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Silent mode, 2019

sound art installation

7'40" loop 5.1 audio

"Silent mode" is an invitation to pause to listen with the skin, with the body. An immersive environment in which the public is invited to sit on an acoustic bench surrounded by speakers. The narrative that runs through the speakers is based on texts on improvisation by Walter Smetak, in which the voice of the recorded artists is slowly transcoded into smartphone vibration patterns.

It is possible to feel the installation through cochlear (auditory) and bone (tactile) listening. Although the title of the work encourages silence, we witness a landscape of noise in 5.1 surround audio.

For the  installation's sound system an immersive environment is created configuring the spatialization of ambisonic surround audio. The sound distribution occurs in the three axes (height, width and depth), from six individual audio channels, resulting in a sensory and perceptive engaged zone for those who are in the installation.

In addition to the five channels of spatial distribution of sound, there is also a sixth audio channel dedicated to body listening, using a subwoofer speaker located inside the wooden bench in the center of the space. A low frequency effect channel is offered which transmits impact, pressure and weight, leading to extra auditory and bone sensory sensations. 

In the transcoding of the sound a vocoder is used. The voice is transformed into a mini-motor vibration from sampling ringtones. The use of this sample becomes the carrier of the voice formant, so that the recitation of the poem seems to be done by the device.

Creation and direction

Joana Burd


Sound design

Nikolas Gomes Ferranddis



Bruno Fernandes and Bê Smidt

Image capture and editing Carina Macedo 


Texts read by interpreters are adapted from the book

Walter Smetak (2019). O enxerto do Takaká e outros textos. Editora: Edufba. Edição: 1ª. ISBN: 978-85-232-1832-4.

The laugh without laughter

The laughter without laugh
The cried laugh

The laugh of ignorance

The laugh replacing the speech

The laugh replacing the answer

The answer replacing the laughter

As artists, we transform “silence” into images and sounds.

Images and sounds transform the artist into silences.

Silence is the great source of the single cause.

If there were no rumors, the silence would be very boring.

Rumors are the faithful reproduction of silences.

We are losing sight of the silences.

We create machines that are much more sensitive than our human senses.

So; we put "silent mode" on the machines so that they do not disturb our silence.

Because machines also have their own lives: the noise.

The “human” machine, on the other hand, is quieter, does not perceive its inner noise.

In this digital world we have new possibilities for speech and new formats of silence.

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