Acoustic Shadows: An Auditory Exploration of the Sense of Space


  • Frank Dufour



Acoustics, direct perception, duration, ecology, events, information, phenomenology, sound


This paper examines the question of auditory detection of the movements of silent objects in noisy environments. The approach to studying and exploring this phenomenon is primarily based on the framework of the ecology of perception defined by James Gibson (Gibson, 1979) in the sense that it focuses on the direct auditory perception of events, or “structured energy that specifies properties of the environment” (Michaels & Carello, 1981 P. 157). The goal of this study is triple:

-Theoretical; for various reasons, this kind of acoustic situations has not been extensively studied by traditional acoustics and psychoacoustics, therefore, this project demonstrates and supports the pertinence of the Ecology of Perception for the description and explanation of such complex phenomena.

-Practical; like echolocation, perception of acoustic shadows can be improved by practice, this project intends to contribute to the acknowledgment of this way of listening and to help individuals placed in noisy environments without the support of vision acquiring a detailed detection of the movements occurring in these environments.

-Artistic; this project explores a new artistic expression based on the creation and exploration of complex multisensory environments. Acoustic Shadows, a multimedia interactive composition is being developed on the premises of the ecological approach to perception.

The last dimension of this project is meant to be a contribution to the sonic representation of space in films and in computer generated virtual environments by producing simulations of acoustic shadows.   

Author Biography

Frank Dufour

Assistant Professor. Arts and technology Program. The University of Texas at Dallas.




How to Cite

Dufour, F. (2011). Acoustic Shadows: An Auditory Exploration of the Sense of Space. SoundEffects - An Interdisciplinary Journal of Sound and Sound Experience, 1(1), 82–97.