Sounding Bodies: Experiments in Sonically Active Surfaces

By Jonathan Tyrrell

This research folio documents the technical and poetic development of an experimental architectural installation that points toward a new model of sonic materialism. ‘Sounding Bodies’, originally installed at Nuit Blanche Toronto 2019, used audio transducers to transform galvanized steel roofing material into inhabitable loudspeakers. Rather than considering sonic emitters as point sources whose physical nature is often conceptually absent from their environments, this work embraces the material and spatial possibilities latent in active sound generation.

The folio begins with a discussion of ancient Roman architect Vitruvius’ use of bronze sounding vessels in theatre design. It then presents a technical explanation of the transducers used in the ‘Sounding Bodies’ installation, followed by an account of experiments undertaken in its development and documentation of the built project. A concluding section discusses how the poetic content of the project, which builds on pioneering work by Glenn Gould and The World Soundscape Project, connects back to the cultural origins of sound reproduction and offers a reflection on how sonically active surfaces might contribute to next-generation living architecture.

The LASG Folio consists of work-in-progress reports and publications by LASG researchers and contributors.

Softcover, 30pp, 2021