Through the construction of a short story and the composition of a soundscape, this project and accompanying paper explores whether the dynamic ebb and flow of a story can be conveyed through abstract sound. The work is inspired by a text by Kandinsky (1912) which shows how a single piece of work can hold and convey a number of meanings through its style and form as well as content. It draws on how sound design often makes use of fluctuation (Chion 1997) and multiple layers (Colin 2005) and uses these techniques to represent some form of abstract dialogue. In addition, sound is most often described as an external influence (Phelan & Rabinowitz 2005) with little reference to the internal sound we are continuously subjected to. The story describes ego-driven anxiety as a spark of an idea that glows brighter when fuelled with the oxygen of paranoid thought, enlarged by fear until it dazzles and blinds everything around it, leaving no space for rationality, logic, or perspective*. The idea of these two sonic worlds, the internal and external colliding with one dominating the other are examined in this project.

*This mental conflict portrayed in Zamyatin’s dystopian novel We (1924) where the character D-503 beautifully and concisely describes the processes of falling in love, and the conflict he faces as his engineer-trained rational mind is disrupted by compulsive emotionally driven thoughts and actions.


link to paper PDF and to refs


Created as part of qmat.net PHD research at Queen Mary University of London


Thanks to Grantby