Learning to Listen: Stephanie John
Over the past year we worked with a group of students and staff at the world-renowned Royal College of Art in London to develop a series of sonic design experiments, pushing the envelope of sound design and communication. Listen and find out more below. Check out the full collection here.
|Photos: Clayton Cavender|
Can you tell us something about your background?
I studied fashion at St Martin's and after 14 years as an image maker in the industry I came to the RCA to reflect and re-approach independent creative practice, and explore several ideas around landscape and mysticism I hadn’t time or space to focus on within my profession. I am now working as an artist with sound and music, and practicing as a designer and stylist in the fashion industry.
What inspires you to work with sound?
I was drawn to sound as a medium initially as a kind of antidote to the disposable digital image. I had witnessed a decline in the value of the photographic image in my industry and as a result a decline in the value of the image-maker. As a time-based, non-visual medium I find sound and particularly field recordings to be a way of cultivating attention – engaging my own ears and those of my audience, which for me re-introduces the idea of value of experience.
What is the concept behind your project and how did you make it?
The concept of the project was essentially an experiment in the translation of space and place. I wanted to create a track that experimented with depth of field, in a sonic sense. I made the recordings with a Fostex FR 2LE recorder and spaced omni mics. Each section has up to three tracks taken at different places within the same location. The aim was to create a cacophony, which was most like what our ears experience when we’re in a densely sonic place.
What have you learnt from listening to the world more closely?
Cultivating the art of listening I have found it quite remarkable the effect it has had on my day-to-day awareness and present-mindedness. Tuning into my sonic environment allows me to hear the symphonies and different colours in environmental sounds.