Acoustic Botany: Can We Re-Imagine Nature?

Acoustic Botany: Can We Re-Imagine Nature?
Arts & Culture

Nature turns to entertainment in Acoustic Botany.

Lisa Baldini
  • 18 february 2010

Historically, musicians are always on the hunt of birthing music and sounds that bring a sense of harmony (or disharmony) from nature; nature is almost always the referent. We Make Money Not Art points us to Royal College of Art student David Benque‘s Acoustic Botany project. Attempting to engineer a natural landscape with a more “harmonious” soundscape than nature, Benque further illustrates his aim:

The designer imagines that the soundtrack would be more composed and harmonic than the nature sounds we know, but it wouldn’t be as controlled as ‘music’ either because of the unknown factors that plant growth almost inevitably brings.

Benque’s sound objects resolve a huge issue in sound art practices: namely, how do you resolve the ambiguity between the source of the sound and the sound received by the viewer? The fact that he wants to create more harmonious soundscapes through engineering objects will ultimately place finite outputs on the possible interactions between nature and its audience. We are always looking to improve something through human intervention. This project, while we think it is quite worthwhile, brings up questions of how to measure interaction, when is interaction a necessary intervention and what does that new intervention ultimately reflects back into culture? That is, if we imagine it and produce, is it ultimately better?

All of the sound objects that are presently being developed may be found here.

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