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KiSS – Kinetics in Sound & Space

The post-graduate research project KiSS—a cooperation between HAW Hamburg and HfMT Hamburg—operates within the boundaries of art and scholarship and focuses on the dynamics of spatial sounds and sound spaces. Central to the project is the exploration of the dispositives of the (digital) stage: this encompasses the spectrum of purely physical movement, as known from dance and theatre, to virtual movements of sound in space faciliated by sophisticated computer calculations. These extremes are mediated, for example, by motion-capture technologies that translate real movements into data flows. This enables hybrid forms of performative arts that allow for an innovative and immersive experience on the stage of the 21st century.


Follow the latest developments on the overall project and the individual research projects of KiSS here.

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Staff and Researchers

Project Management and supervision HfMT Hamburg: Prof. Dr. Georg Hajdu
Project Management and supervision HAW Hamburg: Prof. Thomas Görne
KiSS - Supervisors: Prof. Dr. Nina Noeske, Prof. Dr. Jacob Sello, Prof. Sabina Dhein, Prof. Dr. Julius Heinicke,
Prof. Dr. Friederike Wißmann (HMT Rostock)
Coordination: Benjamin Helmer

Alessandro Anatrini - Signal to space: Live acoustic transfigurations


Signal to space: Live acoustic transfigurations

This research takes a systemic perspective on the organisation of synthetic sounds in generative systems trying to predict emergent behaviours and suggesting a real-time composition paradigm based on the acoustic characteristics of the surrounding environment and their spatial correlation. In particular I am concerned with developing a machine-learning framework capable of coupling perceptual measurements’ data with synthesis’s paramters. This system is thus highly interactive in the sense that the actions taking place in the environment directly affects the sonic outcome.

On the other hand it becomes critical to implement a proper notation strategy in order to keep track of the applied processes over time, so that “succesfull” signal’s chains configurations can be identified and further used. The implications of using real-time data to shape site-specific processes in the artistic practice are evaluated from an aesthetic perspective to sketch an interpretation paradigm based on the non reproducibility of the artwork.


Dr. Gregory Beller - Natural Interfaces for Computer Music A new expressive language for sound creation


Natural Interfaces for Computer Music
A new expressive language for sound creation

Computer music has spawned several revolutions in the world of instrumental music. It has fostered the technical evolution of acoustic instrument manufacturing, some of which has become hybrid, incorporating electronic components, and has enabled the development of a wide variety of custom instruments, often connecting several electronic devices.

These new tangible, sensitive and / or virtual interfaces, more and more intelligent, sometimes developed in partnership with a performer, open each new creative space. Most are manageable, some offer an evolution of their playability and a few lead to virtuosity.

In recent years, machine learning has made it possible to adapt the playability of some of these instruments, as and when they are learned. The maker becomes the performer and vice versa.

The aim of this thesis is to apply this learning paradigm to the making of new instruments involving movement, space and sound in the spatially located musical generation. In the framework of creations, with the help of several performers, the author develops an artificial intelligence accompanying them in the natural creation of musical environment.


Kristin Kuldkepp - Gesture driven spatial sound: researching free improvisation


Gesture driven spatial sound: researching free improvisation

The subject of the research is timbre based free improvisation in gesture driven auditory scenes. Its goal is to explore spatial sound as a performance space for free improvisation.

Free improvisation is an activity that relies on almost no theory. Instead, it seems to initiate discussions between performers who can make music together ideally but are not able to agree on the concepts. Derek Bailey has discussed in Improvisation: its Nature and Practice in Music (1993) that the most precise indication lays perhaps in its resistance to any labelling. As it is a peculiar practice without any borders but with several perspectives, its multipolar attitude and characteristics are inevitable parts of every discourse. Ostensibly it would be more efficient to think of that as a collection of individual acts rather than a contextualised genre achieved through generalisation or reduction. Marcel Cobussen has communicated in The Field of Musical Improvisation (2017) that it is impossible to fix improvisation with a singular demarcation while being a seemingly homogeneous but simultaneously very diverse and all-encompassing activity. This assemblage of singular events is influenced by the personal musical background, the cultural context of the performer and the very playing style. That, however, would perhaps bring the focus on the individuality of every concert even more, as the playing style does not require a specific predetermination, but is favouring the multiplicity. In that light, free improvisation perceived only as an activity rather than a genre seems appropriate and is the starting point for this research.

