Day 31 – The Silent Sound Installation

I would like to create a silent sound installation. There would be no audible sound making objects within the installation space, only things that suggested sound.

In part of the space would be a drum kit which would have lights fitted within each drum and under each cymbal. These lights would flicker in a rhythmic fashion so that if married with the sound of the corresponding drum part a full drum beat would be heard.

Other parts of the installation would show video footage of various pleasant or unpleasant sounds being made. These might include nails scratching down a blackboard, someone stamping on bubble wrap, eggs being cracked, balloons popping etc.

There may also be boxes of sound-proof glass within which sound making objects would be in action yet inaudible to the public (e.g. a large gong being hit).

Printed on the walls of the space would be text that would purposely try to make the audience think/imagine various sounds. Possible quotes would be, ‘Can you hear a cat meowing somewhere?’, ‘Have you noticed there’s a very low bass hum in this room?’, ‘The air conditioning is loud in here isn’t it?’.

By making this installation I would like to see if it were possible to aurally overwhelm people only with suggested sounds not actual sounds. Would people walk out of the space having been in there for a while with a similar sense of relief to that experienced when an annoying repetitive sound stops? Or would it feel like when you’ve been in a very noisy room and the contrasting quietness you get from leaving the space provides your ears with a sense of relaxation?

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