Tranquillity is a State of Mind (2008-10)

Tranquillity is a State of Mind Final Report
Full summary of the research project Tranquillity is a State of Mind funded by the Wellcome Trust Arts Grants
tranquillity_final_report_2010.pdf (2798kb)
Sustrans Evaluation Report
Sustrans_Evaluation_Report (1412kb)
Cochlea Unwound Public Art Statement
Cochlea_Unwound_Public_Art_Statement (969kb)

In September 2008, we were awarded a grant from the Wellcome Trust to bring together a research team comprising a cognitive neuroscientist, a clinical audiologist and two acousticians in order to investigate the relationship between sound, health and the environment. Working in collaboration with Sustrans, the sustainable transport charity, we organized a series of meetings with the research team, and out of these events we devised a series of projects, each exploring different aspects of the research topic.

The Tranquillity is a State of Mind project produced a number of separate outcomes, each of which is represented separately on this web-site. The text below provides an overview of the project with hyperlinks to each of the respective outcomes.

In our sound cycle-ride Diagnosing the Sound of the Landscape, we worked with members of the public, riding a section of Route 45 on the National Cycle Network. Along the way we stopped to undertake a series of mini-workshops in which we experimented with the use of audiological techniques designed for the diagnosis and therapy of hearing loss and tinnitus to analyse the sonic characteristics of the landscape.

One of the outcomes from the research was a proposal for what we describe as a listening aid; a device that might provoke contemplation on the act of listening itself. The Cochlea Unwound is a sound installation that we hope to site next to the Diglis weir in Worcester. The installation makes use of sonic crystal arrays, an acoustic principle whereby the path of sound-waves are altered by a periodically arranged array of cylinders producing uncanny filtering effects. We hope to use the sonic crystal arrays to recycle the noise of the weir, filtering out certain frequency bands while accentuating others to create an ever-changing noise sculpture, affected by the listener’s physical relationship to it. Cochlea Unwound came directly from the context of working with Sustrans and is designed to be experienced in motion, whether or foot or by bicycle.

In September 2010, liminal were awarded the PRSF (Performing Rights Society Foundation) New Music Award for our project Organ of Corti. Organ of Corti is based on the same conceptual and technical principles as Cochlea Unwound but rather than being permanently sited, it will tour the country, starting in July 2011. In April 2010, we concluded the Tranquillity is a State of Mind project with a presentation at Arup, London called The Lost Frequency: In Search of Tranquillity. The presentation traced the research undertaken during the Tranquillity is a State of Mind project by means of an 8-channel sound performance, which incorporated recorded interviews with the research team, a live text read by Frances Crow with live sound design and video.

The development of the project has been compiled into a research report that can be downloaded here.

Tranquillity is a State of Mind Project Team:

  • Liminal: Dr David Prior, Composer and Sound Artist and Frances Crow, Architect
  • Dr Amr El Rafaie, Clinical Audiologist, University of Bristol
  • Seb Jouan, Principal, Arup Acoustics, Scotland
  • Prof Greg Watts, Professor of Transportation Noise, University of Bradford
  • Prof Sue Denham, Professor of Cognitive Neuroscience, Centre for Theoretical and Computational Neuroscience, University of Plymouth
  • Katy Hallett, Arts manager, Sustrans
  • Lesley Green, Independent curator

Sonic Crystal consultancy: Prof. Keith Attenborough, Research Professor, Acoustics Group, Institute of Acoustics