Good Vibrations (2000)

Good Vibrations introduced Keystage 2 children to the principles of acoustic vibration, combining simple experiments demonstrating the behaviour of sound with workshops that facilitated the children in incorporating the acoustic phenomena they had observed into a sound installation that engaged not only sound, but also smell, touch and visual form.

During a week of intensive workshops, the children projected water ripples in a Pyrex dish onto the wall with an overhead projector, amplified bubble blowing through sub-woofers, watched patterns emerge in sand on makeshift Chladni plates and learnt about the harmonic series by creating string instruments and swinging vacuum cleaner tubes. Over the course of the week, we worked with the children to develop a nomenclature for the sounds they were creating and then set about recording and arranging them according to a score that they devised.

The final installation consisted of a ring of twelve up-turned loudspeaker cones, variously containing glitter, sand, jelly and spices. The children’s composition was then spatialised through these speakers to create a multi-sensory installation where the vibration in the speakers made patterns and smells, and created a natural invitation to visitors to experiment by adding more substances to the speakers.

Good Vibrations was able to contribute to various aspects of the National Curriculum, including science, ICT, music and art. Good Vibrations was funded with a grant of £4.5K by the millennium Awards for all South West and hosted by Greendown Community School in West Swindon.