Self-Initiated Project – Work in Progress

Open Ear Installations

After spending my dissertation discussing the notion of silence, I felt excited to take this topic into a practical realm. However, as I was exploring silence as a concept rather than a reality and since one of the integral points of my dissertation was that silence is impossible to achieve on this earth, I decided to focus my project on the perceptions ‘quiet and noise’ instead.

Design Proposal:

Open Ear Installations are based in various places throughout the city. They make it possible to focus on listening to our environments, rather than just look. Each installation amplifies the sounds around itself but quiets the visual distractions. In this way each visitor can discover an aspect of their city’s character they may have overlooked in the past.

Anthropophony is any noise made by people, directly or indirectly. It has many negative connotations for plenty of reasons, but because we live in a primarily visual culture there is not much action taken against problems of noise. A first move towards a changed sonic landscape is recognising the need to listen and appreciate the sounds around us and to find the value in them. Hence, my project encourages active listening and rediscovering the lost beauty of noise.

In order to understand this topic, I asked participants of my field research to ‘collect’ moments of noise and quiet and to visually record them. In the group discussions afterward, the most interesting discovery was that most of my participants said they enjoyed the opportunity to focus more on the sounds around them.

In this concept creation sketch I was exploring the connection between senses by translating noise into a visual installation. However, because this would reinforce the visual culture, I decided to maximise the attention to sound instead and minimise the attention to visuals.

The intended impact of this project is for users to grow an appreciation of noise, to listen more intentionally and to find joy in the mundanity and novelty of soundscapes likewise. I aim to challenge visual culture and inspire growth in auditory culture of everyday noise. As a result, I hope to enable necessary actions being taken to protect sonic landscapes and their audiences – us.

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