What are sound scores? Which composers around the world work with audio scores? What methods do these composers develop? How does the interpretation of audio scores differ from written notation? What new skills do composers have to acquire and what new questions do they have to deal with in order to compose with audio scores? What can psychoacoustics contribute to clarifying these questions and how does the concept of mimesis (imitation) relate to the aesthetic analysis and evaluation of audio scores?


Composers, musicians, psychoacousticians and musicologists will explore these questions in close collaboration. To get answers to these questions we will launch an international open call to composers, inviting them to submit compositions based on an audio score on the one hand and set up a lab for compositional experimentation with audio scores and its interpretation on the other. In this lab, we create space for analysis and debate regarding the different methods and concepts underlying these audio scores and examine the theoretical concept of mimesis in terms of its applicability to the aesthetic analysis and evaluation of audio scores. In order to better understand the perception of rhythm, pitch and timbre in the interpretation of audio scores, specific audio scores are developed together with psychoacousticians and their interpretation is analyzed using psychoacoustic methods.


The research project aims to create awareness for and new insights in this compositional approach through an intensive exchange between composers, musicologists and psychoacousticians, and an interdisciplinary technique of analysis will be developed.


The primary staff involved in the project are Elisabeth Schimana (composer), Susanne Kogler (musicologist) and Piotr Majdak (psychoacoustician)






Wider arts-based research context

Arts-based-philosophy is an emerging research concept at the cutting edge of the arts, philosophy and the Sciences, in which cross-disciplinary research collectives align their research practices to finally stage their investigations in field-performances, shared with the public.




Our research aims to explore the significance of the *heart* (intuitive reason) for artistic research and performance philosophy from a cross-cultural perspective. The investigations are based on the concepts of the *heart* in the works of two artist-philosophers, who gave us a delicate taste of what art-based-philosophy could be, once the arts and philosophy cross their potentials: Nietzsche’s Thus Spoke Zarathustra and Aurobindo’s poetic opus magnum Savitri.



Methods and Formats

Our artistic research methods will include the following research formats: art-labs, a notebook, a mobile heart-lab and 12 field-performances, in which the voices of contemporary Physics, Cardiology, South-Asian-Studies, Nietzsche-Studies and the arts will finally be staged on two research festivals Philosophy On Stage#6-#7 in Vienna (BRUT Wien) and in India (ADHISHAKTI Laboratory For Theatre Art Research and SVARAM Music Research). The format *field-performance* has been developed by Böhler (PI) and Granzer over the last 25 years as an innovative method to stage philosophical questions in cross-disciplinary manner in touch with the public.




What is new in the conception of the *heart* in Nietzsche and Aurobindo is their common claim, that a *heart* implies a virtual plane of possibilities. *Hearts* are drawn toward a future to come which make them attractors of virtual possibilities, ready to matter. In its deepest depth, a *heart* cares for the event of possibilities, that so far have

not yet mattered by creating a taste (bodily-felt-sense) that allows one to feel the possibility of a future, right before it does matter, flash and collapse. Such concepts show striking similarities with contemporary concepts in philosophy-physics, e.g. the concepts of “virtual particles” and “quantum vacuum fluctuations” (Barad, Traxler).

It is telling, that in Indian philosophy and aesthetics an aesthete is called sahṛdaya––a term, which literally means “somebody, with a heart.” As if an aesthete would be a person that is defined by thinking in alignment with his/her *heart* and not against his/her *heart*.



Primary stuff involved in the project

Arno Böhler (PI, artist-philosopher) and our “core Artistic Research Ensemble” (cARE): Aurelio (SVARAM), Patrick Beldio (South-Asian-Studies), Jyoti Dogra (Performer), Nikolaus Gansterer (Painter), Susanne V. Granzer (Actress), Florian Reiners (Actor/Speech trainer), Sabina Holzer (Dancer), Johannes Kretz (Musician), Stefan Dobner (Cardiologist), Tanja Traxler (Quantum Physicist), Yunus Tuncel (Nietzsche Scholar), Evi Jägle (PhD), Christoph Müller (PhD).

Co-operating institutions: University of Music and Performing Arts Vienna (research seat: ARC-mdw), Adishakti Theatre Research (India), Svaram Musical Instruments and Research (India), BRUT WIEN, Volkstheater Wien, University of Vienna (Department of Philosophy).


