“You hear absolutely nothing and see little.”
What are the limits of listening—physically, sociologically, economically and acoustically—in present society? This work looks at interactions between sound, sculpture and architecture, to develop new approaches to listening. What kind of form can represent sounds—the interaction of waves—without using the classical artistic stereotypes of abstraction? These seem redundant: the way we understand sound is abstract anyway.
Most of our sounds and noises come from the tool that we call the loudspeaker. The classical moving coil loudspeaker we use today was patented in the United States in 1925 by two engineers after whom it is named the Rice and Kellogg loudspeaker. Although most of our communication devices have been changed and adjusted to more recent technologies, this tool has yet to be superseded.
The loudspeaker is at the center of my thinking. I have designed several loudspeakers that are inherently mute: they only evoke sound visually. The membrane of the loudspeakers are made of melted plate glass and the support for the membrane— or so called “basket piece”—was made through the 3D design process. The 3D mesh of each basket was altered by a 3D effector tool that creates disturbances similar to a wave on the surface of the mesh. The meshes of these baskets were printed and assembled with the glass membranes.
Superposition of Waves
The second part of the project is a large cylindrical object called the ‘solid of revolution’ which was embedded into the wall of the exhibition space. In mathematics, a ‘solid of revolution’ is a three-dimensional form created from a silhouette by rotating it 360 degrees around an axis. Similarly, in the practice of architectural mold making, a prefabricated profile tool is used to create a ‘solid of revolution’ by rotating the profile and continuously adding layers of plaster to the base of the mold. In this instance, the silhouette was created from the profile of two superimposed sinus waves and the rotation of the tool added some irregularities like grooves to the form. Sinus waves are the most basic elements of any soundscape. Sinus waves dominate our everyday soundscape, therefore the understanding of their interaction with each other is essential to our perception.
Modes of listening
According to Pierre Schaeffer (1910 – 1995), French composer and the inventor of musique concrète, we can mainly distinguish between three modes of listening when we are listening to sounds with unseen sources. First is pure listening, when we are listening to an effect of any sound. Second, is the variation in listening when we are listening to natural and pre-recorded sounds by using sound reproduction devices, i.e., loudspeakers. Third, is variations in signal and it proposes that we are listening to pre-recorded and modified sounds. In Schaeffer’s explanation, during this last method the receiver is listening to prerecorded sounds that are modulated on an analog, or now digital, audio device, or they are digitally produced and modified signals that try to mimic natural sound. With the third mode we added an infinite variation of signals to our perception.
In this work, I aimed to create an Environment where all three modes of listening are present in the form of sculpture and architecture. Pure sounds are present in the form of the wall with the super-positioned sine waves. The loudspeaker is reminiscent of sound reproduction and, by default, is there to offer the variations of listening. The third, when the sound is artificial and modified in the same time, is present in the basket of the loudspeaker, which was modified digitally and given presence as an object through fused filament printing.
installation @ Kunst Im Tunnel
images by Ivo Faber, 2020