Potentiality of Sound in Matter

“All bodies, not merely “human” bodies, come to matter through the world’s iterative intra-activity; its performativity. This is true not only of the surface or contours of the body but also of the body in the fullness of its physicality, including the very “atoms” of its being. Bodies are not objects with inherent boundaries and properties; they are material-discursive phenomena. “Human” bodies are not inherently different from “non-human” ones. “

 quote from 'Meeting the Universe Halfway' by Karen Barad

 

‘Investigating through making’ is at the core of the course 'Potentiality of Sound in Matter', that is produced and guided by Channa Boon and Elena Khurtova, for all departments of the Royal Academy in The Hague.

 

Works of students of the various departments of the Royal Academy of Fine Art in The Hague have been investigating questions like: how does colour sound? What does my room has to say? How do intimacy and friction sound? What is the sound of darkness? How to communicate with a thinking forest?

Sources of inspiration are the New Materialist philosophy (Donna Haraway, Karen Barad, Ursula Le Guin)

Students:

(click names for location of works)

 

Iona Fulton - Fine Art

Justin Grooten - Photography

Tugay (Adem) Kader - Fine Art

Minji Kim - Art Science

Jeroen Meijer - IMD

Wies Mobach - IMD

Anne-Florence Neveu - Art Science

Niya Tsenkova - Fine Art

Daniel Walton - Photography

Robin Walvisch - Photography

Yanbing Wu - Fine Art

Farah Rahman - Art Science

Jeremi Biziuk - Fine Art

Passage is a culmination of past and present experience. It draws on the after effects of a burnout, and is developed with newly acquired tecnhiques of sound and light. It portrays a message about depression which in modern times is hard to communicate.

It's important to mention that in our society talking about depression is hard for a variety of reasons: words can not fully express the scope of the actual experience, not to mention that the subject has become stigmatized, but most of all those who have not experienced this the state of "colorlessness" find it difficult to relate.

With this sonic and luminous installation I invite people into a passage from birth to adulthood. Experiencing the stages, from naïve to knowing, from ignorance to wisdom and from devastation to transcendance.

Passing through this journey I aim to show people the universal experience of the cognitive dissonance  experienced when our beliefs turn out to be untrue.  When our old worldview is replaced by the next. And when we have to let a part of ourselves go, resulting in an allegorical death.

Obscure Objects Ensemble is a long-term research

project of mine, the goal of which is to create a new

space and way of working towards an in-depth, more

open and universal way of approaching and understanding

sound, noise, music and all the different aspects of

institutionalisation, distribution an accessibility of said

phenomenons. It is a space for endless experimentation,

acceptable of any result and open for any expectation. 


All the works of the Obscure Objects Ensemble share

one aspect, namely they are distributed first and foremost

via the contemporary streaming services for music, such as

SPOTIFY. The form of later distribution, public performing,

physical release or any other manifestation of their later

lives is dependant on each work and its circumstances.


Empty Spaces is a performative experiment that has

taken place in an abandoned attic of a space inside one

of the buildings standing in the centre of The Hague.

A part of the city usually crowded with people, but at

the time of the recording almost entirely deserted due

to the current circumstances.


 

cover

 

 

The choice of the space was just an excuse for experimentation with the

musical qualities of a deserted, residential space. The only qualities of

the space which were essential to me were that it was unoccupied by

humans, not only temporarily but for a longer period of time, and that

it was empty in a sense that it lacked any conventional furniture, tools,

objects or instruments which on their own hold their own potential and

value for sound.

 

 

a1  a2  a3

 

 

The process consisted of choosing a location with enough space, yet which

is unoccupied and lacking in any objects or instruments of any utilitarian

value. The next step was placing a set of various microphones inside the

space so that they could capture any interaction with the room itself.

Lastly, I begun a meditative experimentation, where I was slowly explored

the qualities, sounds and ways of activating the space as to make it sing.

 

 

b1  b2  b3

 

 

Each new discovery of a new possibility led me to another, and what came

out of this performance is a collection of sounds and noises shifting from one

point of interest to another after having spent enough time to get familiar with

them.

 

 

c1  c2  c3

 

 

I tried to not spend too much time on one specific area as to not get too

comfortable with it. The most interesting part was the exploration of

possibilities this one, static room provided without any adjustments or

augumentation. The sound is pure, in that it comes from a concrete,

untouched

source.

 

The outcome of this experiment can, as per usual, be experienced online via

Spotify, where other recordings from the same project can be found.


Documentation, description and explaination of other projects from the

esnemble can be found on my website.



