Composer Murray Schafer marks the invention of the printing press as the moment in history when the ear gave way to the eye as our primary instrument to experience the world.
This departure has deprived us of the pleasure of sheer listening and finding beauty in the sounds that surround us daily, a role that now seems relegated solely to composed music.
“The Wildsound Hunter” is an attempt to recreate such an aural culture.
It consists of a series of tools, wearables and objects that allow the user to hunt down, capture and finally display sounds as precious trophies.
Designed to resemble the gear and rituals of activities such as safaris and insect catching, the set is presented as the necessary equipment for the venturing sound enthusiast (experienced or amateur) as a playful hobby.
The quest starts with listening: after choosing the preferred location (urban or natural) the sound hunter wears the “blind goggles” placed on the helmet. By shutting down visual inputs the acoustic awareness notably sharpens and the details of the soundscape emerge.
During this session a specific sound might catch the hunter’s attention that he or she wants to retrieve, that’s when the hunt starts. He may decide which weapon to use: long range (parabolic microphone) mid or melee (contact microphone, which captures the vibration of a surface rather than from the air).
The most important tool of the capturing phase is the “Sound Pooter”: it is a wooden box that the weapons are connected to, by pressing the button placed on its side the recording starts. The sound captured is stored in a special “Sound Capsule” (small USB device) that can be removed after the recording is over and substituted with an empty one.
Some sounds are hidden: a tool that the hunter can use to extract them are sticks with hard or soft tips to stroke or hit surfaces with.
One last resource is the “Fleeting Trap”: It is a brooch placed on the chest that can be activated when the hunter is on the move; it is triggered by sudden change of the heartbeat, symptom of excitement; it captures those sounds that we missed and we couldn’t record in time.
When the hunt is over, the sound capsule collected are labelled and then stored; the hunter’s most precious treasures can be selected and displayed on a series of small glass cases that show the hunter’s achievements by constantly playing the sounds contained in the capsules.
By encouraging actively looking for sounds, capturing and displaying them, “The Wildsound Hunter” aims to inspire people to conscious and deliberate listening and to create a personal relationship to the sounds that surround us daily.