wallSound / Abstract


The term “wall of sound” was first used to describe the mystical space of music perceived by the audience in the redesigned theater by Richard Wagner, which placed the orchestra for the first time out of sight. The term became popular around the mid 1950’s to describe the sound of jazz orchestras, and gained popularity in the 60’s when music producer Phil Spector used the name for his new technique to record dense layered reverberant sound for AM radio, using many guitarists playing the same lines together in an echo chamber. The term was later used in rock music to describe the effect of two distorted rhythm guitars playing together giving an amorphous quality of sound.

The “wallSound” is a modular sound interface that uses body conductivity and requires body contact and movement to manipulate sounds. It discusses the human-wall relationship, by creating interactions that depend on both. In different scenarios, the wall and the human play different roles in support of each other.

The vertical plane structure of the interface requires the body to move in a new self-aware way, and break out of the limited bank of everyday movements required from the daily activities of walking, sitting, climbing stairs, etc.

A wall is not built to interact with the body. The project deals with the wall’s limited affordances, and the low expectations that come with interacting with it. Leveraging the wall’s flat vertical surface turns it into a surprising and playful physical experience. This encourages the body to reconsider its physical environment, and creates potential for a new dialogue between the two.