News 2008

N E W S : R E P O R T S : 2 0 0 8

Fanta launches mobile application only audible to teenagers
posted 05/12/2008

London - Ogilvy Advertising has developed a mobile application for Fanta that is only audible to teenagers.

The application is based on the same technology used to deter teenagers from hanging around outside shops and bus shelters, the Mosquito Teen Repellent, developed by Howard Stapleton.

The application, Fanta Stealth Sound System, uses high-pitched frequencies, only audible to the under 20s.

It includes wolf-whistles, warnings, pssts and sound tags for phrases like "cool", "uncool", and "let's get out of here".  

It will be available via a new Fanta WAP site developed by The Hyperfactory.

Martyn Ware, developed the sound tags, XS2TheWorld developed the application, and creatives Mike Watson and Jon Morgan, and creative partner Alasdair Graham created the campaign.  

Coca-Cola Europe is also launching a second mobile application, Fanta Virtual Tennis, a 3D Augmented Reality tennis game created by The Hyperfactory.

Future of Sound Tour 2009 Launches
De La Warr Pavilion, Bexhill-on-Sea
posted 19/11/2008

Theatre-sized multi-sensory environments, 3D sound, interactive light installations and animated sea beasts are brought together via the cutting edge of audiovisual experiments in the Future of Sound 2009 which launches at the De La Warr Pavilion in Bexhill-on-Sea, Sussex.

Future of Sound is a nationwide tour of immersive performances and creative and participatory presentations by artists, musicians, sound-designers and researchers convened by Martyn Ware founder member of The Human League and Heaven 17 and a leading figure in electronic music.

"The tour has more in common with a Pink Floyd 1960s Roundhouse experience than any sort of narrative show in the way that rock music used to be experienced before it became commercialised," says Future of Sound director, Martyn Ware.

The tour brings recent innovations and discoveries to a mainstream audience for the first time.

For full details visit the Future of Sound website.

This launch event will take place on 22 November 2008, at 7pm.
Tickets are £7.
Booking & Information Call: 01424 229 111

Book online now.

Future of Sound New Event
Threeways SEN School, Bath
posted 20/10/2008

A very special evening Future of Sound performance at Threeways SEN School, Bath for teachers, pupils, stakeholders and potential funders, featuring some of the artists who will be helping to develop content for the Sensory Theatre and demonstrating some of the new techniques that have inspired the ongoing design of the Theatre.

The evening event is by invitation only. The following day the Theatre will be open for demonstrations and discussion with all concerned. Participants in the project are hoping to engage, in particular, with the artistic community and academic institution and research projects to create potential future involvement with the project.

The evening event will take place on 13 November 2008, followed by demonstrations and discussion on 14 November 2008.

Cybersonica Social, V0.5: in 3 Dimensions
The Flea-Pit, 49 Columbia road, London E2 7RG
posted 09/10/2008

Cybersonica Social (formerly known as Çonic Social) relaunches after a summer break and at a new venue - The Flea-Pit - a cafe-bar on Columbia Road right next to the park and a place where art and socialising go hand in hand...

Martyn Ware - Illustrious
Daniel Jones
Fat Butcher

Cybersonica Social creates a slice of Cybersonica for a few brief but enjoyable hours once a month in the friendly, vibey surroundings of the The Flea-Pit – and takes a new approach – themes. Each month investigates a different strand of work associated with Cybersonica with line-ups to suit. We kick off with an exploration into 3D sound and visuals – installing the Illustrious 3D-AudioScape surround system to deliver 'ultra real' three dimensional audio.

'In 3 Dimensions' features a set of 3D music by Martyn Ware of Illustrious; with live visuals by Fat Butcher; a screening of the D-Fuse & Illustrious 2007 FPS – A LONDON CONVERSATION – a commission for the opening of the new BFI building; a range of work from squidsoup including Driftnet – a spatialised musical environment navigated by bird-like flight; Daniel Jones' AtomSwarm – a three dimensional sonic ecosystem; and screenings of works from The Sancho Plan, Tal Rosner and the D-Fuse 'VJ Culture' book DVD. More details on the 10 October line-up and a selection of live mixes from past events can be found at the Cybersonica Social website.

