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Andrea Cera

(1969, Vicenza) is an Italian sound designer and composer. He received a classical music training (piano and composition) from Padova’s Conservatorio, and a formation in computer music from IRCAM-Centre Pompidou in Paris (Cursus Annuel 1997/1998). Since 1998 he has created over 40 soundtracks for contemporary dance and theatre works. He collaborated with IRCAM, MotionComposer, Phonotonic, Casa Paganini-InfoMus in research projects about cross-modality and human movement sonification. In the 2010s he began a collaboration with IRCAM and Renault, for the design of external electric cars’ sounds, from Renault Zoé to the collection E-Tech 2022. Between 2020 and 2022 he collaborated with Taiwanese collective Luxury Logico for “The Insomnia Sketchbook” a robotic installation in an immersive sound space.

Artist Statement

Since my involvement in the automotive industry as a sound designer (from 2010, with the work for Renault Zoé’s external sound signature), I have been interested in one of the problems investigated by ReSilence: the degradation of urban soundscapes, considered from the perspective of understanding and analyzing it, in order to produce new sounds without further damaging the sonic background of cities. Zoé’s sound was designed trying to find an acoustic niche of the urban soundscape in which a new timbre could be added without competing with other sounds. Since then, the urban soundscape has already started to change for the better, but we are far from reversing the negative effects of intrusive sounds in everyday life. 

As a “pure” audio artist, from the beginning of my career I have been interested in some of the fields of research investigated by ReSilence’s partners: relations between body movement, emotional states and sound; the importance of background sound to “nudge” users towards a certain movement quality; distracted modes of listening as the state of being of urban life; ambient and background music.  I consider the ReSilence project an exceptional opportunity to sum up the knowledge I gathered during the last 10+ years as a sound designer, and to imagine new ways of using sound in experiences which go beyond what is commonly intended as music, sound art, or sound design.

Project : Moving Soundscapes

Our project will deploy creative, non-orthodox sound design techniques to explore new counter-measures to soundscape intrusiveness and annoyance. 
To measure the efficacy of our prototypes, we will analyze their influence on human movement. 
The best designs will inhabit a sensitive space, where visitors’ bodies modulate the degradation/healing of a virtual urban soundscape.

Andrea Cera works

Schemes from a short paper I wrote in 2009, outlining strategies to create hybrids between real-time soundscape imitation and elevator music.
[Cera, Andrea. “Music that Listens to What’s Going to Happen: Internet Enhanced, Self-Adapting soundscapes.” ICMC (2009)]
Screenshots from a short movie produced by Le Fresnoy (D.P. Yannig Willmann), in which it is possible to see my installation “Reactive
Ambient Music” (2005), a reactive system which creates background music in response to other sounds coming from the exhibition in
which it is presented.
Pictures from my installation “Nature”, presented in 2006 at the Festival Milano Musica. This system uses a vocal sound database to imitate
the soundscape coming from the exterior of the exhibition space (in this case, the Milano Triennale garden).
Between 2019 and 2021 I produced a series of smartphone sounds inspired by low-intrusiveness sound design guidelines. I created three
types of sounds : ringtones, notifications, and wake-up alerts – all sounds aim to minimize the user’s informational and attentional load,
while still conveying the necessary information.