sound/environment: Do you know the sound you make?

Audible temperature

Artist statement

This project originated under the theme of sound/environment. It aims at amplifying the sound we make every day, the sound that we usually overlook. It war inspired by the readings about the numerous sound sources we encounter and sound pollution everyday. In order to concentrate on certain sounds we wanted to hear, we intentionally overlook a lot of other sounds. This project invites you to pay attention to the sound you make everyday.


For this project, originally I thought of capturing the sound we make and amplifying the sound back into space. I thought of using contact microphones to achieve this. However, when experimenting with the contact microphones, I found that they seemed to capture sound of the actual contact or friction not the sound we actually hear.

Therefore, instead of amplification, I thought of taking the project into a quieter space. I used the practice room in the basement of baukbaum and changed the texture of the floor by laying out different materials I can found. When walking on the floor, they would make different sounds.

materials I can find

arranging them...

sound of stepping on rice

rice on napkin

final arrangement

Instead of the using the fluorescent light on the ceiling, I put a small lamp behind the piano in the practice room. This dim light takes out the emphasis on sight but allows the participant to focus more on the aural and tactile sensations of the environment.

If continue to work on it…

If I can continue to work on this, I would like to find some kind of other microphone that could capture the actual sound that we make. Also, it would be nice if I can have enough materials to actually cover the whole floor. I would also like to make the space more interesting to look at as well.


One thought on “sound/environment: Do you know the sound you make?

  1. Hi Yani,

    I actually quite like the direction this project took–the idea of composing a piece of textures to walk through seems like it would be quite satisfying for an audience to perform.

    There is a piece that might be of interest, installed at a museum in San Francisco (I think). I heard about last spring. In the installation, guests are asked to walk across a surface that is set up to make a ton of noise. They are asked to walk as quietly as possible, and they receive a score at the end, so it is competitive. If you were to pursue this, you would need to find some simple prompt like this to instruct people how to walk through the space. (Sadly I am completely drawing a blank on the name of the artist, the installation, and/or where it exists. If you find it, please share it!)

    My main other comment/suggestion is that it doesn’t really feel to me like you’ve taken this to its full potential, for the week/week and a half you had to experiment. Stopping by office hours last week to make a contact microphone or two would have helped you get a head start. Testing out lots of different materials with different folks would have been ideal, as well as videotaping/making an audio recording of the experience. I would have liked to have seen that you tried out a bunch of different set-ups, with different materials, in different locations, so that you could compare the effectiveness. Perhaps having one in a completely empty, completely dark room? Personally, I like the contact mic/texture version better than the straight amplification–but this would have also been a great thing to explore in another test. In any case, think this idea had/has a ton of potential, but that you need to see it through!

    Thanks for sharing, Yani,


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