Here are some other examples:

Passage

                         by

                                     Jeroen Meijer

Listen to the Full Soundtrack

Listen to the Full Soundtrack here

In order to best experience the works, we encourage you to first focus your attention on the listening scores called Threshold to experience. This is best done by setting time when you know you will not be interrupted. 

 

Then, you can listen to the sound piece called Nearness without distance. This piece is meant to be listening to with a pair of headphones or on your personal stereo sound system. Please do not listen to this piece from your computer’s sound output or any other monophonic source as this will erase a lot of the details within the piece.


Nearness without distance, sound composition (2020)

Sonic topography of the near

                   by anne••flo

Perceptive Atmospheric De-Re-Composition

By Minji Kim

Click to PDF file

In the room N1, N2
by Yanbing Wu

This project is an exploration of the sonic entities which are the closest to us, immediate and overlooked. We are used to objects standing still and silent, denying them the sonic vitality which comes from intimacy and friction. In their tactile encounter with each other, they invite us on the threshold of their own dimension where temporary and fluctuating spatio-sonic coalitions define a territory that is both familiar and out of reach.

                                     

 

 

by Iona Fulton

I wanted to work with electronic sound production. I was interested by the theory that the smallest matter in the universe known to man is proven to be a form of sound energy and not something ‘solid’ how we interpret objects. We see all these tiny ‘sounds’ zoomed out as firm objects, without space in-between. In fact everything we know as solid, is actually formed of many hollow spaces contained by sound.
I was interested by the fact that when you speed up an audio file containing 24 hours of information, that you still receive all of this information however as a ‘solid object’ without space in between. The sound is actually not a solid whole and is made of many small pieces of audible information with hollow space in between.
So before quarantine I had the idea to speed up recordings of my life (that were originally 24 hour time frame) into samples of just a few seconds. I would then like to put these samples into an electronic musical soundscape. There would be hidden information within the solid that was not consciously perceived.

I made an initial experiment before making my own 24 hour recording.
I tried first to speed up some clips of an hour or two and discovered that speeding up an audio clip past a certain level made the pitch so high that it was inaudible. This was interesting as they information was there but hidden.
However this was too hidden. For my idea I wanted to information to be observable yet indecipherable.

I had been interested and upset by finding out that on the 1st December 2014 a legislation was passed to ban female ejaculation for being shown in the UK in porn.
I decided to incorporate this into my idea. Seeing as I could not contain 24hours of information as an audible sample of a few seconds. I took an interview about the subject I found on YouTube entitled ‘Porn discussion - Face-sitting, consensual physical abuse & female ejaculation (C4 News, 12.12.14)’ and sped it up that it lasted just 24 seconds. Original link below:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BTMQQWNo6Ek&t=184s
I then tried to convey the feelings I had on the subject using other electronic instruments and synthesisers on Logic Pro audio editing software. I chose wet sounds that I perceived to be uncomfortable and dark to show my feeling on the matter.
I took this to Channa and Elena and the class for feedback. It was discussed that without prior explanation about the inclusion of the interview this information was not received. This was of course my idea that the facts would be present but not consciously understandable. It was discussed that maybe a video or a title could help the viewer reach my desired understanding.
I decided that a video or visual description could have been interesting and yet putting too much time into this would distract from my original goal to work with sound alone. I decided to simply give this work a title to add to the knowing observers understanding.
I entitled the work: “Inaudible Pussy Juice”
I believe this work now was at a place I intended. The title gives context.
Just because female ejaculation is not show does not mean it is not in existence.
Just because the information of the interview is not audible in the work, does not mean the legislation is not there, and only the dark uncomfortable sound of inequality remains.

Click on the page below to access the listening scores.

Threshold to experience, listening scores/prompts (2020)

I moved on.
From this experiment it was clear to me I wanted to work more generally on how I am able to expresses emotions and translate a feeling into sound.
I know everybody is in the same situation however we are all alone in the same situation currently. With Covid-9 I have been experiencing a big change in energy and flow of work. I lay in the garden and all the pleasant sounds are there. The birds are singing and the cars pass by. A child screams with joy in a nearby garden and a chicken distressed ‘Ka-Kors.’
I decided to translate these intermittent sounds into the feeling I had within, a feeling quite different from how I would normally when lying in the grass on a Sunday afternoon in the sun.
I made an electronic piece by reconstructing some of the usual garden sounds with electronic synthesisers. I distorted them, played with them, and moved them into a tone that fitted this different vibe I was experiencing within myself despite witnessing all the usual sounds of the city suburbs.
I entitled this work: “Covid-Garden Interpretations.”

