For my Design Studio III Class at RISD, I was assigned to create a project using a selection of randomly assigned variables. Our final creation was a pop-up exhibition documenting the sounds of the city of Providence, RI.
Using these variables as the basis for our project, my partner and I created three moodboard posters to gather inspiration for our popup shop and explore the connotations of our given variables.
After our studies exploring these variables, we decided that the aim of our project would be to capture the essence of sound without utilizing the audio stimuli itself, and instead documenting them as an experiential extension of the locations they came from, encompassing their physical location as well as the sights and feelings associated with such sounds. To do so, we took the time to document the sounds we heard in the urban landscape of Providence in our day-to-day activities, recording the time of day and the location as we heard each sound.
We also took photos to record the visual stimuli associated with each sound. After this process, we decided to investigate and abstractify the sounds of people talking, a car honking, a bicycle whirring, the stereo bass of a car, heels on cobblestone, and a fire siren.
We first created abstract patterns to represent the experience of each sound we chose.
After finalizing the designs for each sound, we laser-cut the designs onto wood to create embossing stencils. We used these stencils to create a raised texture on each of our cards to enable our audience to interact with each sound we documented without hearing them.
After creating these embossed patterns, we decided that the best way to display and package them would be in the form of a card so that we could play with the way the form unfolded to reveal each sound. We also decided to distinguish each sound-card using color, which reflected the emotional reaction to hearing the sounds we chose, as well as a pattern derived from the location on the map of Providence in which they were found. Each card had the name of the project, "AUDIO-VISCERA" ("audio" in reference to the content and "viscera" in reference to the visceral experience each card delivered) laser cut on the front.
Each card folds outward, gradually revealing the different layers of the the experience of each sound, starting with the photos we had taken, then the raised patterns, and finally the identity of the sound the card embodied. We also included instructions on how to interact with each sound to accurately convey the emotional experience of each audio stimulus.
After creating the cards for our pop-up shop, we started drafting ways we could display them in the form of a popup shop.
We came up with various ways to display them on the walls of our studio space, but eventually settled on displaying them in the corner of a room, utilizing the perpendicular walls to suspend the cards between them, putting signage for our shop on one wall and projecting an abstracted map of Providence on the other.