Projecting the Audiovisual Object

An appreciation of live performance commonly posits performers and their bodies as central to audience engagement.  As expanded cinema practitioners extend film outside the frame and beyond passive linearity, so acousmatic composers have separated the work of the musican from the body and the sound from its source. The introduction of notebook computers to live performance rejuvenated this approach, yet the lack of physicality continues to spark debate around the notion of what constitutes “liveness”.  Pierre Schaeffer and his students constructed a notion of the sound object as a malleable entity not specifically bound by musical or instrumental tradition, physicality, causality or meaning. Modern digital AV performers work towards a compositional integrity and performative presence by expanding this notion towards a unified projection of sound and image, substituting the performer body with an audiovisual phantasm conjured by the performer in real time and space.

This paper interrogates the notion of the audiovisual object in live performance.  The audiovisual object is a potent representational form for the translation of musical ideas into physical realities and for the multimodal extension of artistic expression.  Contesting popular occular-centric notions that serve to pigeon-hole digital AV performance as a predominantly visual art, the paper will explore the cultural and technological importance of constructing an external audiovisual body to enhance live presence in modern digital music performance.


Lloyd Barrett is an Audiovisualist based in Brisbane, currently researching approaches to audiovisual composition, design and performance.  Currently working through a PhD in the Creative Industries faculty at QUT, he also lectures in music and sound art.  His background lies with experimental electronic music, with over a decades experience in curation, performance and broadcasting.  Starting with contributions to Atmospheric Disturbances with Andrew Kettle, he curated numerous experimental music shows on 4ZZZ including Audiopollen with Joel Stern which would also become a live performance series.  He assisted in the curation of the Small Black Box series and has been invited to perform at prestigious national festivals such as Liquid Architecture, Electrofringe, the Other Film Festival and What is Music.  His international solo debut, “Mise En Scene” is available from and a number of his audio projects are distributed under CC licenses through Alias Frequencies.