Connor, Andrew John Caldwell
The ʻaudiovisual objectʼ is a fusion of sound object and visual object to create an identifiable perceptual phenomenon, which can be treated as a ʻbuilding blockʼ in the creation of audiovisual work based primarily on electroacoustic composition practice and techniques. This thesis explores how the audiovisual object can be defined and identified in existing works, and offers an examination of how it can be used as a compositional tool. The historical development of the form and the effect of the performance venue on audience immersion is also explored. The audiovisual object concept builds upon theories of electroacoustic composition and film sound design. The audiovisual object is defined in relation to existing concepts of the sound object and visual object, while synaesthesia and cross-modal perception are examined to show how the relationship between sound and vision in the audiovisual object can be strengthened. Electroacoustic composition and animation both developed through technological advances, either the manipulation of recorded sounds, or the manipulation of drawn/photographed objects. The key stages in development of techniques and theories in both disciplines are examined and compared against each other, highlighting correlations and contrasts. The physical space where the audiovisual composition is performed also has a bearing on how the work is perceived and received. Current standard performance spaces include acousmatic concert systems, which emphasize the audio aspect over the visual, and the cinema, which focuses on the visual. Spaces which afford a much higher level of envelopment in the work include hemispheric projection, while individual experience through virtual reality systems could become a key platform. The key elements of the audiovisual object, interaction between objects and their successful use in audiovisual compositions are also investigated in a series of case studies. Specific audiovisual works are examined to highlight techniques to create successful audiovisual objects and interactions. As this research degree is in creative practice, a portfolio of 4 composed works is also included, with production notes explaining the inspiration behind and symbolism within each work, along with the practical techniques employed in their creation. The basis for each work is a short electroacoustic composition which has then been developed with abstract 3D CGI animation into an audiovisual composition, demonstrating the development of my own practice as well as exploring the concept of the audiovisual object. The concept of the audiovisual object draws together existing theories concerning the sound object, visual perception, and phenomenology. The concept, the associated investigation of how audiovisual compositions have evolved over time, and the analysis and critique of case studies based on this central concept contribute both theory and creative practice principles to this form of artistic creativity. This thesis forms a basis for approaching the creative process both as a creator and critic, and opens up a research pathway for further investigation.