10 October 2008, 7-11pm. Admission £4/£3 concessions.

V&A ThinkTanks the Future Object
Hochhauser Auditorium, Sackler Centre for Arts Education, Victoria and Albert Museum, London
posted 22/08/2008

The V&A invites you to ThinkTank: the Future Object

Debate. Discuss. Disagree. Decide? With no 'right answers' only great ideas, weigh in on the future of museum objects with leading designers and critics.

As design increasingly moves toward the intangible, how should the V&A record and interpret contemporary design? Provocations and interactive sessions by:

Future of Sound
Helen Hamlyn Centre/ innovationRCA
Helen Storey Foundation
Material Beliefs- Goldsmiths

12 September 2008, 7.30pm. Admission is free, but advance booking is essential
Telephone +44 (0)20 7942 2211, or book online.

(re)Actor3 and "This is LIVErpool"
Holiday Inn & Contemporary Urban Centre, Liverpool
posted 22/08/2008

(re)Actor3 is the international forum exploring the emerging field of Digital Live Art (the intersection of Live Art, Computing and Human-Computer Interaction) now in its 3rd year. This year (re)Actor3 is co-locating with one of Europe's largest and longest running HCI conferences – HCI 2008 which is being held in Liverpool UK – host of Europe's 2008 Captial City of Culture events. HCI 2008 is the premier annual conference on human-computer interaction in Europe attracting hundreds of delegates from dozens of countries.

This is the only UK opportunity to reach the top decision-makers in the field. It's where you have to be if you're a leader in usability, user experience, interaction design, the web, wearables, mobile computing... anything where people interact with computers.

Conference Chairs 2008: Tom Lloyd (Dreamtime Film); Nick Bryan-Kinns (Queen Mary University of London); Conference Director: Jennifer G. Sheridan (BigDog Interactive). HCI 2008 Conference Chair David England (Liverpool John Moores University).

3 September 2008
Daytime: 9:30–5:30. Registration £80 – Holiday Inn Liverpool. More info at:
Evening Performances and Installations: "This is LIVErpool" at CUC Liverpool 7-12(midnight). Advance tickets £7 available at

Sponsored by BigDog Interactive, Centre for Digital Music, Dreamtime Film, Liverpool John Moores University, Routledge; Jointly organised by BigDog Interactive Ltd. & HCI 2008

Northern Rocks
posted 07/07/2008

As reported in Building Digest Online 20 June 2008.

Sheffield School of Architecture's centenary celebrations in July will have a distinctly South Yorkshire flavour.

Barnsley bard Ian McMillan will perform with his orchestra, while electro-pop legend Martyn Ware is DJing. One highlight will be an exhibition yearbooks of every first year student since 1965. The display, which amounts to a modern history of architects hairdos, is one of the more unusual shows BD has had the pleasure to preview.

Sonic ID at b.TWEEN : When Sound Art Meets Sound Commerce
posted 06/06/2008

Martyn Ware and Dan Kirby from Sonic ID will be speaking at this year's b.TWEEN conference.

Sound Art // Sound Commerce

Does art exclude commerce? Can what works in the gallery work in-store? Are public installations models for future commercial applications? At b.TWEEN Sonic ID founders Martyn Ware and Dan Kirby will explain how experience gained in the artistic side of sound is helping shape the future of sensory branding, and leading to innovation in the commercial world.

b.TWEEN is a unique cross media gathering where interactive ideas are seeded, shared and sold. It uses technology in innovative ways and radical formats to deliver cutting edge, interactive events with networking and business at their core.

This year's event will be hosted at the Museum of Science & Industry, Manchester 18-20 June. Martyn and Dan will be speaking on 20 June, session time: 14.20-15.10.

Hub comes to life for the first time
posted 06/06/2008

The Centrepiece of Workington's £35 million town centre is set to be unveiled. The Workington Times & Star have posted a video clip.

