WK 9 - UNDERWATER LISTENING

Today I did some experiments with the bone conduction headset for listening to sound under water. I couldn’t take photographs as I was at a public pool. 

  • Sound quality is not great unfortunately. These bone conduction headsets are designed to use your scull as a way to conduct sound, while the lower frequencies are transmitted in the water. I found that there was much more clarity and volume when I held the speaker next to my ear, without contact with my skull. I listened to a variety of sounds, some music, field recordings, synthesis etc. Lower and higher frequencies were not as detailed, the mid range cur through most prominently. 
  • The headsets are slightly awkward to place on your head. Not hugely comfortable. 
  • Hearing the sound inside the head was interesting. it was like having the sound in my head. A strange sensation, really made me think about the idea of how we image sounds inside our head, like when reading for instance. I imagine a voice (not always my own) reading the words out loud. This technology makes it seem like the sound is actually in your mind. Which is quite interesting.  
  • The feeling of floating in water and being able to hear these sounds was quite special. The weightlessness of it was quite incredible. I can imagine using underwater speakers will be much more effective in how we conduct this work. The under water speakers will give us more control and a much more direct way to navigate how the sound behaves under water. Unfortunately these headsets are not going to work. 
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COMPOSITIONAL IDEAS: 

There is something interesting in the relationship of weight and water. 

Thinking about South Africa - how water as a resource holds a lot of weight. The drought in parts of the country means that serious measures are being taken to increase sustainability and awareness of water usage. 

When we are submerged in water we are weightless. 

There is a connection here. Something I need to draw out over coming weeks. 

How can we play with the idea of weight through sound. Detailing different sounds in different speakers, using ‘heavy’ sounds, abrasive sounds, interruptive sounds, maybe they contrast lighter sounds. We need to create a dialog with the sound material. A narrative of sorts. Without being didactically driven, there needs to be an importance on the sacristy of water. An honouring of the situation in South Africa. Even though Durban is not in drought now, it has been in drought for many years.