The use of motors and the constant increase in private and public traffic have fundamentally changed the sound character of our environment. These kinds of noises, and even more so the intensity of the sonic burden, have multiplied so that city life these days means being permanently surrounded by traffic noises. Whether we are aware of it or not, we have grown accustomed to this ambience and more or less accept conditions as given. Only when these sounds are suddenly diminished or absent, such as when we travel and find ourselves in a completely different environment, do we notice how pervasive they normally are.

In Daisuke Ishida’s installation Vordergrundgeräusche (Foreground Noise) the ambient sound, as well as sound pressure level, is visualized through lights placed along the arched passageway of the Art University building. The lighting functions as an indicator of the measurements in real time and brings attention to the existence of ambient sound as well as its dynamic changes. In this way the beams of light begin to turn background noise back into foreground noise.


Exhibition Lebensräume, The Big Picture, Ars Electronica 2012
Kunst Universität Linz
30 Aug – 3 Sep 2012
technical support: Akitoshi Honda, Kathrin Scheidt


computer, microphones, electronic parts, micro controllers, radio transmitters, LEDs, wood