From Metaphor to Medium: Sonification as Extension of Our Body
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Following Marshal McLuhan’s perspective on media as extensions of man, sonification for the generation of knowledge can be regarded as an extension of our auditory sense toward previously imperceptible properties of our environment. Investigating our own involvement from an ontological perspective allows us to generate conceptual handles for the research, development and use of tools for sonification and the implied extension of our physical body through technology. Based on the nature of our bodies as mediators between the shared exterior and the individual interior, a model of three problematic areas of our extended bodies is presented: the cognitive, the physical and the extended. When we research, design and develop new applications and methods in sonification, we investigate the models and metaphors used in each of these areas, but it is only when we use the developed applications that we actually understand what potentials of perception and exploration we are provided with. It is therefore not sufficient to only build an exterior apparatus: The extended body is each of our own—each researcher and user of sonification develops an individual relationship to all affordances provided.