From a sound to an image: "Brussels Airport, Security Check, 23/12/2014, 19:33 - 19:39"
“This [translation] is a mechanism, preferred over the generations, that makes it possible to move from one language to another, to eliminate exteriority by transferring it to interiority, and to transform the unpredictable or non-sensual “noises” uttered by voices into (scriptural, produced, and “comprehended”) “messages”.”
Michel De Certeau, “The Practice of Everyday Life”
Sounds and noises are intangible by nature as we are not able to see, touch, taste or smell them. However we were always fascinated by the possibility to translate them into something we are familiar with: we have onomatopoeia, paintings of Wassily Kandinsky or comic speech bubbles. It means that we are able to translate what we hear into other mediums by simplifying, by making them abstract. For example, a sound of a siren could be written like this: eeeoooeeeooo! When we read it, we are able to hear it in our minds ear quite clearly. If we would have to assign a colour to it, it could be red or yellow: a colour, which is rich and vibrant. If it’s a shape — sharp like a cone. If we had to assign a taste to that siren, would it be sour? Then how would salt sound like? How could we, in a way, induce synesthetic experiences? We already use basic connections between different data to describe our impressions: the dress code can be sharp, sadness — blue, or bright colours — loud. After the research of translating from audible to visual mediums I am able to create my own links between what I hear to how it could look like, as my observational skills became sharper and my imagination — more vivid. If I had to translate the sound of running water, I would imagine it round edged and dark blue, a talking crowd — wavy and green, a loud announcer’s voice at the airport — sharp and red, or a beep at a cash register — linear and bright pink. All of these connections are becoming more clear, as I use them every day in my work, as I create abstractions and theories, based on what was done before by scientists, writers, artists and my own perceptions of how sounds might look like and how they might be translated.
After this research I started to translate only a short moment in time at the security check of an airport. It strongly relates to my childhood as an intriguing experience, which faded away. It faded in the same way as sensitivity to sounds did. This way, by reconnecting with the airport itself and its sounds, by communicating with it, by listening, I started to bring back the excitement which comes with it, only through the eyes of an adult. This way the most disturbing audible environment was transformed into a composition of overlapping colours, as different sounds overlap around us. I combined abstract, colourful shapes, where each of them represents individual and specific noise. Each shape can be turned and repeated infinitely in a map of visualised sound. The pattern creates an echo outside the printed image: induces a feeling of its continuity even if the print ends in the same way as sounds exists even if we stop listening to them.