About Sonic Wallpaper

This winter artist Felicity Ford will be drawing on the MoDA wallpaper collection for inspiration for a new project. Sonic Wallpaper explores wallpaper from auditory and social perspectives, asking what would it be like if we decorated our homes with sounds?

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

To explore this question, a selection of MoDA wallpaper samples will be presented to invited guests, whose conversations about those samples will form the basis for a series of innovative audio works. Willing volunteers will be encouraged to imagine the different MoDA wallpapers in their homes, and to think about the effects the wallpaper might have in different rooms. Their responses – “no, too loud,” “too bright,” “too busy,” “I love that, it’s very calm,” “I love the birds on this design,” etc. – will then be sensitively edited, and sounds will be collected and added in so that it seems as if the discussions relate to an imaginary, Sonic Wallpaper, as well as to the wallpapers in MoDA’s collection which can be seen.

The main concept is that while we talk about the way our rooms will look when we are consulting wallpaper sample books or looking at shade cards, we do not often talk about how they would sound. Extending the familiar rituals of browsing wallpapers and talking about likes/dislikes and the effects of the wallpapers into sound-pieces will hopefully invite people browsing the collection to imagine what it would be like if rolls of sound could be acquired for papering our home-buildings with audible content, as well as with colours, pictures and textures.

There will also be opportunities for you to interact with the MoDA wallpaper samples through channels such as Audioboo, Twitter and Facebook, and it is hoped that the soundscapes which are created in response to these papers will enhance their meaning as objects of domestic fantasy and creativity.