Research Catalogue

Audio Ghosts (PEEK project)

AUDIO GHOSTS: Illusive perceptions – Perceptual illusions (PEEK project)


The arts-based research project AUDIO GHOSTS deals with auditory illusions – auditory impressions that physically do not exist but are still perceived by humans. Auditory illusions can be deliberately used for sound installations to create so-called “auditory ghosts”. Such sound installations are concerned with the artistic design and experience of acoustic environments. AUDIO GHOSTS incorporates the spatial effects created by auditory illusions: Depending on the listening position, sound events can be perceived in various ways, encouraging listeners to create personal sound experiences.


In the course of the project, the following research questions will be addressed:

1) How to incorporate auditory illusions in musical compositions?

2) How to investigate the nature and effects of auditory illusions when using the tools of art-based research?

3) To what extent can sound installations involving auditory illusions enhance conscious physical, sensory, and emotional experience?


In AUDIO GHOSTS, art-based research methods and compositional approaches will be combined with the scientific state-of-the art methods of audio-signal processing and psychoacoustics. By doing so, our understanding of auditory illusions will be expanded and made accessible to a wide audience of both scientists and composers.


A custom-made listening lab will facilitate the composition of sound installations tailored to the project’s content. In perceptual experiments, the effects of these compositions will be investigated by means of questionnaires and interviews. This way, the invited artists will be able to systematically work on sound installations and present their results within the framework of a festival.


All research activities will be documented in an online blog and compiled in a listening archive. The results of the project will be presented at scientific conferences and published in scholarly journals.


AUDIO GHOSTS is considered a lighthouse project for deepening our understanding of the unexplored perceptual areas of sound installations. The project is led by sound researcher Bernhard Gál and composer Veronika Mayer (Artistic Research Center of the University of Music and Performing Arts Vienna). From the psychoacoustic perspective, they will be accompanied and supported by scientists Piotr Majdak and Florian Pausch (Acoustics Research Institute of the Austrian Academy of Sciences). The project is supported by a scientific advisory board which unites experts from music, sound art, philosophy, and the social sciences.




Team: Bernhard Gál (PI)| Veronika Mayer | Piotr Majdak | Florian Pausch


National Research Partner: Acoustics Research Institute, Austrian Academy of Sciences


Duration: October 2023 – September 2026


Funding: The PEEK Project AR 774-G is supported by the Austrian Science Fund (FWF)


An Integration of Rap Music and Neue Musik, TIAN FU – AR Pilot project

This artistic research project is centered on the integration of two fields of music — rap music and
Neue Musik (European art music in the 21st-century). The idea came out of my identity: On the one
hand, I am a composer, who received systematic training of European art music (composition,
piano, and music theory); on the other hand, I am an emcee (rapper), a beat maker, who engaged in
rap music since teenage. Instead of stressing on the opposition between art music and popular
music, this project aims to find intersections and to explore the possibilities of comprehension and


In order to avoid the contextual confusion, I restrict the viewshed of my research within the
scope of Chinese Rap and the “Neue Musik” that I understand based on my knowledge system. So,
on this basis, the central questions of my project are: What are the distinctions and commonalities
of the creative artistic practices, representations, appreciations, disseminations and receptions
between the two fields of music? And how do they affect my artistic practices?
To answer the questions above, on one hand, I attempt to integrate the musical materials and
compositional techniques from two fields in my artistic practices. On the other hand, the method of
auto-ethnography will be implemented to discover how the aesthetic decisions are made during the
compositional process based on my identity and knowledge system. Lastly, the feedbacks of my
works from the colleagues and audience will be collected and discussions/talks will be organized in
order to finally establish a dynamic system: creative practices — self-reflection — feedbacks from
“outside world”.


Keywords: rap music, Neue Musik, integration, artistic research, auto-ethnography, creative


Études for live-electronics (PEEK project)

Wider arts-based research context:

Études for live-electronics is an artistic research project that aims to re-define the western classical music-influenced concept of études, by applying it to the diverse practices in the field of electronic music performance, where most live-electronic practitioners (LEP) are simultaneously instrument developer, interface designer, composer, and performer. Practising études is a fun method to gain skills on acoustic instruments. However, with electronic instruments, the interface and the sound generator are decoupled, interchangeable, and instrument parts can even be driven algorithmically. Thus, the skills required by each LEP are unique, and research on knowledge transfer in electronic music performance is subsequently needed, a shortcoming, that is often discussed in the community for New Interfaces for Musical Expression.



