Drawn to Sound explores the urban soundscapes of Melbourne through virtual reality drawings and binaural audio recordings and asks the question: what sounds have moved to the foreground during the lockdown and what sounds are ‘erased’? The work consists of drawings made in response to sounds at Testing Grounds, Southbank prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. Since lock-down, I have returned to the site to explore the new shifts in acoustic space; the sounds take you on a journey from Flinders Street Station across the river to Testing Grounds in Southbank where the original drawings were made, and we find ourselves travelling through familiar places with defamiliarized acoustics.
The work builds on my studio research “Drawn to Sound: exploring linkages between drawing and sound in a virtual environment, through practice.” Creating 3Dimentional hand-drawn VR drawings of binaural field recordings in Tilt Brush Software that document place, space, and time. My research to date identifies sound as locative, unique to space and time, and influenced by the surrounding environmental make up where sound orientates and connects to visual memory. It is this “overlap” between the visual and the auditory senses that I wish to draw upon and interrogate further within a virtual environment. These works are composed of a unique vocabulary of ‘sound marks’ which were invented to describe and visualise the sounds of Melbourne in lockdown. Using the formal concerns of drawing, namely, colour, line, and structure to investigate spatial perception, and trace out a map of the sounds for participants to experience visually in the virtual space.
Susannah Langley is a visual artist whose practice is rooted in experimental drawing, installation and sound, often using unconventional media such as conductive material, found objects, field recording and virtual reality to explore ideas of history, memory, movement, feeling and space.
Since 2013, she has collaborated on works that people can move through, and touch, to summon stories and soundscapes. These works have primarily taken the form of virtual reality experiences and largescale installations. These works have been featured in exhibitions, festivals, prizes and residencies both nationally and internationally. Langley was the winner of the 2017 Paramor Art + Innovation Prize. In addition to her arts practice, Langley also delivers creative tech-based workshops to a variety of age groups.
Langley is currently a Master Researcher at the Faculty of Fine Arts, University of Melbourne and a recent artist in residence at Testing Grounds Studios, Southbank Melbourne.