Acoustic listening devices
Commissioned by the National Science and Media Museum and Science Gallery International
Exhibited at the Health Museum, Houston, USA as part of Biorhythm (curated by Science Gallery International), 2018
Workshops for Points of Listening (University of the Arts, London), 2016; Tate Modern (with Trevor Cox), 2016; Manchester Museum of Science and Industry (with Trevor Cox), 2016
Inspired by the the acoustic defence structures that line the coast of Britain, Listening Devices are a set of miniature, wearable aural architectures. Worn over the ear, they engage the physical at the plane of the audible. Each set employs a different acoustic design, which affords its own configuration of listening: devices variously block, channel, resonate, or focus sound. Unlike the acoustic defence structures, Listening Devices are experimental rather than functional, and they are not fixed in a landscape but worn and thus activated by bodily movement. An original set of six was designed in collaboration with the architect Lara Karady. As aural architectures that are attached directly to the ear, they intend to underscore and make explicit the relationship between the physical and the aural. Devices are whispering galleries, sound mirrors, resonant auditoriums, each of which — as a microcosmic architectural space — has its own distinct acoustic possibilities and capabilities, and calls up its own cultural significance. As miniature constructed forms that engage listening, they call — however implicitly — for a more profound architectural engagement with sound.