Learning to Listen: Virna Koutla
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 am originally trained as an architect. In fact I'd better say I AM an architect as everything that I have done until now, or am doing at the moment, relates to this. It is, let’s say, my background and foreground. I am an architect when I am studying, when I am working, when I am thinking about the world.
What inspires you to work with sound?
As an architect what I am always interested in and inspired by is space. In sound I discovered a new material to explore space. I discovered a new and exciting tool to work with: not only with concepts, but also with physical and spatial manifestations. Sound enables me to do this with pure intuition – no formal constraints besides the ones that my architectural background will throw at me subconsciously! Nothing inspires me more in this sense than the freedom of acting upon space.
What is the concept behind your project and how did you make it?
The project is called Thalassa which in Greek means ‘sea’ and essentially manifests my personal attachment to it. Growing up in Greece, I have always been surrounded by the sea. When I moved to London what I missed the most was not the sun – as most Greeks would say – but the sea. The thousands of its different states, the thousands of its different colours, the thousands of different stories that it holds. I wanted to sonify this mysticism of the sea that I have been encountering for the whole of my life. Making a custom-made instrument consisting of a single metal string and two rotating magnets that act as sound activators produces the project. The instrument makes use of the magnetic field generated to create an ambient soundscape.
What have you learnt from listening to the world more closely?
That the world is beautiful in its secrecy.