Stretching the Sense of Sound

These two videos may change your ideas about sound. What can we hear? How do we experience sound? How does sound relate to our other senses? Let’s go far out and far into two unusual soundscapes.

Honor Harger: A History of the Universe in Sound

Ever wonder what space sounds like? You’re in for a treat. New Zealand-born artist and curator Honor Harger tells “a short history of the universe through listening”—from the telephone to telecommunications and back to the Big Bang. In this Ted Talk, you’ll hear the sounds of the sun, Jupiter, the rings of Saturn, a neutron star, and so much more. This is a sound trip and a half! Listen, watch, and enjoy. (11 minutes, 17 seconds)

Neil Harbisson: Hearing Sound

Due to a rare condition artist Neil Harbisson can see only black and white, but thanks to his inventiveness he can hear colors. In 2004 he and Adam Montandon developed the eyeborg, a device that translates colors into sounds. Cofounder of The Cyborg Institute, Harbisson says he’s the first recognized cyborg in the world. (3 minutes, 43 seconds)

CYBORG FOUNDATION | Rafel Duran Torrent from Focus Forward Films on Vimeo.

  • How would you describe the sound of the sun? How about the sound of the Big Bang? What does the color green sound like to you? Write down everything you hear over the span of five or ten minutes today. Describe the sounds you hear.
  • Read my other posts on writing from the senses.