09 April 2009


Definition: The 'Sonic Nautilus' is a Navigation System Through Sound envisaged by music composer Ricardo Climent in early 2008, at the NOVARS Research Centre, University of Manchester (UK).
In April 2008, this research project was supported by SAHC [1] , with a Pump Priming Fund, to allow NOVARS to collaborate with Berlin-based Electronic Engineer Sukandar Kartadinata. The target was to design and construct an optical encoder for the NAUTILUS Navigation Interface, and a tailor made GLUION FPGA System (16bit ADCs, with 32 analogue inputs and 68 digital inputs/outputs)

Pictured above Kartaditata assembling the optical encoder

Implementations: Its first implementation is known as the MANTIS NAUTILUS, and it aimed to expand and integrate with David Berezan’s MANTIS System; a 32 channel Control surface (100 mm faders built by DACS), which governs an array of 40 Genelec loudspeakers, primarily for sound diffusion of stereo acousmatic works. A beta version of the interface and system was completed in December 2008. This was followed by further improved versions of the Navigation wheel across 2009.
From 2010 onwards, this Research Tool and Navigation System aims to integrate with other projects started by researchers, composers, documentary filmmakers, sound designers etc. from around the world.

Pictured above the Schematics of the NAUTILUS AND THE MANTIS SYSTEM INTEGRATION (click to enlarge)

Description of the System: The 'Sonic Nautilus' works as a Sonic-GPS to help general audiences to understand and enjoy more the language and communication powers of Sound and to increase their awareness on areas such as, the risks of sound pollution and contamination.
The performer/composer ('as the captain of the ship'), controls the interface of the 'Nautilus', which is inspired by Maritime navigation, leading audiences to a Sound Journey with critical stops in specific locations with unique sonic interest. The system resembles a vessel's steering wheel combined with flat computer screens and other small navigation tools and controllers. It is located in the middle of the concert arena (e.g. a concert hall, a museum, a public space), which includes a large video screen and it is surrounded by speakers. It examines new methods for dissemination of sound as a Sonic Journey through urban or ecological environments. Cartographic Maps and basic visual aid contextualise the listener in specific X/Y coordinates during the Sonic Journey, which is a self-contained story.
For further details about this project, navigate through the links on the right.

[1] (School of Arts Histories and Cultures at University of Manchester, UK.