Signal Strength

Sound Escapes -
The Nature of Sound

From July 25 to August 15, 2009, the Sound Escapes exhibition examines the nature of sound at the Space studio in Hackney, London, UK. It represents the meeting of minds from artists, acousticians, engineers and social scientists.

From the promoters:

Sound Escapes examines the very nature of sound. Why is one person's disturbing noise another's intriguing sonic landscape? In what ways are our emotions affected by sound? Are plants affected by music? Can you hear a photograph? Do ears make their own sounds? Does the microphone never lie? These are just some questions explored by the works on show.

The exhibition marks the culmination of an extensive interdisciplinary research project that has coupled artists with acousticians, engineers, and social scientists across the UK to explore how we can move beyond negative noise towards the idea of positive soundscapes. Posters illustrating the findings of this research - scans of the brain, measurements of the heart and the lungs, maps of city sound-walks and representations of the choices people make when thinking and talking about sound - are also hung on the gallery walls.

As one example, Peter Cusack's Soundscape Sequencer allows visitors to mix surround sound into their own sonic panorama based on field recordings from different cities around the world.

Sound Escapes features works by Peter Cusack, Simon Elvins, Fédération Internationale des Chasseurs de Sons, Nikolaus Gansterer, Stephen Gill, Dan Holdsworth, Jacob Kirkegaard, Camille Norment, Dawn Scarfe, Thomson & Craighead. It's curated by Angus Carlyle and Irene Revell and produced by Electra.

Sound Escapes is an exhibition that marks the end of the Positive Soundscapes Project funded by The Engineering And Physical Science Research Council (EPSRC). Alongside a public interpretation of the central research strands of the project, the exhibition also includes new and existing artwork by artists who, whilst not involved in the research project directly, work with soundscapes across a wide range of practices and whose work is in conversation with the scientific and sociological questions posed in the research.

The research itself breaks down into six interrelated but distinct strands, each with their own disciplinary area and research methodology:

1. Psychoacoustics: fMRI scanning of the brain's responses to auditory stimuli (University of Manchester and University of Nottingham).
2. Physiological Acoustics: Measuring changes to heart, respiratory rate and galvanic skin response during exposure to auditory stimuli (Manchester Metropolitan University).
3. Sociology: Soundwalking and focus group research to explode attitudes to sounds in two cities (University of Salford).
4. Perceptual Acoustics: Using laboratory listening to rate and rank peoples' preferences for sound quality (University of Warwick).
5. Artistic Research: Using a variety of creative approaches to make the soundscape visible, legible and (most importantly) audible (University of the Arts London).
6. Environmental Acoustics: Extending speech intelligibility research as a tool for sound-mapping (University of Salford and University of Manchester).


Date: 07/12/2009


Share with others...


RSS  Make the news come to you: get our regular RSS Newsfeed. (Tell me more)

Got a story? Something you want to tell the world? Tell us about it...