June 14 - July 8
Contemporary Swedish office buildings are constructed and fitted to ensure minimal noise, making many work environments silent. This might seem good, avoiding the disturbance of various kinds of noise from outside and inside, but sometimes it becomes too silent. The silent background allows some sounds created in the office work situation to be perceived more easily, and speech becomes more audible. One way to approach noise problems is to add sounds that hide some of the background sounds present, making them less intrusive and stressful. This is called sound masking.
Sound artist Sofia Chanfreau (Umami Produktion AB) has designed Loud Silence, inspired by Jonas Borell's research on sound masking. The sound work presents different sounds that can be perceived as disturbing in an office environment, such as keyboards, telephones, coffee cups, keys, papers and speech. The sound work includes sound mats, consisting of different background noises, with the purpose to enhance the feeling of an intrusive presence. Masking sounds by adding even more sounds is in itself a contradictory and tickling thought. Therefore, the soundscape in Loud Silence is diverse, testing and playing with different ideas about what sound masking can be.