Wednesday, 17 March 2010


Ok, so I added a bit of colour. And I LOVE it. There's no way I could screen print this in time, but I don't care. I'm going to do the same with all the others, but different colours for each. Mmmmm, limited colour palates are super.

Last one, library!

The quietest hour... but still not silent!

Tuesday, 16 March 2010

And now, an hour on a bus!

Haha, don't worry, there's only one more of these to come...
This time, an hour on a bus. FUN TIMES!

Monday, 15 March 2010

Auditary logarithmic curry diagram

Another picto-graph!
I don't think it's as good as the others, partly because of my poor drawing skills, partly because of it's unbalancedness (Due to the fact that the blender was WAY louder than anything else).
Still, I think it has a kind of charm, and paints a nice picture of our evening meal :)

Another auditory illustration

Today I've been drawing!

This is my visual representation of an hour walking through Brighton city centre. It primarily consists of traffic, unsurprisingly enough. 
I'm not happy with the quality of the scanned drawing, areas where lines are close together have, in many places, just become solid. I'm going to work on fixing that, but for now, here's roughly what it looks like.

Friday, 12 March 2010


I quite like this.
An hour in the park, in visual form.
I'm pondering on a slightly different approach for another one though. We shall see.

Thursday, 11 March 2010

That's too much maths for me.

Mission: 'Lets measure some decibels!' got underway today, when I finally managed to acquire a decibel meter.

That's right guys... my house is quieter than the library.

Anyway, I took this thing out and about with me today, and spent an hour in three different locations. (I plan to do two more tomorrow.)
Basically, I'm trying to measure noise levels as we go about our day to day lives... I guess the point I'm trying to make is that we're never in silence... and that we should listen and appreciate the noise around us more.

And I tell you what, after an hour sat in a library, an hour riding the bus back and forth, and an hour in a park, I've certainly got a new found appreciation for sound.

I've graphed my findings in a circular manner... the concentric circles represent decibel levels... But it turns out that decibels increase in a logarithmic manner, which would be impossible to graph, so I've been inventive with the scale - it still represents that kind of increase, but on a managable scale. I like to think that as an artist I'm allowed a bit of... well, artistic licence. And these still represent the facts pretty accurately.
The straight lines represent time, rather like a clock. The measurments start at where twelve o clock would, and each five minutes are the same as they would be on a standard clock, making up an hour.

I hope these make sense.
Clearly they're frightfully dull looking... I'm hoping to illustrate them much like my previous post, but that's the scary part, because... *whispers* I'm not entirely sure I can draw....


Monday, 8 March 2010


Had a bit of a discussion with a few people about this project this morning.
Ideas galore! Well, kind of. Basically, everyone really liked the ideas and thoughts behind my info-graphics, but, (and I agree) they're a bit dull looking, and have been done before by other people. Also, everyone really liked my machinery drawings, although (and I agree) they don't really have a point.
So, it makes sense to try and to combine the two!

I got to thinking about other ways of measuring the noise we're exposed to, I decided not to analyse individual noises, and instead measure different overall decibel levels in different places, quiet and loud.
Getting a decibel meter is a ridiculous hassle, but I'm working on it.

So till then, I've mocked this up - a fake graph of sound levels at the library. It's made up of the contents of the library, and the peaks are the specific things that cause the noises.
The drawings are extremely crude, and this is a really really rough mock up, just to give me an idea of how it could work.
This isn't amazing, but I think done properly, with real decibel readings, proper time consuming drawings (properly scanned in, not just photographed) and a nicer measurement system... it could be good. We shall see...
Sorry for low quality and unclickable image, I have to use safari at uni, and for some reason it won't let me upload at high quality. I'll put a better version up when I get home.

And yes, I appreciate that there's little point to this. I guess I'm just trying different ways of investigating how much sound we're exposed to on a daily basis, and conveying that in visual form. I'm wondering whether I should be making some kind of point about whether the noise levels are a good thing or a bad thing, but I don't really know myself!

Saturday, 6 March 2010

This took ALL DAY.

Well, actually, all two days. Yesterday making note of sounds, today, documenting it, in this form.
Yes, there are many flaws. The circles range outwards in no logical order, some minor sounds had to be left out due to lack of space... But I don't know, I like it, I think it's interesting to see how full of noise our days are. Pick any point on the outer circle, and draw a line inwards, and you can see all the sounds that were occuring at that point. At no point during my waking hours was there silence.
Click to view detail!

Further sound mapping

My previous diagrams showed only one or two hours. Here's twelve hours. This diagram only shows sections of continuous sound, I haven't included all the individual sounds that occurred.
I was mainly interested to see how much of the day I spend with headphones in. Answer - a lot. (Time with headphones in is denoted by shaded sections). Dotted lines mean intermittant sound, solid lines mean constant sound.

