The global engineering firm Arup and BLOXAS Architects collaborated on a soundscape installation to demonstrate what our everyday environment might sound like to a dementia sufferer.
Ultimately, all sound that we perceive is psychoacoustic. As soon as sound passes through the ears, it stops being a physical phenomena and becomes a matter of perception. What we hear is almost by rule different from what is actually sounding, due to the peculiarities and limitations of our hearing. And what we hear can largely differ from what we think we are listening to, due to the many tricks that perception plays on our awareness.
THE BOUNCY BEEPS of Pac-Man. The percussive build-up in Legend of Zelda. The effusive gibberish of The Sims. The sounds in videogames tell us to speed up, start over, and of course, to keep playing. But how does one set of beeps so effectively tell you you’ve gained power, while another indicates your character has died? And how, exactly, does someone create the sound of the Dark Knight punching the Joker in the face? The answer: Genius sound design.
Anna Mlasowsky is a German-born glass artist who works across many media including video, installation, and performance. As the description below for the project “Resonance” attests, her work with sound emerges from her own challenges with hearing perception.
For those of us who have trouble staying in tune when we sing, Deutsch has some exciting news. The problem might not be your ears, but your language. She tells us about tone languages, such as Mandarin and Vietnamese, which rely on pitch to convey the meaning of a word. Turns out speakers of tone languages are exponentially more inclined to have absolute (AKA ‘perfect’) pitch. And, nope, English isn’t one of them.