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Pythmenas (2019)

a 3D audio installation for 28 channels




June 2019

Spatialization Lab

Qualcomm Institute


program notes:

A project that involves underwater acoustic data of natural habitats and urban environments with the addition of sounds from fellow performers, Pythmenas (Greek word for ‘bottom of the ocean’) is a collaborative 3D audio installation work that took place at the Spatialization Lab of Qualcomm Institute at UC San Diego in May 2019. 


The work combines the recorded data of bowhead whales coupled with acoustic imitation of seasonal ice activity. The acoustic data, collected by Scripps Institution of Oceanography, were captured by hydrophones in the Arctic Ocean. Additionally, the sonic profiles from recordings of several ocean species were interpreted by my fellow UC San Diego performers, reacting to the data and also each other through improvisatory action. The performers’ signals were recorded and processed in combination with the original ocean data, with the sonic resultant of Pythmenas being an audio registration and fusion of the totality of the layers. The layers were subsequently projected and spatialized into a dome of 28 loudspeakers laid out in four rings – 4 on the ground, 12 at ear-level, 8 6-feet above, and 4 on the ceiling. The 3D spatialization trajectories were constructed and operated within a Max/MSP patch, using 4th order ambisonics.  



Alexander Ishov, flutes • Dimitris Paganos Koukakis, piano

Ilana Waniuk, violin • Rebecca Lloyd-Jones, percussion

PythmenasTheocharis Papatrechas
00:00 / 17:09

Note: This recording is binaurally rendered. Use of headphones is recommended for optimal experience.

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