With the overall aim to develop an agile concept of études, we will test the hypothesis that its core element – the encounter with a problem through repetition and slight variation – can be transferred to a multi-culturally driven, collaborative research procedure, that facilitates knowledge exchange through the practice of live-electronic music performance creation. Our goal is to build a community of key agents in the field that will study the acquisition and transference of skills and implement actions to share this knowledge.



With cyclically recurring, artistic experiments in collaboration with practitioners from diverse backgrounds, such as sound artist KMRU aka Joseph Kamaru (Kenya), composer Trinh Luong Hue (Vietnam), music technologist Bernt I. Wærstad (Norway) and interaction designer Astrid Bin (UK), we will explore new methods to create skill-derived electronic instruments, historically-informed repertoire and collaborative live-electronic performances. For a multi-cultural perspective, the artistic research team will be in dialog with local music scenes in East Africa, Southeast Asia and Europe, giving public workshops and concerts in collaboration with international partner institutions. From the data collected during these actions, we will formulate a new understanding of études, applicable to live-electronic instruments of the 21st century.



This project will lead to methodological innovations for the development of electronic instruments and related repertoire, represents the first long-term investigation of how LEPs develop embodied knowledge with electronic instruments, and will, furthermore, explore new forms for the preservation of computer music works, by establishing an active musical live-performance practice around them.


Primary staff involved:

The project will run under the supervision of Alex Hofmann, working together with two PhD students at the University of Music and Performing Arts Vienna (mdw), in a strong collaboration with Karlheinz Essl from the Department for Composition (mdw).


Network of national and international cooperations:


Project Website


Confronting Realities. Working on Cinematic Autosociobiographies (PEEK project)

In relation to literary autosociobiographies Confronting Realities asks from an art practical and theoretical point of view how the format of cinematic autosociobiographies can be explored, described and produced, especially focusing on the fundamentally collaborative character of filmmaking. The project is designed on four levels: Level (1) of Autosociobiographical Exploration that will create the “Laboratory of cinematic autosociobiographies” (LAFA). LAFA tries to probe, explore and search, to make accessible and to contextualize one’s biography from an art-based perspective. Level (2) of Cinematic Forms and Techniques intends to develop and create narratives and cinematic techniques of cinematic autosociobiographies and translating them into cinematic formats. Level (3) of Interdisciplinary and Theoretical Contextualization wishes to build a strong foundation and interconnection between art- based and interdisciplinary research about (auto-)sociobiographies, cinematic forms and collaborative strategies of art production. Level (4) of Reflection and Evaluation intends to build a reflective framework around the project. During all these stages the “Digital Archive of Cinematic Autosociobiographies” (DAFA), a website-based representation and documentation platform, will ensure an ongoing dissemination and documentation of the project. So far, the field of cinematic autosociobiographies has not been explored neither theoretically nor practically, though several related cinematic formats exist. Confronting Realities therefore promises a pioneer work in this field. Furthermore, in times of a worldwide shift to the right marked by a rise in nationalism and populism, the question of social classes and its cultural, economic and political changes as well as their inscriptions into the individual have once again become topical.
Project Team | Nina Kusturica, Elena Meilicke, Claudia Walkensteiner-Preschl (lead), Christina Wintersteiger, Barbara Wolfram
Duration | 09/2021- 09/2024
Funding | FWF PEEK (AR 628)




Atlas of Smooth Spaces (PEEK project)

Atlas of Smooth Spaces – Notating, Communicating and Composing Spaces in Audio-Corporeal Practices


  1. Theoretical framework

In this artistic research project we explore how to notate, communicate and compose space phenomena across audio-corporeal artistic practices. We investigate these in four disciplines: Dance, Rhythmics, Choir Conducting and Direct Sound. They share an awareness for a certain tacit knowledge about space. In stark contrast to musical or movement notations, one finds that notated spaces are rather scarce in the audio-corporeal practices even though space unites them. We argue that this lacuna will be brigded by working on an atlas of space qualities. Rather than communicating merely the metric measures of spaces without the performer, we are concerned instead with emergent spatial qualities of smooth spaces that complement the performer, that exist outside of but not without the performer.


