With the end of Project One, it’s time for another journey!
In Project Two, we were tasked to create a sound artwork that can be paired with an object. Basically, it is to make the object interactive such that it must be able to communicate something.
Before I began to work on this project, I went on a little research.
What is sound? What is sound art all about?
Sound is not a substance nor a mass. It is something that constantly pour into our ears without us noticing. This brings us to recognize the terms “hearing” and “listening”. Sound is literally everywhere, but only people who
listen can be engaged with the sound. When the sound is being listened, we are conscious about its details such as the volume, pitch, speed etc, which brings about a whole new meaning.
Sound art, on the other hand, is a type of experimental music. For instance, putting together unconventional sounds to articulate the characteristic of a place, object.
John Cage, an American music composer, successfully moved beyond the confined of conventional musical structures. One of his masterpiece is 4’33” (four minutes thirty three seconds) where the performer stayed silent throughout but there is plenty of white noise involved – the audiences in this case has become the “performers” instead. This is because all the movements from the audiences can be heard while the stage is in complete silent. Through this piece of sound, John Cage has completely changed the roles of performer and listener.
Some of the sound installations which I find interesting are as below:
Artist: Kiwan Sung
Title: Sonic Jar
The objects used here are Korean traditional jars, known as Hangari. As Hangari is believed to be closely related to the lives of Korean women, the artist recorded 5 women talking about their pregnancy stories and childbirth. The players were then put into the jars. I love that how the artist uses symbolism to depict the idea of women. Something small is loaded with significance – using merely jars to represent Korean women.
Artist: Jacqueline Rommerts, Fedde ten Berge, Malu Peeters and Marloes van Son
Title: Sound Boards
This installation uses porcelain plates to function as instrument. The plates will produce sounds when they are hit by drumsticks. The sound of the porcelain is picked up by four electret microphones that are mounted under the plates in the box. When the plates are hit by a performer different sound modules will then become active in a random order. I like how aesthetically pleasing the porcelain plates are when they are arranged in such manner. It is a piece of art itself on the wall. However, there is an extra layer of meaning when they are combined with sound.
Artist: Don Ritter
Visitors are required to enter into a dark space where they will encounter the sounds of four or eight lanes of car traffic rushing across them. A dimly lit exit sign is found on the other side of the room such that the viewers need to venture across the dark room in order to exit. While passing through the speakers, visitors can hear loud screeching sounds of cars coming to a halt, accelerating cars or the sound of cars smashing. It taps on people’s fear (the overwhelmed feeling in a dark space, anxiety, lost, tension), while the visitors themselves are active participants in this installation, and I hope to achieve that in Project Two!
From these three examples,
I thought of sending out google forms to people to ask about their personal insecurities/fears, something that haunts them in the past or are still experiencing to date. From the data collected, I could do a voiceover. Apart from that, I can try interview people and record their stories.
The objects that I plan to work with are mirrors, such that when a person passed by the mirror, the mirror will start to play the conversations recorded beforehand. Mirrors are chosen because it is the most intimate way of looking at one self. Looking at the person inside the mirror can be a challenge for some people. It makes people confront their insecurities be it body image or their own characters. It is believed that people who look at themselves long enough will experience a kind of visual illusion. For example, they might find that they don’t really recognize themselves after staring at their own reflection for a certain amount of time.
The purpose of this installation is to make people feel that they are not alone and that many people out there are facing the same kind of fears and insecurities.