Laying in bed the next Sunday, sun flowing in my window, I was hearing the same sounds drift in from the outside. In my tiny room I now do everything. I work, I eat, I play, I sleep. Since the quarantine began our lives have been stripped down. Those ‘clothes’ we normally wear on our personality; where we go, what we do, where we work, where we eat, where we play; a lot of them have been stripped from us. And we repeat the same movements, in the same singular environment everyday. 

I decided to create a video to accompany the corona feelings of “Covid-Garden Interpretations” that showed this stripped down, repetitive and constricted routine a lot of us are now trapped within.
I filmed my self with a static angle, I stripped down and painted a dark shape mask over my face to add to the stripped down anonymous identity I feel I’m currently residing in.
When editing I tried to repeat certain movements. I added dreamy and unreal filters to add to the feeling of living within a visceral time of my life that will soon, I’m sure, seem like it was just a dream.
I entitled this work: “Covid-Room Re-interpretation.”

How to communicate with a thinking forest?
by Farah Rahman

Fluid colors
by Niya Tsenkova

Sound of Us

by Tugay Adem Kader

As its subject, the whole process of this project has been very fluid. Initially it started as an idea to find a way to “hear colour” originating from an archive of images of wet paint I have been collecting. I experimented with Photosounder (Every sound you've ever heard can be represented as an image and all possible sounds can be made from an image. Only Photosounder allows you to transform any sound as an image and to create any possible sound from an image.)1, but the results were not enough for me. I didn’t have control over the creation of sound, it was too flat, mechanical and scientific for my idea. Intuitively roaming around led to another aspect of this work, exploring different ways to represent this idea. I started with printing an image on fabric using sublimation printing technique. The image I chose had formal qualities similar to the ones sound has, such as: wavelength, amplitude, time, frequency and speed of wave. This is how the piece of fabric became the visualisation of sound. A next step was adding another layer to the whole idea and creating a suitable sound that’s a translation of wet paint... dripping...leaking...dropping...floating...flying...being...staying...swimming...diving... expanding...mixing...submerging.

All this led me to the conclusion that “Hearing colour” should convert to “The sound of fluidity”. During this part of the project, I was exploring different situations in nature, that will support its structure instead of just representing it. Fluidity in its core is contrasting. Its definition lies upon its ability to transform, change, flow, take the shape of its container. In this chain of thoughts the fluid fabric went on a journey. Its body has undergone a process where it engaged with its surroundings, took their shape and got influenced by the forces of wind and water.

After all those phases and experiments, my research led me to sculpting on organic shape out of clay embodying this process, and spray painting it silver, creating a reflective surface.
As a final work I made an installation with the title “Fluid colours” consisting of three components: the fabric, the sculpture and their sound. All this is documented in a video shot on a rooftop, where the sunlight plays with the reflections, creating a truly fluid sensation.


 

1 “Photosounder.com - Image-Sound Editor & Synthesizer.” Photosounder.com - Image-Sound Editor & Synthesizer, photosounder.com/.


reORGANisation
by Wies Mobach

sound piece

duration 1:08 min

Silence, some say, is golden. This although, is merely a figure of speech. Silence – the absence of sound – is black. 

 

Most of the time we don’t even realize how much sound we hear every minute of the day. This leads us to my main question: how many sounds do we detect instantly? This is an issue that may be loaded, as it depends. In a room full of people, we are hearing all of their voices. They might come together into one big cloud of sound, but we hear them all at once. Psychoacoustics, however, is about understanding what sounds trigger thought and recognition, and how our brain responds to the world around us.

 

My project is about re-imagining and reconnecting with sound as its own physical and psychological thing, not merely - as it nowadays might seem like - a carrier for music. See it as a home experience, based on intentional and purposeful listening. A listening you can test at home, in complete pitch-black darkness. The introduction “A high and beautiful wave” is a passage written by Hunter S. Thompson serves as a reference towards the intensified senses. 

 

White, in optics, is the color that includes all colors. From this, the expression “white noise” came into existence. Which are all audible frequencies in a single set of sounds. In this experience we filter through white noise, slowly removing wider ranges of higher and lower frequencies, we eventually reach the sine tone. This is a single audible frequency, also known as a “pure tone” or “simple tone.” When we filter out this tone too, we have silence, total aural darkness. Search for silence throughout your floor noises at home, eventually, you’ll reach your own sine tone. And hopefully a silent experience.

Aural Darkness
by Justin Grooten

Aural Darkness
by Justin Grooten