This is an abstract from the Beyond Listening symposium program.

Acoustic Nexus

Bridging Archaeoacoustics and Sound through Embodied Listening

Mári Mákó

Acoustic Nexus is a quadrophonic interactive live-electronic music performance. This project is driven by interdisciplinary art practices, specifically related to archaeoacoustics, interactive design, and embodied listening.

In this performance, the instruments and their environment serve as catalysts for a deeper understanding of the listener’s relationship with the surroundings, shaping an ecology of listening. The physical environment plays a vital role in the embodied experience of sound, leading us to question whether we can “hack” the acoustics of a space through an interactive instrument design. To address the question of manipulating space acoustics, I have created a spatial audio interface, called Acoustic Nexus. This innovative instrument enables real-time sound projection and incorporates embodied listening experience.

The acoustic design of Acoustic Nexus comes from archaeoacoustics, a subfield of archaeology that explores how sound was used and perceived in past cultures. In particular, I am fascinated by the acoustic capabilities of prehistoric caves, which functioned not only as shelters but also as ritual grounds. Understanding these ancient acoustic practices informs my approach to acoustic space design.

The interactive designs of Acoustic Nexus, challenges and explores the relationships between motion, gesture, and sound within the unique setting of a multi-channel speaker setup. Through this exploration, the project aims to broaden our understanding of sound and its interaction with environments. Next to it, this project raises questions about the use of self-made instruments or controllers versus traditional ones. It is deeply connected to the reference point (expectation) of how players’ gestures on the instrument are coordinated with the resulting sound, offering a new perspective on musical expression.

In conclusion, Acoustic Nexus stands as a profound exploration of sound and its impact on our listening habits and interaction with the environment. By merging interdisciplinary art practices with the potential of interactive design, this project expands the boundaries of our sonic experiences, unlocking new creative possibilities.


Mári Mákó is a sound artist and composer based in Rotterdam and Berlin. Her work has been described as avant-garde electronic and post-club, characterized by controlled yet abstract complexity in her music. She creates her own instruments to produce unique and unconventional sounds in her compositions. These practices are informed by her research interests, which include the ecology of listening, experimental notations, interactive designs, and conducting processes. Currently, she is pursuing her Doctor of Liberal Arts program at MOME in Budapest while also participating in residencies between Rotterdam and Berlin.