III : An Exploration of Sound and its Relation to Hybridity


Subwoofers, parametric speakers, concrete render, acoustic foam


This sound installation investigates the potential for sound, as a material, to speak to a contemporary understanding of hybridity, informed by my multiplicitous experience of my own identity. The psychoacoustic phenomena of beat frequencies and echo can be seen as manifestations of two distinct, yet related, pathways through which it is possible to understand an experience of hybridity. I define hybridity through my experience of my mixed racial identity. There is a perpetual tension that occurs when my multiple points of cultural input converge as each marker of identification shifts between central and peripheral dominance. This creates oscillations and vibrations that underpin both my everyday experience and my sound installation. I use sound to manifest my understanding of hybridity as a fluid state; it is an ideal medium due to its permeability and ubiquity. The use of this material in turn necessitates the viewer/listener to move around my artwork, in order to experience the different sonic values that occur in the space. This active movement around the space facilitates an understanding of a hybrid experience that is constantly shifting.


The first audio technique I use is beat frequencies. Beat frequencies are produced by multiple points of input converging in a space, which creates a beating or pulsing, as the sine waves interact with each other. This mirrors how I have come to understand my cultural hybridity, as there is a fundamental intermingling of multiple points of cultural input, which exist in tension within the formation of my identity. Secondly, I use echo to speak to hybridity as it is intrinsically multiplicitous in its temporality. While echo relies on multiple temporalities, through reverberation, in order to be considered an echo, hybridity can also be seen as a multiplicity of identity. I am using these psychoacoustic phenomena in a minimalist sound installation space to convey the experience of two manifestations of hybridity: one that speaks to the intersection of multiple inputs, and one that speaks to a multiplicitous formation of identity.