The sound of our imagination

A recent edition of framework:afield was produced and hosted by Felicity Ford as part of a project that she is undertaking with MoDA, the Museum of Domestic Design & Architecture. The projetc is called Sonic Wallpapers. The idea behind the project is that she uses samples of commercial, domestic wallpapers from the museum’s collection as starting points for conversations with people. The contents of the conversations are sometimes full of reminiscence and sometimes flights of fantasy into domestic interiors that participants wished they had and the things they might do their… one person wished that they had a jam-making room. The sonic element arises because Felicity has listened to people’s ideas and activities and added extra, background layers of sound to their conversation such as the sounds of a coffee-maker or the sound of a church organ. It could be said that she is creating the soundscape to imaginary spaces, or it could be that she is suggesting the sound of someone’s imagination.

I really like this latter idea. I’ve been troubled by the thought that thought itself is neither purely logical nor purely linguistic; therefore trying to write in a rational fashion about it contains an inherent… absurdity…? Felicity’s approach goes beyond the linguistic to tap into the (imagined) memory of sound and incorporates that into the linguistic. Maybe it doesn’t solve all my problems but it points in fruitful directions. It makes for delightful radio too.


About Bruce Davenport

Research associate at Newcastle University. Previously a museum educator and researcher.
This entry was posted in imagination, memory, sound. Bookmark the permalink.

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