Harmony in Precarity

Musical interface, sonification program, 2021

How could microgravity/hypergravity shape our perceptual experience of listening with weightlessness? How can we seek to exploit this spatial aspect of sound as a distinct parameter in its own right? Exploring our understandings of all of these qualities in tandem will play an essential role in this project.

Harmony in Precarity is about making an augmented acoustic device to explore unfamiliar moments in microgravity. The rootless state in parabolas is a metaphor and generative method for “precarity.” Merriam-Webster’s Word of the Day introduces Precarity’s original meaning as “depending on the will or pleasure of another,” which comes from the Latin for prayer. Precarity is everywhere, it seems. Perhaps it is, as Anna Lowenhaupt Tsing writes, “the condition of our time.” It is also the defining feature of an entire class of people, the precariat. I regard the precarious spatiality and microgravity as an emerging form of sonic thought and imagination on space exploration.

The acoustic device can function as a wearable medium that reacts to the operator’s body dynamic or as an autonomous device with weightlessness. It simulates “rainstick,” an ancient musical instrument used by natives of South America to summon wind and rain and avoid drought. With multiple stick-piezo connected to extended springs inside plastic tubes as a contact microphone, the system captures piezoelectric signals when particles hit and transmit vibrations and collisions of fragmented debris inside the device to a customized sonification program during weightless periods.

Concept Video


Collaborator: Gu Mi studio


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聲音生態學的實驗室裡都執行著怎樣的研究?上一回挑選了亞利桑那州立大學的Acoustic Ecology Lab,他們發展在地走聽、社區參與聲音錄製、傳感技術等,也分析聲景數據資料以了解環境生態。而臺灣在中研院由林子皓老師帶領的海洋聲景生態資訊實驗室,則聚焦在以遙測的方式蒐集聲音資料研究分析環境與變動與生物的多樣性,也探討人為活動如何影響環境生態。

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