3D Sound takes off in Workington
posted 05/06/2008

The world's first permanent outdoor 3D Soundfield, The Hub, is being launched on Friday, 6 June, from 12 noon until 2pm.

The Hub sound performance space will incorporate lighting and state of the art 3D sound technology. The canopy, designed by BASE Structures in Bristol, is suspended from the surrounding buildings.

The soundscapes being launched, composed by Illustrious Company and SoundWave, provide an immersive sound experience including elements of recordings made in and around Workington. The sound system can be configured to broadcast any live or recorded sound.

Allerdale Borough Council will be working in partnership with SoundWave as well as local performers and organisations to programme and create new work to be performed in the space in the future.

The Hub is the final and most dramatic in a series of public realm projects in Workington town centre funded by a £2.74 million investment from the Northwest Regional Development Agency (NWDA) and is designed to improve public spaces in Workington. The project has been managed by Allerdale Borough Council.

The Hub is for everyone to use. The design was selected to meet the demands of the public consultation, to provide shelter as well as a new public performance and meeting space.

Peter White, Executive Director of Development at the NWDA, said: "The NWDA has been pleased to support this scheme, which is all about enhancing quality of life for local people and improving visitor numbers, as well as creating an environment that will help to attract further investment in Workington. High quality public areas are vital to the economic development of the Northwest and I am pleased to see the successful conclusion of this unique scheme with the launch of The Hub."

For further information please contact Emma Nichols on 01900 702609 or 07879 626856. Email emma.nichols[at] or visit

Martyn at DMI Conference in Cincinnati
posted 05/06/2008

Martyn will be 'Demystifying Sonic Branding and Identity', along with Sonic ID US partner Noel Franus, at the Design Management Institute's International Brand Design Conference, in Cincinnati USA next week. For more information visit the DMI website.

Martyn's new B&W podcast now live
posted 19/05/2008

Download here .

Martyn interview on Intentional Audio podcast
posted 13/05/2008

Martyn talking about new forms of communication using immersive audio composition (1 of 3). Download here .

Illustrious nominated for award
posted 04/05/2008

As part of a collaboration between Illustrious, New Angle and The Royal Observatory Greenwich, the new Space Galleries have been nominated for an award for Best Use of Technology at the Museums and Heritage Awards.

Illustrious goes transatlantic!
posted 02/05/2008

We are proud to announce the launch of the new Sonic ID.

Sonic ID, a sonic branding and identity firm, has been operating since 2004 as a partnership between DKPM and The Illustrious Company. We have now incorporated it, with operations in the US and the UK, in order to allow us to make the most of this dynamic growing discipline. Key to this has been the introduction of our new business partner, Noel Franus, based in Portland Oregon, on the West Coast of the USA. Noel brings with him an amazing amount of leading experience from working at Sun Microsystems and Elias Arts. He has teamed up with DKPM's Dan Kirby, and Illustrious' Martyn Ware, working with our teams on both sides of the pond. Read more about the leadership team here. We already have our first US contract, more of which at a later date! Hear for yourself at

Illustrious opens new Paris demo facility
posted 21/04/2008

Illustrious have just installed a new 3DAudioScape demo facility in the centre of Paris at Echangeur.

Echangeur is a large multi technology demonstration space allowing clients to experience the latest technologies available for commercial and real locations. Please contact Echangeur directly for any demo requests.

Illustrious visit University of Virginia
posted 20/04/2008

Martyn and Asa will be visiting Bernard Frischer and his Institute for Advanced Technologies in the Arts at the University of Virginia this week, to commence work on providing 3D immersive sound to accompany the astonishing 'Rome Reborn' digital reconstruction of the whole of ancient Rome from 150AD.

Illustrious event with Smartlab in Dublin
posted 02/04/2008

Announcing the World Premiere of DUET for EYES: EyeJamming & EyeBodyWeaving, Live at the Science Gallery: Wednesday 9 April, two shows at 6pm and 8pm.

