Installation Concept: Immersed

My recent interests and research has included more references to sound, cymatics, noise, sound art, the perceptions and affects of sound and urban noises. I am brainstorming for ideas to create an installation piece that includes several speakers that individually please elements of urban sound spaces. The objective of the piece would be to:

  • Examine audio perception in order to gain an understanding of how to create effective sound installations that stimulate audio periphery, spatial perception, and cognitive perception
  • Create visual representations and deconstruct sounds found in urban spaces that illustrate our aural environment in order to create aural awareness in our highly visual culture

The evolution of technology and machines has created a society buried in man-made sounds. How is that affecting us? Are our perceptions of sound creating a negative or positive impact on our lives? Synesthesia, or sensory fusion, “in which one type of sensory information leads to involuntary responses from another sensory pathway… [is] brushed aside by many as an unreliable pseudo-science.” (Bailey) Little research has been made on the affects of sound, cymatics, and the visualization of sound. In order to address these questions, Immersed deconstructs and creates a visual representation of the abundance of man-made sounds and illustrates the aural characteristics of urban sound spaces.

The seventy(plus)-speaker installation plays continuous audio files from active urban spaces; construction sites, heavy populated areas, mechanical objects, machines, etc. The listener is transported into each urban space aurally and surrounded by sounds that we generally push aside and categorize as background noise. The speakers isolate each individual sound creating a feeling of being transported into an urban space. Displacing the urban sounds from their natural environment illuminates urban aural landscapes strengthening the listener’s aural senses and requiring a high amount of spatial perception, audible periphery, and cognitive perception.

Immersed highlights sound spaces in urban environments and explores an artistic medium that can effectively illustrate the vast aural landscapes in which we live, which many of us hardly take the time to examine. The wire ‘stems’ which lead from the ground to a sound station illustrates the vast amount of sounds that we are constantly surrounded by but may take little time to notice (see above sketch). The organic quality of the installation illustrates a complex aural entity composed of individual parts where each part has a personality of it’s own that forms the character of the aural space as a whole.

Immersed creates an aural experience in an attempt to draw attention to physiological and physiological affects sounds can create. Frequencies, tone, volume, duration, repiticity, and tonal quality create an array of ‘personalities’ that I illustrate by placing these sounds in individual speakers. Immersed explores the use of sound as a source of artistic and visual inspiration and asks that we take notice of the uniqueness of our aural landscape and encourages the viewer to be more aware of their sound environment.

How this piece will be executed is still an issue. Artist Robin Minard is able to control up to 300 piezo disks with a 6 output device in his installation pieces. I am looking to see how I can control each speaker individually so I can play individual elements through individual speakers. Or at least 10+ speakers individually. I’m considering using Max/MSP to set up an interface to do this… but I’m open to any ideas or personal experience using multiple output devices.

I am also concerned with how closely it resembles Robin Minard’s work. I have only just recently discovered his amazing work after I made this sketch and many others that are quite similar. My installation piece would include larger speakers, fluid motion in the ‘stems’ of the speakers, plus having an immersive experience aurally and visually.

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2 thoughts on “Installation Concept: Immersed

  1. Pingback: Steve’s Super Surround Sound Space | Ictoane

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