The research focusses on John Dewey’s (1934) notions ‘an experience’ and ‘expressive object’ within specific concert situations. As the purpose is not to seek a strict definition for that music form, but to expand the understanding of how performers relate to this and how the body performance unwinds through time, John Dewey’s concepts offer a fruitful possibilities to organise that somewhat theoretically. The spacial scene will be built by the musicians’ gesture curves, which are analysed at real time during the concert. The musical gesture here, is understood as physical movement with some kind of significance that necessarily needs a body to be executed. Next to analytical data, the interviews with the musicians will be conducted to add an intersubjective perspective.

The expected results could show a various possibilities of how body performs in free improvisation as well as how to meaningfully integrate spatialised audio to performance. As free improvisation does not produce a strictly taken result, such as score, but exists only in the moment of playing, the research’s artistic work will be documented on a film. To provide an insight to the artistic production, the audiovisual media will at least hint on the actual performer’s work.

Jacob Richter - The aesthetic perception and design of music and sound design in virtual space

Abstract – DE  

Die ästhetische Wahrnehmung und Gestaltung von Musik und Sounddesign im  virtuellen Raum  

Welche Besonderheiten ergeben sich gegenüber den herkömmlichen audiovisuellen  Medien durch den Einsatz der Technik von Virtual Reality und Augmented Reality in  Bezug auf die ästhetische Wahrnehmung von Musik und Sounddesign? Wie lässt  sich daraus ein musikwissenschaftliches Gebiet mit eigenständigen Prinzipien und  Gestaltungsmöglichkeiten beschreiben? 

Die sich entwickelnden Schnittstellen zwischen Digitaltechnik und Musik können noch  nie dagewesene Möglichkeiten schaffen. Historische Aufnahmen können durch die  Erweiterung der Virtual Reality und der Entwicklungen im 3D-Sound ihrem  auratischen Moment wieder nähergebracht werden und so Interessierten eine  authentischere ästhetische Erfahrung gewährleisten. Somit bieten die digitalen und  virtuellen Räume Chancen, die Musik nicht nur für zukünftige Generationen zu  erhalten, sondern darüber hinaus auch einen immersiven Erstkontakt zu  ermöglichen. Der Zugang zu Musik wird durch die technischen Mittel demokratisiert  und mögliche Hemmschwellen ihr gegenüber abgebaut. Insbesondere die  Entwicklungen im Bereich der Virtual Reality und die damit verbundene  Virtualisierung des „Hörraums“ schaffen neue Möglichkeiten der Interaktion:  Kombinationen zwischen Musik und außermusikalischen Kontexten, wie der  visuellen Ebene und der auditiven Repräsentation des Raumes mittels 3D-Sound,  bringen dem Rezipienten nicht nur die ästhetische Erfahrung eines realen Konzerts  näher, sondern auch völlig neue Konzertformate und innovative, musikalische  Darstellungsweisen. Durch das vielfältige Angebot an Daten, Speicher- und  Wiedergabemedien ist es dem Rezipienten darüber hinaus möglich, einen  bewussten, kreativen Umgang mit Musik und einen bisher noch nicht dagewesenen  Blick auf die individuelle ästhetische Wahrnehmung zu entwickeln. 

Eng gefasste Definitionen von Begriffen wie Ästhetik, Wahrnehmung oder Raum  werden den heutigen Standpunkten innerhalb der einzelnen  Wissenschaftsdisziplinen nicht mehr gerecht, da die ästhetische Individualität weit  über diese hinausführt. Die Digitalisierung und Virtualisierung mit all den komplexen  Themenfeldern verlangen insbesondere unter einem musikwissenschaftlichen  Blickwinkel eine interdisziplinäre Herangehensweise und neue Prinzipien, um dem  fortschreitenden Wandel gerecht zu werden.


Abstract – EN 

The aesthetic perception and design of music and sound design in virtual space  

What are the special features of the use of Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality technology compared to conventional audiovisual media with regard to the aesthetic perception of music and sound design? How can a musicological field with independent principles and design possibilities be described? 

The developing interfaces between digital technology and music can create unprecedented possibilities. Historical recordings can be brought closer to their auratic moment through the expansion of virtual reality and the developments in 3D sound, thus ensuring a more authentic aesthetic experience for those interested. Thus, digital and virtual spaces offer opportunities not only to preserve the music for future generations, but also to enable immersive first contact. Access to music is democratized by technical means and possible inhibitions against it are reduced. In particular, developments in the field of virtual reality and the associated virtualisation of the “listening room” are creating new possibilities for interaction: combinations between music and non-musical contexts, such as the visual level and the auditory representation of space by means of 3D sound, not only bring the recipient closer to the aesthetic experience of a real concert, but also completely new concert formats and innovative, musical forms of presentation. The wide range of data, storage and playback media available also enables the recipient to develop a conscious, creative approach to music and an unprecedented view of individual aesthetic perception. 

