Voicing the Sonic

Interventions to transform the acoustic space of a campus site

Soundscape Studies students in the School of Architecture & Design at RMIT University, Melbourne, Australia were asked to create a soundscape intervention to transform the acoustic space of a campus site. The site is a social space activated by markets, student activities and conversation; however, a loud exhaust fan outlet creating a lo-fi environment dominates the acoustic space of the site.


Students were asked to create a soundscape intervention in the space, in response to an imaginative-artistic approach to acoustic ecology: the exhaust outlet is the voice of the city, speaking; can this voice be deciphered, transformed, augmented? Students responded with live sound-art, musical and electroacoustic performances played through loudspeakers placed adjacently to the exhaust outlet, and transformations of the environment with physical sound-making objects that people could interact with. The intervention project was informed by the acoustic ecology movement’s maxim that anyone who cares to listen is a soundscape designer; as such students were encouraged to listen, apropos, creatively respond to the dominant sound of the space.


The project aimed to demonstrate that city dwellers given the opportunity to creatively interact with their city soundscape, with the assistance of education and resources, could revitalise their city-relationship through soundscape design.