Into the Deep
"Into the Deep" is a piece created at MONOM Spatial Sound studio in the spring of 2023 in Berlin, Germany using underwater field recordings provided by the University of Victoria's "Orchive" project. The piece is a cinematic soundscape that follows a protagonist on a journey starting from a beach shore before plunging into a magical underwater world. The piece symbolizes a person's ability to take the plunge and face their fears, no matter what they may be in life. It shows that facing our fears can often lead to discovering wonderful new things, learning and growing. It also seeks to highlight the anthropogenic noise that affects the habitat of many ocean creatures. Noise in the ocean is increasing and it has been shown to have negative effects on marine life, such as increasing stress levels (Rolland et al., 2012), changing foraging behaviors (Soto et al., 2006; Holt et al., 2020; Tennessen et al., 2021), masking important biological sounds and altering vocalizations (Foote et al., 2004; Guazzo et al., 2020), and in extreme cases hearing damage and strandings (Fernandez et al., 1995; Cox et al., 2006). Awareness of these issues is on the rise and we hope to bring more recognition to the general public through this installation. This piece also features a lighting component using LedPulse. Both "Into the Deep" and "Traversing the Mind" (below) were graciously funded by the BC Arts Council.
Traversing the Mind
Traversing the Mind was created in the fall of 2021 at Lobe Spatial Sound Studio using 4DSOUND technology. This piece is a hybrid between a musical composition and a sound journey. I aimed to bring elements and instrumentation of sound healing and meditation into this piece, to go along with Lobe's mandate of using spatial sound immersion to assist in cognitive-behavioral therapies, meditation practices, and somatic therapies. This piece features performances on singing bowls and gongs by sound healer, Bonnie Starcevich; and Mongolian/Tuvan throat singing from internationally renowned throat singer and sound healer, Matthew Kocel.
To experience the piece, a listener puts on an EEG headset device, which stands for electroencephalogram. An EEG device records electrical activity that is being produced by your brain activity. This device analyzes the listener's brainwave activity for the amount of alpha [relaxation] and beta [concentration, gamma [peak focus], theta [meditation], and delta [sleep] frequency ranges. Brain waves in these frequency ranges are mapped to different elements of the soundscape and control/manipulate these elements based on fluctuations in these frequency ranges. Certain frequency ranges manipulate certain sounds. The result is a literal and figurative journey through the mind, as we hear the soundscape being manipulated directly from the mind of the listener. The piece starts off in the external world, then dives into the internal world of the mind where the listener is taken on a sonic journey through the darkness and tranquility of the mind, and everything in-between. The truth is, when we meditate, the process is not always pleasant. Sometimes, our thoughts are racing, sometimes things come up - thoughts and emotions that we have to face. When you meditate, there is no longer anything to distract you from your true thoughts and feelings. And so you have to learn how to sit with your own mind. That’s why they call it a meditation “practice.” You will of course, encounter moments of tranquility sometimes too and that’s what this music reflects. But the world of the mind is infinitely complex and this composition takes a deep dive into the world of the mind. Thus there are elements of dissonance and consonance. Peace and hostility.
In my previous research with sound, I learnt how sound can be both healing and damaging to our health and wellbeing. This piece also reflects that. Sound can be a great source of refuge - it can heal many of our ailments, but it can also kill. As an acoustic ecologist, I am always aiming to bring an awareness to sounds in our everyday environment, and it’s incredible ability to affect our health and wellbeing.
This project was funded by the BC Arts Council and I would like to thank them along with Lobe for giving me this opportunity to experiment and explore with 4DSOUND, an EEG machine and my own imagination.