Lawrence Abu Hamdan

Shudder the Thought  (a near future fiction in stereo sound)
9’, 2015


Shudder the thought is a near future fiction  for a coming world in which our relation to speech and objects is totally altered. The work takes three emerging listening technologies to there possible conclusion ; One is the laser microphone, which records the interior of rooms by using a laser to read the micro vibrations of window panes, the second is a  telephonic trauma-o-meter which uses “voice stress analysis” software to listen to the micro-fluctuations of the human vocal chords in order to prioritize voices calling the emergency services in terms of their stress levels.

And finally and most significantly it explores a series of experiments at MIT where in which a group of pioneering computer scientists have shown that, by using high-speed video of an object, they can extract those minute vibrations of speech and other sounds. This allows them the capacity to turn everyday objects—a glass of water, a potted plant, a box of tissues, and the most faithful of all a bag of chips—into a listening device or what they call visual microphones. With each example the work asks a distinct question, how we might become heard as objects. How we might become heard by objects, but also how can we hear like objects?