DUET for EYES: EyeJamming & EyeBodyWeaving is a duet between two severely disabled creative artists, orchestrated via their eyes using unique technical interaction, enabling independent creative expression in real time!

In DUET for EYES James Brosnan and Katie Gilligan lead a team of artists and engineers in a real time music and dance jam, with musical support from KILA using the pioneering MyTobii system: a special computer that is controlled simply by looking at the screen.

The premier features an impressive creative collaboration list, including:
- Colm O'Snodaigh, Dee Armstrong, Martin Brunsden & Eoin O'Brien of Kíla, and Robbie Perry of Dead can Dance who have written and scored new music with and for James & Katie, and have created a range of new musical instruments as well as assistive tech tools with the team for this purpose.
- MyTobii, world leaders in gaze-controlled technology.
- Dr Mick Donegan of SMARTlab, who has developed the eye-gaze controlled communications system for use by people with severe disabilities, and Professor Lizbeth Goodman, Director, who will introduce the project and its aims.
- The SPIRITlevel team - SMARTlab UK, BBC R&D, Kíla, Trinity College, Illustrious - who share their most recent inventions in performance technologies for creative expression.

Spiritlevel is the working title for the gatherings of kindred spirits (scholars, engineers, artists and medical experts) who come together through SMARTlab (based at the University of East London, UK) to invent new technology tools to improve the quality of independent life and creative expression of people with disabilities, and under-served communities worldwide. This show at the Science Gallery follows on from the recent work in progress show titled (Beyond) the 7 Movements of James , and brings that core team of artists and technologists together live with Katie Gilligan (Dublin-based creative spirit: a dancer who also has cerebral palsy) and live interactive dance & music jams.

Illustrious collaboration with Smartlab @ UEL
posted 17/03/2008

Back from Beyond: A Duet for Eyes. . . Eyejamming & Eyebodyweave Live at the Science Gallery, Trinity College, Dublin: Wednesday 9 April, two shows at 6pm and 8pm

This showcase performance brings together the SPIRITlevel team (SMARTlab UK, BBC R&D, KILA, Trinity College, Illustrious et al) to share their most recent inventions in performance technologies for creative expression. The show at the Science Gallery follows on from the recent workshop titled '(Beyond) the 7 Movements of James', and brings that core team of artists and technologists together live with Katie Gilligan (dancer with cerebral palsy) and live interactive dance & music jams by the extended team too!

Utopia Festival
posted 28/02/2008

Diaspora/Magnet - one of the pieces (created with Malcolm Garrett) for the British Pavilion at the last Venice Architectural Biennale - has just been reshown at the Utopia Festival in Sheffield - a celebration of the best audiovisual and digital design to emerge from the creative industries in Sheffield.

AT&T GNOC exhibition centre
posted 28/02/2008

Illustrious have just completed composing a bespoke three dimensional soundscape at the brand new AT&T Global Network Operations command centre in New Jersey. This is a permanent installation.

Illustrious at SGI Coventry
posted 28/02/2008

Illustrious will be installing several 3Dinteractive soundscapes at... Virtual Culture, Heritage and Tourism Technology Workshop 4th March at serious Games Institute, Coventry University in addition Martyn will be giving a lecture regarding real and virtual world applications for three dimensional soundscapes, particularly in relation to virtual worlds, and in particular Second Life.

5D Conference
posted 08/02/2008

5D: The Future of Immersive Design - this international design conference explores the profound impact of converging technologies in narrative media - film, game, animation, interactive, and architecture - for creators and students. This groundbreaking event, presented by the Art Directors Guild and University Art Museum Long Beach. will be held on the Cal State Long Beach campus. Contact Info:

Breathing Trees at Switched On London
posted 01/02/2008

Laurent Louyer, in collaboration with Illustrious, are restaging their popular 'Breathing Trees' outdoor installation at Potter's Field by the Mayor's Office building on the South Bank, as part of the Switched On London Festival. Two 20 metre high trees are illuminated to give the impression of 'breathing with light' - simultaneous the sound of the breathing exhales into the open space and inhale back towards the tree.

