Short Overview:

WHAT WE WANT TO HEAR (Ariane Trümper)

type of project: fellow research project

published: 2020

by: Ariane Trümper

website(s): http://www.arianetrü

development/rehearsal blog: ariane_truemper_-_what_we_want_to_hear

license(s): MIT



Our understanding of space has changed drastically in recent decades. Digitization has created new spaces, distances have been eliminated and our sense of reality has been questioned. Hearing is an extremely immersive sensory impression, which today, besides seeing, experiences constant expansion and translation through technology. In her project, which Ariane Trümper developed at ATD, she was concerned with the perception of sound and the experience of digital space. Another kind of stage is created, that does not primarily appeal to the eye, but mainly to the ear! It uses binaural (spatial) sound and the movement of the participant to unfold the performance.

(screenshot from the project video)

Goals of the Project

The goal of this research was to design another kind of stage, a performance space working completely different from the rather visually and perspective orientated 'classical' stage. It's a stage that doesn't need any human actors, but that mainly works with the spectators, their audible experience and movements in space. Performative installations often tend to be one-person performance, in this set up I specifically wanted to challenge this and to create a virtual sound landscape for up to 4 participants. Even though this project focuses on sound, as it important for me not to purely turn off the lights and to make it dark, but to rather work with a neutral visual experience, that does allow the freedom to still move and feel 'safe'

This non-actor performance project (of course still in progress) is based on the idea that it can be run by the maker him-/herself, without much other personal needed. It is all centred around one laptop, who's the heart of the work.

The work is not intended to be only one piece, but rather to form a stage for various different kind of performative possibilities. Here you can think of i.e a sort of dramatic audio plays of 'ghosts' in space, of an accessible music piece in which the different tracks can be walked through or an abstract sound work, with animated sound that is tracking the participants themselves. There are many possibilities, I hope to further explore in the future…..

Used Tech for development: HARDWARE

  • Lenovo ThinkPad P1 (Win 10)
  • Vive Pro set (2 base station 2.0, HMD, …)
  • 4 Vive Trackers + dongles
  • 1 external audio interface with 8 Line Outputs (PreSonus Studio1824c)
  • 8 mono male jack connector cables
  • 4 Sennheiser wireless in ear system (ew G4) + 4 wireless receivers
  • 4 Headphones (beyerdynamic DT880 Pro & DT770 PRO)
  • 3 USB Hubs (1 USB-C, 2 USB-A)
  • 1 Displayport - USB-C Adapter
  • 1 external screen + HDMI cable
  • Midi Pad
  • Mouse
  • diverse electricity cables


  • Visual Studio 16.3.6
  • Unity2019.2.10f1
  • Steam VR Unityplugin
  • SteamVR App 1.8.21 + Steam Account
  • DearVR unity (Amazingly I got this sponsored from DearVR, thanks again!)
  • AudioStream package/Asset

Technical Set up / Approach

Here you see my working station or control station and how the technology is connected to each other and over which inputs/outputs. Only the base station and the headphones+Trackers are missing in this visual representation of the hardware. You can see them in the other drawings.

Participants have (wireles) headphones. The virtual sound landscapes has spatial sounds. Means sound sources are placed (or moving) in specific areas of the virtual landscape. The individual positions of the participants in a (physically empty) space are being tracked (Vive Pro). With the help of that a individual spatial/binaural sound experience gets create. In this spatial sound landscape the spectators can move freely.

This was my working space at the Academy, it's a plain simple area, just empty, making it possible to move in it. On the bottom you see my working station, with most equipment needed. In general could there be many different types of spaces in which performances could be staged. The idea to work create a sound landscape in public spaces and site-specific location is very tempting to me! So basically there are not many restrictions to a space, it has be high and big enough to have a good trackable area and there should be nothing disrupting the signals send out by the base station and somewhere you have to place the 'control' station. Of course you need electricity and maybe water would be tricky, but besides this a lot of things are possible!

I fixed the trackers as little crowns on the head to track the head movement and position as close as possible to the ears.

  • projects/what_we_want_to_hear/start.txt
  • Last modified: 19.11.2020 09:15
  • by Philipp Kramer