Fischinger and John Whitney Sr.

By looking for similar qualities to the vibrations that generate sound in the visual domain I’m trying to create an amalgam of the audio and visual where there is a more literal ‘harmony’ between what is seen and heard. In fact my research argues for an aesthetics of vibration and a harmonic complementarity between sound and moving image.

I’m Interested in sensory multi-modality and in creating artistic experiences that engage with more than one sense simultaneously – although my current emphasis is on audiovisualisation. So my work is predominantly concerned with the phenomenal – that which can be experienced through the senses – rather with the noumenal – that which resides in the imagination and ‘inner visions’. I’m fascinated by how the interplay between sound and moving image might affect us perceptually. So I explore aspects of sensory-integration – the ‘blurring’ of the senses where each impacts upon the other and creates a combined perceptual whole – but with an artistic intent. To try and find those conditions under which an audiovisual percept – a combined sonic and visual object of perception – is not just seen and heard but is instead ‘seenheard’. In this way my research is focused on the perceptual as opposed to the cognitive – in how we perceive the world around us rather than how we interpret, contextualise and make sense of it.

For Art Lab I’m planning to focus on the performative aspects of my project – exploring real-time audiovisual performance using some of the custom-made hardware and software I’ve developed as part of my research. If the components arrive in time this may include ‘fricken’ lasers… yay!