City Instrument/Contraption

Been having this idea on mind where, people can listen to other sounds of New York through the city instrument/contraption/scaled-up device as a different way to know the city via listening.

‘Hearing as a way of seeing’.

New York is known for its giant cluster of noise which resulted from construction, vehicles, garbage trucks, parties, dogs barking, etc. Below is some of the studies found that show the distribution of noise range that is analysed from noise complaints from 2010 to current year 2015. The noise complaints reveal the concentration of activity in the city and are evenly distributed throughout the five boroughs of New York city.

20102010 2013201320152015

From other website, the area of Two Bridges and main New York city have the combination of noise range that I was looking for in order to explore more of my sound exploration in terms of the loudest to least quiet (most noise complaints to least noise complaints) to support the idea of rhythms of sound as an idea representation.


From this, I started the mapping which is layered with conceptual idea I have in mind. This is the master plan which I intend to show the idea of the city instrument/contraption spreads through the city linking the buildings, which the directionality sparks from the main working system (‘the mother’ as the central) and the sound wave spreads from it linking the main source of sound/noise (main city) and back to the sound of nature which is the sound of wind and water (east side between Manhattan bridge and Brooklyn bridge). This linkage depicts the even distribution of level of noise/sound and to the bridge as a conceptual representation of the sound wave’s vibration structure and also the instrument’s tension structure. (hope it makes sense)

Masterplan 1


Closer view.



The smaller nodes acts interactive spaces which people able to listen to the sound of less noise area (Two Bridges area; water, wind, bridge) of the other side of city as a quick aural introduction of the New York city giving the people, tourists or permanent residents new aural experience. The forms of the waves are taken from the previous experiments of sound device which I intend to use them as one of vibration structural study and also the representation of the sound waves itself. As it flows into the main city, the sound waves increase as an indication of high level of noise and and concentration of people.

20151030_002819Some early sketch ideas of the nodes

Certainly, these are just early ideas of what is intended to do. The scopes of sounds that I’m looking at now are;


Thus, many explorations and new ideas can be generated as guidelines.  For referencing, I found an interesting sound experiments done by Human Harp which transform suspension bridges into giant harps and play them

I’m still working on the sectional drawings. Will upload it soon hopefully.



One thought on “City Instrument/Contraption

  1. Sounds like you are already doing a project instead of analysing the site. Maybe as a starter you could map the different types of sound in the area and their intensity but using a line technique that draws on the discoveries made with your device? I know we spoke on Tuesday about using the bridge as an instrument but don’t design it as a proposal just yet. Start to draw the bridge in detail to understand how the cables work in parallel to mapping the sounds of the site -what are they made of, how do they help support the different bridges, how would sound travel across such a material? Think about how to use your understanding of hearing as a way of seeing to draw the map of the site as well as the details of the bridge – make a catalogue of bridge types in Manhattan to show the playable potential of each? Before you jump into the design work as a solution make sure you understand what the problem is first. Also don’t forget about formatting your research, experiments and tests into your exploration study as well as working on a portfolio format for Tuesday.

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