Noise Machines

An exploration of noise; from its meaning across a range of disciplines; its production, to techniques for transforming it

Noise is remains as an important aspect of the human experience, but its connection is through ideas of freedom and information potential. Students were encouraged to think beyond the noise problem, to re-imagine noise as a design material, rather than an object to suppress. To assist a shift in thinking, students were required to develop a consistent approach for researching and analysing different interpretations of noise, and from this, build an understanding of the dimensions of noise and the factors that shape our perception of noise within a real-world context.

Students were introduced to a diverse a range of views that approach noise in different ways. This included acoustic noise and abatement strategies; soundscape practices; information theory; mechanical and vibration noise; and noise in music production.

Students were also presented with two build challenges for exploring fabrication techniques for designing noise-based machines; The first exploring the building of a simple clock and the noise generated from repetitive, cyclic gear-based mechanisms. The second build explored the creation of acoustic noise using the Russolos Scoppario as inspiration. Having developed the necessary skills for designing and building a noise-based object, the students final project needed to incorporate an aspect of noise within its design, but also demonstrate how designers may work with noise in creative ways.

In the final stages of this course students were asked to once again shift perspective, but this time formulate a response to their machine when positioned as a problem. This entailed an analysis of the machines behaviour to better understand the noise it creates, and the formulation of a sound design intervention for transforming the noise.

Lecturer: Jeff Hannam
Semester 1, 2019