Bernhard Leitner’s Soundcube, 1969 – The Art of Seeing Sound And Hearing With Your Whole Body

Your head becomes an architectural space when you enter the Soundcube

In 1969 Bernhard Leitner (born 1938) created his Soundcube, an experiment into how sound moves in a defined space and its effects on the human body within it. The Soundcube, a “sound-space object”, is a room of 64 loudspeakers in which the sound becomes a form of architecture. For Leitner, sound is a plastic, sculptural medium.

“All works are sound space instruments,” he says. “Each of them stipulates certain movements of sound, a certain way of defining space.”


Bernhard Leitner’s Soundcube, 1969


In the Soundcube, sounds are made to travel from one side to another, circling, spiralling, changing in pitch, tone, volume and direction. Stood inside the shape, sounds are felt by the entire body. Leitner calls them “corporeal” sounds, leading him to say after experiencing the effects of his research on his own body: “I can hear with my knee better than with my calves.” The ear’s membrane drum, hammer, anvil and stirrup are not the only instruments we have for making sound waves real.

So your entire body hears in what the artist calls a “new type of acoustic-haptic space”. And your presence in the cube affects the way the sound moves. You can’t touch it. But you can feel it. And your mind begins to imagine lines and contours of sound. The art takes place within your body, inside your head. And then you begin to see it.



“I treat it like plaster or treat it like wood. Sounds can really be molded and formed and worked upon,”

– Bernhard Leitner


Bernhard Leitner’s Soundcube, 1969


“Movements of sound as tool to create and to characterize the space. The soundcube allows one to achieve this. 64 loundspeakers on each of the sides of the xxxxx soundcube. The sound is programmed to travel from loudspeaker to loudspeaker.”

– Bernhard Leitner, via Michael Dumiak


Bernhard Leitner’s Soundcube, 1969

Bernhard Leitner’s Soundcube, 1969
Bernhard Leitner’s Soundcube, 1969


In this video, Bernhard Leitner talks about his work:



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