Currently showing at the Museum is Sound and Matter in Design which explores the connection between sound and the world of design. From this point of departure we set out to see the graduate exhibitions and lent an ear to projects in which sound plays a significant role. Alongside engagement with social issues and the interest in material, texture, color, and diverse media, the graduates chose to shift sound to center stage, viewed it as a source of inspiration, represented it visually, and transformed the abstract into the concrete.
In the project by Nida Assaliya (Department of Photography, WIZO Haifa Academy of Design and Education) sound is not only background music but also a representation of culture. In her film Hassan Muhammad Jabareen, Assaliya, a native of Umm al-Fahm, is seen walking in her childhood landscapes holding her infant son and covered in a heavy coat. Her protracted walk concludes with the song Oyfn Weg Shteyt A Boym by Yiddish poet, playwright, and author Itzik Manger, performed by Nechama Hendel. The song, which was written in Warsaw in 1928, refers to the popular motif of the wandering Jew who aspires to reach Eretz Israel. The words of the song are screened in the form of Hebrew and English subtitles. Alongside the distinction and contrast the sound creates between the cultures, the film also underscores the similarity in the connection between mother and son, whatever the culture, nationality, or religion.
In the project by Ofek Wasserman (Department of Industrial Design, Shenkar College of Engineering and Design) sound is both subject and raw material. Wasserman employed two reverse concepts: visualization (of sound) and audiozation (of an object), and through them he also attempted to define for himself the product he designed. In his final project, ReSound, he ultimately combined interaction design with the world of electronic music in order to create an audio experience and the creation of new music - more convenient and tangible. The product comprises a portable sampler which is used to sample sounds from the environment. It enables the recording, storing, and playing of only one sound. Added to the sampler is a stationary station that enables the recorded sound to be processed and directly combined with the track already being processed on a computer.
[Ofek Wasserman | Photograph: Ahikam Ben Yosef]
Like Wasserman's project, Groove by Omri Kaufmann (Department of Industrial Design, Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design) enables sound recording yet does not function as a product in itself, but rather as an accessory in the form of a cover for a smartphone that performs this function for many of us in our everyday life. Groove upgrades technologies and features embedded in smartphones, and also exploits the trend of sharing on the web. It enables the user to rapidly record a musical idea, add tracks, and share it with other musicians. The familiar visual sketchbook from the world of design is borrowed into the world of music and becomes digital, readily available, and vocal.
[Omri Kaufmann | Photograph: Oded Antman]
In Do-It-Yourself Loudspeakers Galia Lael (Department of Industrial Design, HIT-Holon Institute of Technology) engages with the appearance of products based on "open design" that enables information sharing. Objects of this kind are mainly produced by makers who focus on ease and convenience of manufacture, performance, and assembly of the file. According to Lael, like the loudspeakers, these objects suffer from "typical maker esthetics". Moreover, she claims that her specific choice of loudspeakers stems from the fact that the visual aspect of these objects also tends to be secondary.
[Galia Lael | Photograph: Guy Ben Atar]
Writing is a visual representation of sound, translation of a language's sounds into letters. Rolit, the typeface designed by G. Rothschild and Z. Lippmann and which appears in The Art of Hebrew Lettering (L.F. Toby), is a calligraphic typeface referenced in the typographic project Manual Rolit by Moshe Basrawi (Department of Visual Communication, WIZO Haifa Academy of Design and Education). Basrawi used jazz music as a point of departure and source of inspiration to create a cursive Hebrew typeface. The main principles of the music style - fluidity, improvisation, and rhythm - gained expression in the new systems of signs he created, and especially in the freedom of its expressive writing on the wall that blends classic calligraphy and graffiti.
[Rolit typeface, photograph from The Art of Hebrew Lettering]
The project by Ruti Zaslavsky (Department of Visual Communication, Shenkar College of Engineering and Design), Expressive Notation, also engages with typography and music, and focuses on the sensations music arouses in us. To the existing system of musical notes that refers only to the note's pitch and duration Zaslavsky added a series of three additional signs that complete it and enable expression of three expressive components that accompany playing or listening to music: emotion, posture, and breathing.
[Ruti Zaslavsky | Photograph: Courtesy of PR Shenkar]
In an era in which a picture is worth a thousand words, it is not self-evident that an element such as sound, which is based on time and requires lingering, is part of the toolbox of designers from different fields. Sound evokes inspiration, motivates to action, creates a twist in the plot, and despite its abstractness is particularly present. And it seems that in the world of design "every sound matters".