Narrow definitions of terms such as aesthetics, perception or space no longer do justice to today’s viewpoints within the individual scientific disciplines, since aesthetic individuality leads far beyond them. Digitalisation and virtualisation with all their complex subject areas require an interdisciplinary approach and new principles, especially from a musicological perspective, in order to do justice to the ongoing change.

Gutachter:innen: Prof. Dr. Nina Noeske, Prof. Dr. Friederike Wißmann (HMT Rostock) 

Elise Schobeß - LA VACHE QUI RIT Dynamics of laughter: the comic character as a performative motif in the processes of desacralisation of work-text and performance

Abstract – DE


Dynamiken des Lachens im Postdramatischen Musiktheater: Die Komische Figur und ihre Strategien als performatives Motiv in den Hierarchiegefügen von Werk und Aufführung

Der Diskurs des postdramatischen Theaters entwickelt sich seit seinen Ursprüngen vor über drei Jahrzehnten stetig weiter und hat inzwischen auch das Musiktheater erreicht. Im Zentrum dessen steht eine „Enthierarchisierung aller Theatermittel“: die heilige Kuh des Werktextes – der Partitur – wird zugunsten anderer Inszenierungsmittel von ihrem Sockel gehoben. 

Ausgangspunkt dieser Forschung ist die Hypothese, dass der postdramatische Diskurs über die Enthierarchisierung des Werktextes bislang unvollständig geführt wird, indem postdramatisches Theater unter dem Aspekt der Tragödie betrachtet wird und der Bereich der Komik unbeachtet bleibt. Im Zentrum steht daher die Frage: Was kann die Komik zum Diskurs des postdramatischen Theaters, insbesondere einer Enthierarchisierung des Werktextes, beitragen?

Hier liefert die historische Theaterform der improvisationsfreudigen ‘Komischen Figur’ (Harlekin, Hanswurst, Buffon usw.) der Renaissance eine interessante Folie: Was seine Nicht-Literarität sowie seinen Umgang mit Text, Raum und Körper angeht, ist es offenbar mit dem postdramatischen Theater vergleichbar. Allerdings scheint das lustvolle, anarchische Lachen, welches vor 400 Jahren das über Europa hinaus verbreitete Theater der Komischen Figur auszeichnete, im postdramatischen Theater vom Äther des Tragischen verschluckt bzw. an die kulturelle Peripherie gedrängt worden zu sein. Für diese Forschung werden nun die Strategien der Komischen Figur analysiert und ein Vergleich ihrer Funktionsweise mit dem postdramatischen Theater hergestellt. Darüber hinaus sind auch Theorien des Komischen Teil der Betrachtung, indem sie auf ihren postdramatischen Gehalt überprüft werden. Ziel der Forschung ist es schließlich, ein System zu entwickeln, das die Komische Figur als performatives Motiv in den Hierarchiegefügen zwischen Werk und Aufführung beschreibt: als ein Strukturelement, das mittels Komikstrategien eine permanente Beweglichkeit ermöglicht. Ganz am Rande wird auf diese Weise auch eine theaterinstitutionelle Dimension eröffnet.

Im Hinblick auf die aktuelle Musiktheaterinszenierungspraxis untersucht der praktische Teil der Forschung einen bestimmten Aspekt der Komischen Figur genauer, nämlich ihren Umgang mit dem Raum und der Logik des Werkes. Daraus abgeleitet erfolgt eine Beschreibung der Konsequenzen, die aus der Spatialisierung eines Musiktheaterwerkes folgen: Nicht-lineare Narrationsstrategien sowie eine Enthierarchisierung der Inszenierung-Publikum-Beziehung werden in ihrer Wirkungsweise betrachtet und in den Kontext postdramatischen Musiktheaters gestellt.


Abstract – EN


Dynamics of Laughter in Postdramatic Music Theater: The Comic Character and its Strategies as a Performative Motif in the Hierarchical Structures of Work and Performance

The discourse of postdramatic theater has been developing steadily since its origins more than three decades ago and has now also reached musical theater. At the center of this is a “de-hierarchization of all theatrical means”: the sacred cow of the work-text – the score – is lifted off its pedestal in favor of other means of staging. 

