Malcome Mccllough & Ambience

Ambience is all around us as Malcolm Mccllough argues “Right now your everyday environments are filling with ever more kinds of information, in ever newer formats of technology, used in ever more activates of life.”(McCullough 2013) This information is coming from posters or images around us, objects and people all feeding into our senses of vision, touch, smell and hearing as he suggests “Some of these make the world understandable, even pleasant, but many less helpful ones prove difficult to escape.” in modern times media is one of the main form of ambience around us whether its is social media, images, video or sound.

In the 21st century there is an ever more increasing sense of the digital around us from smartphones to digital signage becoming a more and more integral part of our lives. However, the increase in these technologies creates evermore ambience around us whether this is the media these objects output like sound or graphics or the un intentional implication of the object itself.

“Ambient Sound is atmospheric sounding and noise pollution is frequently described as ‘unwanted sound‘, and, within this context, environmental noise is generally present in some form in all areas of human activity.”(Kinsler 2000) This sound is commonly associated with loud and industrial areas of work where machinery is being used creating a range of different scraping, clashing and moving sounds. However, ambient sound can also be from other forms of movement like natural forces the could be considered of less annoyance and more pleasure, these are called “soundscapes” and are produced by music artists on occasions to educe a certain mood in a particular environment

Soundscape: An atmosphere or environment created by or with sound. Crucially, the term soundscape also includes the listener’s perception of sounds heard as an environment: “how that environment is understood by those living within it” (Truax 2001) The cultural, social and environment affects of can effect a persons response to these sounds but within western society it could be felt more natural and peaceful sounds insight more relaxing emotions. On the other hand industrial and work related sounds insight possible stress, obligation and hard work to audiences. Previously I looked at the effects of music on emotion this assessment could be applied here to the introduction of ambient sounds

The introduction of digital sounds around us has also been significant to the social acceptance of ambient sounds of media devices. The rapid increases of portable media devices whether this is mp3 players, mobile phones, Ipads or laptops of the last 10 years has allowed audiences to take media with them wherever they go. These media devices all produce ambience in several forms but mainly to the environment sound. Their noise pollution ringing, vibrating and media output adds to the environment ambience. This ambience has just been accepted by today culture, for example the ringing of a phone we instantaneity check our own phone, If it not ours then attention is lost. This sound its quickly associated with something of interest then disregarded. This is down to the participation of the audience and there engagement with the environment around them.

Installation Concept of Ambience

Ambience can come in a wide variety of forms however, I want to consider that of audiences knowing and unknowing effect they have upon the environment they embodied in. We as humans produce noise/sound constantly, this as a concept is what I want to measure is the fluctuation of ambient sound of which I present back to audiences in a graphical form to see there reaction and interaction with this.

Next I need to consider the audience itself and there role within the interaction of the piece. Because it doesn’t require direct interaction audience with me interacting unknowingly anyways.

Update: Active & Passive Audience

McCullough, M., 2013. Ambient commons. Cambridge, Massachusetts: The MIT Press.

Kinsler, L., 2000. Fundamentals of acoustics. New York: Wiley.

Truax, B., 2001. Acoustic communication. Westport, Conn.: Ablex.


Leave a Reply