Martyn speaks at RDI meeting
posted 01/02/2008

Martyn spoke yesterday at an Extraordinary General Meeting of the Royal Designers for Industry, making a plea for sound design to be recognised by the RDI as a bona-fide design discipline.

Limitations/creativity and recording/performance
posted 22/01/2008

Martyn Ware talks about the early days of The Human League...

'I was involved with The Human League for the period from 1978, when we formed the band from various precursors, until that version of the band split in late 1980; and that whole time was fundamentally about a new form of recording technique. What we were doing evolved from previous approaches of course, but it was the limitations of what was available to us then, compared to today’s technology, that was the key point - and actually made for a more spicy creative environment.

It was about physical limitations as well as the limitations of recording and musical instrument technology. We were in the Devonshire quarter of Sheffield, where there were Little Mesters’ shops that had fallen into disrepair, which you could pick up for rehearsal purposes for almost nothing - like five pounds a week. They were basically ruins, and it kind of appealed to us because all that was needed was a lick of paint, and then you’d got a studio.

Things were so basic for us when we started out that we didn’t have a mixing desk, we didn’t have equalisation, we didn’t even have stereo at that point: we were just bouncing material from track to track on a Revox. But those limitations led us to all kinds of interesting creative solutions – things that we wouldn’t otherwise have stumbled upon. An analogy might be the comparison with an artist like Yves Klein, and the idea of confining yourself to an extremely limited palette: the idea of having a deliberately very limited resource.

I’m doing a new British Electric Foundation (BEF) album, and I’ve decided to do this current one specifically just with two virtual synthesisers, and one drum machine, and voices. And that’s it: it’s like a mad scientist’s experiment, you know, to see what happens when you have such tight limitations. Even that’s cheating, really, because the flexibility and potential of these new virtual synthesisers is incredible: I can have twenty instances of a Moog modular on my laptop, which would have cost me in the region of three or four hundred thousand pounds if I’d have had to go out and actually buy the things. I’ve been through the entire gamut of recording possibilities over the last thirty years or more, from the most meagre resources back at the start, through to eighty-piece orchestras - and although I absolutely love what you can do with those massive resources, I do genuinely believe that if you have a limited palette you end up with something that is more focused and more direct. The Beatles for instance, originally had a limited palette, and their collaboration with George Martin expanded it dramatically.

Now I like their expanded palette stuff, but there’s also something special about the earlier material, when it’s just those specific instruments that they’ve got, and the challenge to do something new with them. It’s something that I feel really passionate about trying to get over, especially to people who are starting out now. If you go to a music college now, how many instruments - virtual instruments, presets - do you have at your disposal? I went to the music department of a college of technology recently where they had a room with thirty workstations in it all equipped with a standard piece of current commercial sequencer/synthesiser software - and there are probably something like five thousand preset instruments or virtual synthesisers there; and that’s before you’ve even started buying anything extra.

Now in lots of ways this is fantastic – so many possibilities, such incredible resources. But the danger is that you get option paralysis: you look at all these banks and banks of possibilities, wonder what on earth they all do, realise that you just don’t have time to find out, and end up sticking to the ones that you already know. And so ironically you can end up narrowing your options - not in a creative way, but just through lack of time and a kind of bewilderment. With the infinitely more limited resources that we had back in the seventies and eighties everything had to be made by hand - totally bespoke sounds for every instrument. So if we wanted a kick drum we had to make it by hand from scratch, like an electronic version of the potter’s wheel. We just had to create everything from the bits and pieces and raw materials of these much more primitive sound-making devices.

Even if you just wanted something simple like a repeated hi-hat pattern, for example, you had to set up the hardware sequencer, turn on the white noise generator, filter it in a particular way, put it through the ring modulator to make it sound a bit electronic. And that gave you a unique sound – whether it was really like a true hi-hat or not. If you want a hi-hat sound now, you can just type ‘hi-hat’ into a search engine, and you’ve got millions of them available in a fraction of a second. But the crucial thing is is that if you download or select a preset, it’s very unlikely that you’re going to come up with anything unexpected, while if you’re designing and making something yourself, it’s almost inevitable that you’ll have some interesting accidents, and get led in directions that you would never have imagined. All this hard and detailed work on the sounds meant that the studio was really our natural habitat, and even before we did our first gig, we realised that we were going to look boring. Something had to be happening on stage, apart from us. So for the first gig, we actually begged, borrowed or stole about six or seven televisions, and just de-tuned them and had them showing visual static.

