Three readings and site-specific project- Ruby

For this final project, I wish to make a sound installation inside my own fridge. As a woman in the contemporary society, I can feel that our body shapes are constantly being judged by others and, moreover, ourselves. Being “skinnier” and “fitter” is always advocated through all possible media.




Before creating a sound installation, the idea of sound and listening needs to be investigated. In Brandon LaBelle’s article, sound installation artist Neuhaus’ works are being examined. Neuhaus thinks of sound art as a dialogue where it is “a process of people making sound together, listening to it, and adjusting what they did according to what was going on”. Thus, the interaction of the viewers and sound installation is very meaningful. LaBelle further quoted Roland Barthes on listening where “hearing is a physiological condition whereas listening is a psychological act”. A sound art installation, then, has the purpose to get people to listen and not just hear. Inclusive listening, defined by LaBelle, is listening that follows events through a sonorous unfolding, and this in turns relates to time. Neuhaus’ projects dealt with inclusive listening and also the environment or spatiality. For Neuhaus, sound acts as a “flue binding duration to spatiality”, engaging both time and space simultaneously to create an experience. For example, the Siren Project in 1978 highly deals with the social and the political; he engages the urban environment, or the ideas Maria Audeuza talked about in her article Site-Specific Sound Installations in the Urban Environment.


In Maria Audeuza’s article, the experience of individual in the environment is key site-specific sound arts, for “sound is a phenomenon that blends the physical and the mental; sound is above all immersion, a phenomenon of experience”. Audeuza argues that sound has the capability to creates a closer relationship between the urban space and the subjects/citizens. The individuals that interact with the urban landscape and its sounds have an active role in configuration the environment. Although my sound installation is not the urban landscape, I find it very interesting when author mentions Kevin Lynch’s study- The Image of the City. Lynch’s philosophies include studies of citizens’ responses to the urban space and the elements and conditions in the cityscape that trigger these responses. The way Lynch combined his research is intriguing in that he combined the visual patterns or the cityscapes to the mental images of these architectural representations of citizen’s experience. He moreover argues that because of the temporal quality of the urban city, where citizens are constantly moving and changing, it is appropriate to incorporate sound and the sonorous in the city; he termed it the “melodic” structure (93). Through interaction with context of city, sound installations develop an idea of democratization of the space, were citizens have the opportunity to become aware of their context and create personal relationship, increasing citizen engagement.


The last article I read on the journal of Sonic Studies, “Modeling the Shopping Soundscape” is my favorite in that it defines a lot of sound terms but also it is relevant to what I am interest in conceptually- the contemporary culture and society. The theme of the shopping mall installation project in Gallarian, Stockholm focuses on shopping as a culture that dominates the urban space. The term Schizaphona refers to the sonic hubbub such as the one constructed by shopping centers with its music and signals directed towards consumption. I enjoy the idea of have a sonic hubbub of consumerism sounds. For my own sound installation, I wish to input real commercial audios that describe obvious messages of getting audience excited to their food products, and many of those uses sensual sounds and deliberate erotic messages to attract people to not just hear but “listen” to what they are selling. Acousmatics is also extensively discussed in this shopping mall installation proposal. It is the process of apprehending sound when sound source is invisible. There are two types of environment for the project: acousmatic environment, which is space that is not of single isolated sound but of sounding objects as an ensemble, and metabolic environment, which is a sound environment that is constant over time but with individual sounds that create this environment constantly changing. For my own installation, there would be little problem with the acousmatic environment, where the amalgam of different layers of sounds may disengage people because it is not directed to an individual.


Why have you chosen this site?


This final site-specific project for me is a personal space- my own fridge. I have decided to chosen this site for it is a place where I access the most. It is almost an unconscious addiction to constantly open-and-close the fridge every few minutes. Food is something that I constantly crave. As women in the contemporary society, we are hindered from overly indulging ourselves to food, for the ideal of beauty is having a bony body and pointy chin. Yet, this suppression of guilty food cravings (sweets and junk foods) leads to more mindful attention to the desire of food. This desire, I argue, is very similar to a sexual desire, through personal mind manipulation but moreover through commercial manipulation. I have chosen the site for to display an intimate problem that many women face. A personal fridge stuffed with heaven full of desserts, yet as I reach for the food, there will be erotic and pornographic sounds in layering with advertising audios that is digitally altered to sound disturbing.


How will the content of your work engage the location you have chosen?


The last article also states the significance of site analysis especially looking at spatial qualities, orientation, dynamics, artifacts, activities, and aesthetical interpretation. A personal fridge shall be only accessible to myself. Thus, the site is already charged with content when I am the only one who is able to interact with the installation. There will also be other special noises such as sounds from the kitchen space and also the fan and light bulb noise inside the fridge. The sound of a personal kitchen shall be very different from that of a public one. The artifacts around the installation shall also be taken in to contact; there are many possible objects in a domestic kitchen that may add or subtract to the installation. Because I am specific food, the edibles I am choosing for sound making shall be carefully picked to engage the location. The aesthetic quality of the food shall also be cogitated, for they must be visually seductive and site-specific (in this case, things that is appropriate in the fridge and a personal kitchen).

 – Ruby


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