This is in no way scientific, and time approximations are somewhat rough.
I'm going to have a go at adding in individual sounds now, as in my previous diagrams.

Friday, 5 March 2010

3.52, cookie wrapper rustling.

Today I've taken it upon myself to make note of every sound I hear.
It's been a lot harder than I expected... it was easy at first, but as the day progressed I just found myself forgetting to do it! I think I'm 'up to date' now though...

Anyway, I'm not sure quite how this is relevant to the project... I guess I was interested to investigate how much of the day I spend blocking out external noise with headphones, how much of the time I find myself in silence (basically none of the time), and how much obnoxious noise I get subjected to.

Anyway, I constructed some info graphics to represent a few hours today... Firstly, 10-11, secondly, 11-1.

Obviously, I don't mention things like 'breathing', and I decided to leave out foot steps (unless they were particularly distinctive), and doubtless I missed some things, but I tried to make it as accurate as possible.
I think I was just trying to think about visual representations of sound.

Click to full view for details!

Thursday, 4 March 2010


It didn't turn out how I wanted. Looks too much like a totem pole. But I quite like it anyway. (hand drawn from diagrams)

In other news, I'm designing a new logo/header for the Brighton uni newspaper The Pebble. I am excited :)

Wednesday, 3 March 2010

Our inhuman void

So... we got our exam project on Monday. I mean, WHAT?! This is it, my big moment to prove myself... to be honest, I feel like I'm only just getting into the swing of this whole university malarkey... I could do with another couple of years to get really awesome.

But unfortunately, I don't have another couple of years.

The project is due in on March 26th, my birthday. Yay?

We were given several options to choose from. Firstly, a series of anniversaries... the 50th anniversary of the invention of Bubble wrap, the 350th anniversary of the Royal Academy, the 25th anniversary of the discovery of the hole in the ozone layer... plus others.
The second set of options were quotations, on which to base our own brief. I've chosen one of these. This one:

'Soon, silence will have passed into legend. Man has turned his back on silence. Day after day he invents machines and devices that increase noise and distract humanity from the essence of life, contemplation, meditation... Tooting, howling, screeching, booming, crashing, whistling, grinding and trilling bolster his ego. His anxiety subsides. His inhuman void spreads monstrously like a grey vegetation.' - Jean Arp

I think this is an incredible quote. Unsurprisingly enough, lots of other people have chosen it too.

So what are my ideas? Well, I'm interested in that idea that there is no longer any true silence. Well, there is, but it's difficult to find. In urban society we are either subjected to noises created by man-made machines (traffic, construction works, other people's stereos etc), or we are blocking out those noises with selected noises of our own (radio, mp3, TV etc).

I haven't quite decided yet whether I think this is a bad thing or not. My deep down instincts tell me that it's not natural - not right for us to live in this state of perpetual sound... But on a day to day level, I dislike absolute silence.
I am unsettled when I return to my old home (we live in a house in a quiet, rural area)... at night, it's just TOO quiet. And I realise now that even as a child, when I'd never known anything else, I still found the silence of being home alone very unsettling. More unsettling even, than the dark.

I think maybe my mum did too, my whole childhood, we would always have the radio on, from first thing in the morning till last thing at night, just quietly much of the time, just background noise, but always there. And I've inherited this, it's extremely rare that I sit in complete silence, with no radio or music. I've always put it down to a passion for music, but I wonder whether it's also an element of disliking complete silence.

Anyway, that's a personal ramble, but it's left me undecided about this project... do I want to use it to encourage people to seek out silence, to try and escape from the clamour of urban life, perhaps with some noise cancelling ear muffs, or white noise... Or, do I want to go with my own personal feelings, and celebrate this 'urban hum', glorify man's industrial creations?

How do you feel about this idea of 'silence'... do you regularly seek out silence, or do you enjoy immersing yourself in the cacophony of day to day life in the city? I'd really value your opinions...

Either way, I already have a very strong visual idea of the imagery I want to use, I just don't yet know how I'm going to twist it, which argument I'm going to take.
The Jean Arp quote would have been taken from, at a guess, some time between the 1920's and the 1940's. So his 'machines' would not have been our iPods and fast cars, but machinery from the industrial age... I don't want to use the words 'steam punk'. I don't want it to look steam punk. But there's undeniably going to be an element of that.

Anyway, as always, my beloved library has done me proud.

(I mean, what IS that? I read all the surrounding pages and still don't know. But it's awesome. That couple at the bottom look well smug.)

I don't know about the rest of you.... but I LOVE a good diagram. And I have some super-sexy ideas for working with these images.

Woah woah wait... did I just say 'sexy', about some line diagrams of a vauxhall engine? I think I did. Oh dear.