The starting point of this research is the hypothesis that the postdramatic discourse on the de-hierarchization of the work-text has so far been incomplete, in that postdramatic theater is considered under the aspect of tragedy and the realm of comedy remains unexamined. The central question is therefore: What can humor contribute to the discourse of postdramatic theater, in particular to a de-hierarchization of the work-text?

Here, the historical theatrical form of the improvisational ‘comic character’ (Hanswurst, harlequin, buffoon, etc.) of the Renaissance provides an interesting reference point: in terms of its non-literacy as well as its treatment of text, space, and body, it is apparently comparable to postdramatic theater. However, the lusty, anarchic laughter that characterized the theater of the comic character 400 years ago, which spread beyond Europe, seems to have been swallowed up by the ether of the tragic or pushed to the cultural periphery in postdramatic theater. For this research, the strategies of the comic character are thus analyzed and a comparison of its functioning with the postdramatic theater is made. Furthermore, theories of the comic are also part of the consideration by examining them for their postdramatic content. Finally, the aim of the research is to develop a system that describes the comic character as a performative motif in the hierarchical structures between work and performance: as a structural element that enables permanent mobility by means of comic strategies. Quite on the sidelines, also a theatrical-institutional dimension is opened up in this way.

With regard to current music theater staging practice, the practical part of the research examines one particular aspect of the comic character in more detail, namely its treatment of space and the logic of the work. Derived from this is a description of the consequences that follow from the spatialization of a musical theater work: Non-linear narrative strategies as well as a de-hierarchization of the staging-audience relationship are considered in their impact and placed in the context of post-dramatic music theater.

Stefan Troschka - Perceptual studies of virtual-spatial sound scenes


In the scope of this artistic research, the effectiveness of spatially designed, virtual listening environments is investigated. Virtual sonic spaces can be created in several ways – either by binaural playback via headphones, or by sound field simulations that become audible via corresponding loudspeaker arrays. The latter delimit a physical space in which virtual sound sources can be freely positioned and moved. Virtual sound fields reproduce acoustic features that are relevant for the perception of direction, distance and movement of one or more sound sources. As a result, an auditory, spatial experience is evoked in the listeners perception. Such a listening experience occurs not only in sound field reproduction (the simulation of a natural listening environment), but also in designed sound scenes. Thus, 3D audio technology is not only used to create acoustic replicas, but is also an artistic device used in sound art and electroacoustic music. But according to which criteria can virtual auditory spaces be created? What are the aesthetic qualities of virtual listening environments in terms of the arrangement and movement of their sound sources? And how can we communicate these listening experiences? To address these questions, the present research investigates perceptual phenomena in virtual sound scenes on the basis of artistic research.


The colloquium KiSS - Kinetics in Sound Space, which takes place three times per semester, invites international guests from the fields of music, performing arts, musicology, music technology and artistic research to present their projects and discuss current issues in their respective fields of activity. In addition, it is the ongoing format for presenting the current state of research of all KiSS-members.

KiSS-Kolloquium 1

The Synekine Project: Towards a new language based on the adequacy of meaning and expressivity.

Dr. Gregory Beller (KiSS-member)

Configurations of sounds in space: From basic elements to meta objects
Stefan Troschka (KiSS-member)

Once re/moved: Bodies, time, and representation in performance
John MacCallum / Teoma Naccarato (guests)

KiSS-Kolloquium 2

Free improvisation as Experience – a pragmatic perspective

Kristin Kuldkepp (KiSS-member)

The aesthetic perception and design of music and sound design in virtual space
Jacob Richter (KiSS-member)

Phenomenologies of Affect for Artistic Research
Susan Kozel (guests)


KiSS-Kolloquium 3

Dynamics of laughter: the ‚funny character‘ as a performative motif in the processes of desacralization between the artwork and its performance
Elise Schobeß (KiSS-member)

Space as instrument: some thoughts on complex systems and computational aesthetics
Alessandro Anatrini (KiSS-member)

Artistic Strategies in Shared Perceptual Spaces-Researching Sound as Space
Gerriet K. Sharma (guests)



KiSS is a cooperative project of HAW Hamburg and HfMT Hamburg. The project is funded by by the Behörde für Wissenschaft, Forschung, Gleichstellung und Bezirke der Hansestadt Hamburg.

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