With this collection of notification sounds I close a project that started 2 years ago.
The main goal was to create low-intrusiveness sounds for everyday use.However, the project has gone beyond a simple exercise in sound design. It has become a journey to the border between conscious and subconscious listening : an exploration of how the self and external reality are not separated by a clear and sharp line, but by an infinite layer of interactions.
Thanks to Sean Michael Lawler for the drawings which appear on the 3 collections’ covers – and to the people who helped testing the sounds.
A new project with Infomus – Università di Genova.
A series of movement exercises for the elderly, in interaction with video and sound. My role is to design algorithms and sounds which create a low-stress environment; reassure participants; enhance / augment the perception of fluid movements.
These pre wake-up sounds have two features :
1) they delicately infiltrate our auditory system during sleep, activating conscious brain activities in a gradual way (instead of the sudden activation caused by a traditional wake-up sound).
2) they offer a low intrusiveness sound when the person is awake (instead of the highly intrusive sounds of traditional wake-up sounds).
These alarms are not aimed at waking you up at all costs. If you are in a very deep sleep, it could happen that your brain will continue to dream. So, don’t use these alarms if you absolutely need to wake up to catch a plane, or to go to a meeting. In this case, combine them with a traditional, intrusive alarm, maybe set 5 minutes later.
This is a test for a [lights + words + sound] exhibition stand by L&L Luce&Light srl, which was meant to be presented at Light+Building 2020 in Frankfurt (postponed because of C19). Architecture and light design by traverso-vighy architetti; narration concept and texts by Carlo Presotto; sounds by me; technique by Giochi di luce.
For many of us, today’s common ringtones are acoustically intrusive, create a feeling of unnecessary hurry and become annoying in the long term : just look at a person desperately scrambling to answer a loud phone in a quiet train, while other passengers look and frown.
The ringtones of this collection explore the opposite direction.
They are discreet (low intrusiveness), occupy as little acoustical space as possible, and because of their precision can be diffused at low volume.
They suggest a calm action (low urgency) – they don’t push the user to answer immediately, thanks to their slow temporality.
They are sustainable in the long term (low annoyance), because they limit as much as possible elements (like melodies or grooves) that provoke unnecessary cognitive load.
From psychoacoustics to soundscape studies, intrusiveness, urgency and annoyance are well studied features of audio signals. Today we are aware of their negative effects on mental states and mood. We also know which dimensions of sound can cause these negative effects.
It is impossible to completely remove intrusiveness, urgency and annoyance : part of these effects depends on variables (background noise, cognitive elements, personality types…) which cannot be controlled. But it is possible to minimize the negative impact of sounds signals around us. Sounds like these ringtones are a first step towards a less nervous life.
Use these ringtones when you are planning to stay in quiet soundscapes (ex. in a bookstore, inside your house, at the beach…). Associate these sounds to the contacts for which you don’t need (or don’t want) to rush to the telephone.
Play them at low volume.
19 October 2019 / 8 channels soundscape for an event organized by Cimbali/Faema (espresso coffee machines). Lights by Traverso-Vighy Architetti, technique by Giochi di Luce, loudspeakers by d&b audiotechnik GmbH.