New Atlantis (2011- )

The ongoing collaborative VR project, New Atlantis, is a shared (multi-user) online virtual world dedicated to audio experimentation/practice. Unlike most online worlds where image is the primary concern, here sound comes first. Its aim is to showcase the relationship between sound, virtual 3D image and interactivity. It offers a platform for audiographic animation, real-time sound synthesis, object sonification and acoustic simulation.

The name New Atlantis comes from the title of a Utopian novel by Francis Bacon (1627) that describes a legendary island dotted with extraordinary audio phenomena, perhaps premonitory of today’s electronic and digital techniques. We have adopted Bacon’s nomenclature to create classes for the virtual world such as “Sound Houses”, “Sound Pipes”, “Trunks” and “Helps”.

In New Atlantis spaces resonate, surfaces reflect, and collisions activate the multiple sounds of the objects involved. Various scripts enable complex sound sources and environments linked to animation or navigation. Like Bacon’s novel, our project emphasizes discovery, cultural exchange, experimentation, learning, and furthering knowledge in a creative environment.

Principle Investigators/Coordinators

The project directors/coordinators and participating faculty are internationally known for numerous appearances, exhibits/performances, publications, and presentations: Peter Gena (Composer/Professor, School of the Art Institute of Chicago); Peter Sinclair (Sound Artist/Professor, École supérieure d'art d' Aix-en-Provence & Locus Sonus); Roland Cahen (Sound Artist/Professor, (École nationale supérieure de création industrielle, Paris); Benjamin Chang (Media Artist/Professor, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy, NY).

Current Faculty Participants

Marc Anderson, 3d graphics; Robb Drinkwater, audio programming [SAIC]. Jerome Joy, audio [Locus Sonus]. Shawn Lawson, 3D graphics; Rob Hamilton, sound [RPI]. Jonathan Tanant, lead developer and software architect [JonLab]. Alexandre Amiel, component development [ESA-Aix].


Anne Roquigny [Locus Sonus], Julie Karsenty [ESA-Aix].

Location:  The LeRoy Neiman Center,  Sharp Building Ground Floor, 
School of the Art Institute of Chicago, 37 S. Wabash
Date: Monday, October 10
Time: 12 - 1:15pm