New commission for SARU practitioner, Felicity Ford

Recent SARU PhD graduate Felicity Ford has been commissioned by the Museum of Domestic Design and Architecture to undertake an interdisciplinary project, exploring the context of wallpaper in sound.

Felicity will be drawing on MoDA’s historic wallpaper collection, exploring the question what would it be like if we decorated our homes with sounds? The project – entitled Sonic Wallpaper – builds on Ford’s research into The Domestic Soundscape and investigates wallpaper from aural and social perspectives.

Central to the concept is that while there are established behaviours and norms concerning how we visually decorate our living spaces, we do not have corresponding conventions governing how we might imagine those same spaces to sound. Extending the familiar rituals of browsing wallpaper sample books and the surrounding discussions into sound-pieces will hopefully invite people browsing the MoDA collection to imagine what it would be like if rolls of sound could be acquired for papering our home-buildings with audible content, as well as with colours, pictures and textures.

For Sonic Wallpaper, a selection of historic MoDA wallpaper samples will be presented to participants, whose conversations about those samples will form the basis for a series of audio works. Willing volunteers will be encouraged to imagine different wallpapers in different rooms in their homes, and to think about the effects the wallpapers might have in different spaces. Participants’ responses – “no, too loud,” “too bright,” “too busy,” “I love that, it’s very calm,” “I love the birds on this design,” etc. – will then be sensitively edited, and sounds will be collected and added in so that it seems as if the discussions relate to an imaginary, Sonic Wallpaper, as well as to the wallpapers in MoDA’s collection which can be seen.

Ford worked with MoDA during the course of her doctoral research at Oxford Brookes, instigating a series of workshops with students at Middlesex University, exploring the idea of Sonic Wallpaper. These early workshops formed part of The Domestic Soundscape Cut and Splice Podcast series, commissioned by Sound and Music in 2009.

It is hoped that in this new MoDA project, some of the ideas explored in that earlier work can be developed further, merging the domestic practice of home decorating with soundscapes which reflect the subjectivity and desire bound up with how we design our living spaces.

If you are interested in participating in the project you should contact Felicity Ford on 07835136201. You will need to have time available on November 21st, 24th or 25th, and able to travel to Middlesex. Your travel costs will be reimbursed.


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  1. home December 17, 2016

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