With the expansion of human transport systems, resource extraction, and urban development, noise pollution has become a major environmental issue. Such man-made noises could potentially dominate our natural environments, alter natural habitat structures, and threaten biodiversity. Therefore, the sounds of the natural environment, which could be our only evidence of the ecosystems that might vanish in the future, should be something we value, conserve and protect.
In a land-scarce city-state like Singapore, there is hardly any natural ‘silence’ in this concrete jungle. While there is a need to balance urbanisation and nature conservation, natural environments in Singapore are often fragmented with their soundscape constantly disrupted by man-made noise. To mitigate this, many city-dwellers resort to plugging in and experiencing our environment in a distracted fashion. How can we better listen to our surroundings and preserve natural ‘silence’ in a time of ecological crisis?
Listening Lab investigates the potential of sound experiences to re-examine our relationship with the man-made and natural soundscapes in Singapore. Employing techniques including field recording and computational programming, the explorations encourage the practice of active listening, prompting us to be mindful of the ‘silence’. Through a series of audio-reactive artefacts and video installations, it takes a deeper plunge into the natural world beyond the mundane and merely visual, suggesting that the way we listen is both more complex and compelling than what meets the simple eye.