In February 2017, I took part in a residency at Testing Grounds, Melbourne,
with the art collective While the Hour.
Testing Grounds is in the middle of the city, on a busy road. The loudness
of the environment made it difficult for me to work there, because I was
in sensory overload from the moment I arrived on site each day until long
after I’d returned home to safety each evening.
Because I couldn’t filter out the environmental noise, I decided to
make it the focus of my project. I attempted to notate the noises I heard –
the sounds of car engines, construction work, aircraft, squealing tyres, etc. –
and compile them into a glossary.
I searched for ways to introduce this mode of sensory experience to
human social life. In the end, I settled on creating a kind of un-meeting:
an appointed time and place at which people could gather in order to avoid
interacting with humans, and focus on nonhumans instead. I created an offline
web server, hosted on a Raspberry Pi. People could disconnect from the human
web and reconnect to the sensory-social network.