Sound of the Earth: Chapter 2 is a new installation which aims to demonstrate how sound can connect and educate people in unexpected and extraordinary ways. As part of ‘Speechless’, a collection of commissions playing on the human senses, I wanted to communicate the ideas of local and global community through sound, in place of more conventionally-employed visual stimuli. The installation is designed to challenge how we experience foreign cultures by introducing distinct localities to audiences through the medium of sound.
The installation consists of a dark, globe-like sphere positioned in a soundproofed room. Depending on where the observer places their ear to the sphere they will encounter a range of sounds, all of which have been crowdsourced from people all over the world, providing a moment’s window into their lives. The juxtaposition between the monolithic sphere and the textural riches found upon contact can evoke within us new and refreshing perceptions of these many locations across our beautiful and diverse planet.
I envisioned the idea of a dark, smooth sphere as a perfect way to subvert the senses and engage with the themes explored by the wider project of Speechless. Although we live in a world more interconnected than ever before, how we experience it is often reliant upon the visual, either alone or combined with sound in some other form of content. This project is the result of a desire to present a primarily auditory portrait of the world.
While the primary sense that we engaged with in the installation is hearing, the project has been constructed to deliver a holistic experience. As the sounds emanating from within the segments of the sphere are vibrations in transmission, those of us who are hard of hearing may also enjoy the tactile dimensions of the work by placing a hand on or otherwise feeling it.
Another dimension to SOTE:C2 is our dependence on the many people who have contributed sound clips for playback. Through active participation in the creative process, the lines between audience and contributor blur, and they both become creators of this piece.