Sonic City

Photoshop model


Sonic City / Sonic Canvas

A creative partnership, network and connection between:



•Experiments in graphic scores.
•Evidence of urban filed work using sound recording [hardware, software] reinterpreted in     an innovative, experimental and expressive way.
•Design proposals for ‘listening-posts’ or other sonic objects and experiences proposed for the city.


•Explore wider thinking about the city.
•Examine the multi sensory nature of the built environment.
•Experiment in musical workshops to reinterpret sound through other means.
•Explore basics of sound software and use this as an investigative tool.
•Engage with the city and record auditory source material for inspiration.
•Express and reinterpret the built environment through experimental visual methods [graphic scores] and site-specific designed objects set in the city-scape.
•Examine sounds, silences, voices and ‘noises-off’ [to use a well known theatrical term] through small creative teams.

\Learning and outcomes>

•Exploring sound – find the unconventional – what was the instrument not designed for? Do it!

•Experiential – freedom of expression in a parallel art form.

•Breaking stale habits of thought

•Crash through norms to generate whacky ideas and concepts

•Make deeper links across expressive arts disciplines

•Acquiring refreshing knowledge that can be carried back and applied to our own disciplines

•Letting go of preconceptions and creative safety: empower risk-taking

•Create a team of maverick, rebel music sound-scapers

•Detonate innovation

•Enrich your way of thinking about spaces, places, environments and the city


As a starting basis for inspiration we looked at some examples of public sound art and installations.


Sketch and Development

After collecting research we then started to sketch and build from personal emotive response and the images that inspired us.


Our site and the kinetic sculpture

The design will be based in the city of Dundee. Our listening post is to be related to and inspired by an existing piece of public art in Dundee. The site we chose is this stainless steel wind sculpture near the Dundee Waterfront. It is located between the train station and a very busy main road. From this position you hear many sounds of the city and can watch many people going by. We could not find any information on the sculpture itself. Why it is there or who it was designed by?


Finalisation and concept

Our chosen public art structure is the steel triangular structure behind Dundee train station. It has 2 dials that are manipulated by wind strength. After discussing the structure with one another, we realised a lot of people simply did not realise it existed, despite walking or driving past it regularly. This point enabled us to come up with the design strategy to attract more attention.

The site is situated on the curve of a busy road, with people arriving from places such as the train station and across the bridge, on foot or by car. Being literally a few feet from the road and a pedestrian crossing, the only distinct sounds heard are the car engines themselves.

After spending a lot of time on site drawing our personal interpretations of these sounds, we found that one particular shape was apparent. Responding to the oncoming sound of cars, the triangle now represents the rising/ peak/ descent of traffic noise.

The triangles themselves naturally have their own peak; the point.

Our triangular walkway attracts pedestrians to enter under the existing steel frame sculpture, into our proposed ‘triangular cocoon’. The scale of the triangle frames get smaller as you nearer the listening cocoon, like the sound of car engines gradually fading off into silence. The listening post is made up of clusters of triangles which act as a barrier to the clusters of traffic at a standstill. This enclosed space will feature sound recordings.

People can sit in the space if desired, and listen to the recordings featured, such as tap dancing and other metallic collaborations of our own. These sounds aim to represent the process of creating the new structure, thus connecting to Dundee’s recent start to a ‘transformation’ in the city.