The Coastlines sound installation was created by graduate students and faculty in the Arts and Technology program at the University of Texas at Dallas, in collaboration with undergraduate students in the School of Information and Communication and Media Engineering at the Université du Sud Toulon-Var (USTV), in Toulon, France.
The project began in September 2009 with several planning meetings between UT Dallas and the Dallas Museum of Art focusing on exhibition themes and artworks, as well as technological possibilities. UT Dallas faculty and students presented a proof of concept demonstration in December 2009 for the multilayer sound design and use of hyperdirectional speakers. In January 2010, under the direction of UT Dallas professor Dr. Frank Dufour, students selected works of art in the Coastlines exhibition and began composing sonic interpretations for these works. Lead graduate students Michael Austin and Jason Barnett also began work on the conceptual and technical development of the overall multilayer sound design.
Communications about the project between the creators occurred primarily through the Internet using free web-based chat software and a private social network that provided a forum for the exchange of ideas, images, and iterative sound designs. In addition, Michael Austin visited the USTV students in Toulon, France, during project development.
The final sound installation includes three synchronized layers. A global soundscape powered by two subwoofers is audible throughout the exhibition and contains musical elements shaped by the natural sounds and rhythms of waves. Regional soundscapes emerge from ten ceiling-mounted speakers and respond to the thematic sections of the exhibition. Local soundscapes representing individual interpretations of selected works of art are delivered through Holosonics hyperdirectional speakers, which allow for a controlled design of the auditory space.
University of Texas at Dallas:
Frank Dufour, Ph.D., Professor of Sound Design and Technology
Luis Fernando Midence
Université du Sud Toulon-Var:
Hérve Zénouda, Ph.D., Project Coordinator
Xavier de Frutos