Project title: Sonic Wilderness
‘Architect’ as curator and composer of soundscapes; this project takes a current protected lost soundscape, a slither of an Alaskan National Park, and translates it by design into a new emerging soundscape.
Overlaid is an acoustic collage that is in one instance an echo containing the lost, a reverberation of the present and an aural projection of an emerging future sonic wilderness.
The intention is to blur and create confusion between what are the ‘natural’ and ‘artificial’ sounds in this designed wilderness...
... so as to question and raise awareness of the current soundscapes which surround us on a daily basis OR their otherwise heavily curated and designed forms.
The Site. Embedded in the centre of Alaska sits a national park, called Denali Park. In 2000 this park was registered as a protected sonic wilderness, where it was stated the “natural sounds are intrinsic elements of the environment and inherent components of the scenery”.
Denali Park is therefore a sound museum, a collection of preserved sounds. To take care of this museum they employ a curator, a sound scientist. His job is to record, protect and maintain this museum of lost sonic wilderness.
The Proposition. As an architecture student, from my viewpoint with designers being asked to design sounds to be inserted into our soundscapes for instance the safety sounds inserted into the silent electric car; this poses the question about whether the role of an architect should include being a curator and composer of soundscapes. However unlike the sound scientist in Denali Park, not merely as archivist but also to design, intervene and create new soundscapes.
Taking a slither of Denali Park, as a soundscape of lost natural sounds, I have inserted and overlaid sounds to create an emerging sonic wilderness, a collection of sound folly structures sitting in the landscape to be discovered and experienced by a Denali Park visitor.
The work produced during this project was predominantly sound pieces describing the experience. These were accompanied by musical score drawings placing the sounds in time as a song, hardware drawings illustrating the structures required to provide scaffolding for the sounds emitted and descriptive text of the participants experience. The body of work leading up to the final sound piece can be read as an archive of collected sounds, noises and silences including the listening of supercomputer data tapes and recordings made while in the Alaskan wilderness.