That was the best that we could do, but in the audience at that first gig was Adrian Wright, and he became our projectionist - probably the first and possibly the only, ever, fully paid-up member of a pop group who didn’t actually play a musical instrument. His job was to create a visual accompaniment, a kind of like early VJ-ing, I suppose - except that it wasn’t responsive live. It was based on slides and carousel projectors, which became more sophisticated over the years, until Adrian had kind of a show control system, so that you could do much more flexible and interesting combinations and overlays. I’m sure that played a definite part in our success, because the whole live act was like a science fiction film: not just because of the technology, but also because the content of the lyrics was strongly influenced by science fiction books. Phil Oakey and I were obsessed with science fiction at that time, and as a result the entire ambience was about as different as you could imagine from a normal rock’n’roll band singing about the usual themes of sex and romance.

We were doing this really geeky stuff, but in a creative way – not geeky in the sense of singing about diodes, not techno geeky. It was rather that the sonic landscape we were working with had a kind of affinity with a certain kind of futuristic narrative, so that a lot of the songs ended up being about that kind of world. The music just seemed to lend itself to that type of subject matter.'

Extract from blog re NMK Xmas lecture
posted 18/01/2008

By John Wilson... 'Finally, Martyn Ware gave a talk. According to the event notes "Martyn is best-known as a seminal 80s pop icon and co-founder of The Human League and Heaven 17. As record producer and artist, he has has contributed to recordings totaling over 50 million sales worldwide. More recently through the Illustrious Company - his recent creative venture with Vince Clarke of Depeche Mode, Yazoo and Erasure - and his current Arts Council supported art project, the Future Of Sound, Martyn has developed a reputation as a convergent media 'Svengali' - working with and and showcasing some of the latest developments in immersive media and emergent technologies." He demonstrated a 3D (2 level) surround sound (4 speakers in a square config, at ground & floor level, 8 speakers in all). He was then able to swing the sound through 3D using a joystick.

The software can move 16 objects in the 3D space simultaneously to create a sensory environment. He terms it sonic sculpting and sonicimaging in a soundfield. The biggest soundfield he's done was a 200m square operated over 48hrs through which a million people passed in Mexico City. Each sound composition was 2hrs long & many used the sounds of Mexico City. So real was the effect people were ducking as imaginery objects passed through the square or turning towards conversations. He does a huge amounts of work with disabled people to help use sound & tech to enable them enjoy new experiences.

They have created a sensory room from scratch in Bath, replacing the traditional sad installations I am only to used to at various institutions I've taken my daughter to. The University of Virginia has recreated Rome from 400AD in 3D that you can wander through at street level inc every building and Martyn is doing the sound track as you wander through, hearing Rome around you. He's worked with Sissel Tolaas who is a smell artist who has digitised 17,500 smells at the molecular level and can reproduce them accurately. In one case she digitised the sweat smell of 6 men from different parts of the World & recreated them in a single place - there were notable differences apparently. Martyn's also working on transmitting 3D sound across the internet so that you could immerse yourself remotely in sounds from around the world within your own home.

In July 2008 he is hoping to do a soundlife of london in Leicester Sq. One astonishing story he dropped in was about ancient Celtic tombs in Ireland where it was discovered they all resonated at 111htz - with the help of Cambridge Uni it was discovered this is the actual frequency which can put you into trance! How on earth ancient civilisations knew this let alone engineered it so precisely into tombs with what we assume are primitative facilities I have no idea. The talk wasn't at all what I expected but was fascinating. Indeed the whole evening was enjoyable as I found myself unexpectedly immersed in a new environment.'