Wednesday, 14 March 2012

Learning Resources

I am developing a worksheet for our Learning Resources page. This page will hold a continually expanding archive of sounds and worksheets so that students can extend the Sonic Wallpaper project in your own way, and bring some of the ideas held here into your own practices.

The first worksheet is called "Textured Wallpaper" and deals with the audio generated by interviewing people about this wallpaper:

Wallpaper © Museum of Domestic Design & Architecture, Middlesex University – photographed by Felicity Ford

One person commented that - as a child - looking at paper like this would often inspire a fantasy of travelling through it. The idea of tracing a journey through the interweaving lines was inspired by the surface and the pattern, which become a bewildering maze as soon as one tries to traverse it in this way.

Another person described this wallpaper as being "serviceable" echoing the perspective of another interviewee, who commented that this sort of textured design "lasts forever".

There was much conversation regarding the kinds of environment - Edwardian house; Pub; Corridor - where such a design may be seen.

One person even spoke of wishing to colour it in, though - naturally - the rules surrounding the conservation of historic wallpaper samples at MoDA prevented anyone from acting on this!

The paper also inspired much speculation on the appeal of papers like this to children. Everyone who remembered such a paper from their childhood fondly recalled their obsession with picking at its embossed surface.

In terms of how I might develop these bits of conversation into Sonic Wallpaper, there are many options including recording the sounds of all things mentioned in the interviews:

painting wallpaper - the sound of a roller going over and over a piece of wallpaper, to make sure it gets into all the cracks
walking down a long, Edwardian corridor, possibly lined with tiles
chatter in an old pub somewhere in the South East end of London
colouring pencils colouring
the secretive sound of peeling bits of wallpaper off a wall

...then there is the somewhat more complex task of trying to create a sonic equivalent of this paper; i.e. a sound which would act as this paper acts, as a durable, lasting bit of texture which makes a room slightly less plain than a painted wall, and which inspires fantasies of travelling on paper, or the fear of overfussing things.

What on earth would such a sound sound like?

If you want to explore these ideas yourself, you can download all the sounds and the worksheet to help you through the process here! Happy Sonic Wallpapering!


  1. Fantastic resources - I am sure they will be of interest to readers. Fascinating Labelle article and stimulating questions.

  2. Thank you, Richard. I'd be so happy to hear from anyone who checks out the resources page!