  1. Hypotheses / Research questions / Objectives

We will compare and contrast each of the four disciplines with one another to investigate how to intensify spatial phenomena, how to translate and communicate them, how to appropriate them for ones own practice and how to engage into mutual composition. We inquire about the kinetic spheres of two performers when a third one enters. Similar to the three-body problem in physics we seek to describe this emergent phenomena. How can the complexified spatial interactions of the kinespheres be notated? How saturated becomes the space, how fragmented, how synchronous?


  1. Approach /Methods

We conduct experiments during which a smooth space phenomenon is first distilled and condensed to a clear spatial expression. This we call the null-space. It is the starting point for our investigations and experiments, which are co-created in an iterative process by the performers and a complexity scientist. We foresee a recursive pipeline, that divides the work into individual, collision and co-production modes. We also foresee a role fluidity – performer, experimenter and documenter are not attached to individuals allowing for a change of perspective.


  1. Level of innovation

Acknowledging the importance of spaces in the audio-corporeal arts we consider the development of transdisciplinary space practices and notations as our major innovation. Secondly we believe that the particular mode of collaboration between performers and a complexity scientist leads into new artistic methodologies. Thirdly we create a toolbox that refers to the intense qualities of audio-corporeal space articulations and enlargens the disciplinary range of compositional space factors for artistic productivity.


  1. Primary staff involved in the project

University of Music and Performing Arts (mdw)

Institute of Dance Arts / Anton Bruckner Private University Linz

Complexity Science HUB Vienna

Alphabetically: Rose Breuss (Dance), William Franck (Direct Sound), Johannes Hiemetsberger (Choir),

Hanne Pilgrim (Rhythmics).


Book – Knowing in Performing

Knowing in Performing. Artistic Research in Music and the Performing Arts

This anthology takes stock of current developments in and reflections on artistic research in music and the performing arts. Thirteen international contributions explore the possibilities of processual knowledge production, taking into account participatory and experimental approaches, and examine their institutional implementation. How can performing be transformed into cognition? What does it mean to think through music, theatre, or dance?

The anthology published by Annegret Huber, Doris Ingrisch, Therese Kaufmann, Johannes Kretz, Gesine Schröder and Tasos Zembylas with transcript is based on contributions to the symposium “Knowing in Performing” in April 2018 as well as to the eponymous lecture series that took place at the mdw – University of Music and Performing Arts Vienna from 2018 to 2020. As part of the book presentation, the dancer, choreographer and artistic researcher Evfa Lilja has read excerpts from her opening statement on the state of artistic research.

PDF “Knowing in Performing” DOI:

Lecture by Efva Lilja at the book presentation of “Knowing in Performing” DOI: 10.21939/KIP-2021-LILJA

Cover image: Angelicá Castelló – magnetic room


AR Pilot Call – support for artistic research

In 2018 the mdw began offering internal financial support for pilot projects in the field of artistic research.

The objective of this call was to facilitate the further development of artistic research practices, methods, and discourses within the fields and disciplines represented at the mdw. Nine artistic research projects, most of which are transdisciplinary and collaborative in nature, have since been granted support, and several of their teams have already submitted third-party funding applications to the Programme for Arts-Based Research (PEEK) of the Austrian Science Fund (FWF). The nine internally funded projects were selected from over 20 submissions by virtue of their innovative research questions and commensurately portrayed methods, with the idea being that artistic practice should play a central role in the research process. A further objective of this pilot call, above and beyond facilitating eventual third-party funding applications, was to disseminate projects’ findings via public performances, exhibitions, and publications. One avenue of publication is the website “Research Catalogue”—an online database that collects, archives, publishes, and exhibits artistic research—run by the Society of Artistic Research (SAR), of which the mdw is a member. The University’s present objective is to further intensify and refine its activities in the field of artistic research, a field that is now developing in so many respects, via the lecture series Knowing in Performing, the ongoing PEEK projects Rotting Sounds and Creative (Mis)understandings, and preparatory work for the future doctoral programme.

Further informations at the Webpage of Research Support at mdw

Pilot call at mdw magazin

Think Tank – about the foundations of artistic research

In 2018 in three meetings at mdw with experts from mdw and from outside  perspectives of artistic research were discussed, their foundation, contexts, possible or impossible definitions.


Think Tank Artistic Research (documentation, in german)