Speculative Sound Synthesis is an artistic research project by David Pirrò, Ji Youn Kang, Leonie Strecker and Luc Döbereiner. The project deals with the relationship between technology and artistic thinking in computer music. In doing so, it attempts to productively destabilize this relationship by artistically questioning the standards of digital sound synthesis.
The idea of speculation is central to this project, both methodogically as well as aesthetically. Speculation concerns the how, what, and the why of this project, its methods and its objectives. For the team, speculation does not refer to unfounded conjecture or purely theoretical thought removed from concrete practice or experience. On the contrary, speculation can be understood as situated oscillation between experience and imagination that is characteristic of processes that bring forth new forms of knowledge. The project is seen as an attempt to release aesthetic potentials of sound synthesis for artistic practice that would otherwise remain unknown, concealed by standard technological gestures. In this sense, speculation is capable of overcoming inductive or deductive processes and able to dynamize the interrelation of technology and aesthetics.
Speculative Sound Synthesis starts in November 2022 and will end in October 2025. The project is funded by the Austrian Science Fund (FWF) within Programme for Arts-based Research (PEEK) – PEEK AR 713-G. It is hosted by the Institute of Electronic Music and Acoustics (IEM) at the University of Music and Performing Arts Graz.