Making SOUND around the world

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A painting of a section of roadway with three cars driving along it

An exhibition of paintings set in a 3D soundscape is used to explore how technological advances have led to increased sound levels.

Can you imagine how different the world would sound without technology? Have you ever thought about the sounds you hear around you every day?

Researchers at the University of Edinburgh, led by Professor Clive Greated are promoting public awareness of increased sound levels in the environment that result from our use of technology, and how this affects our every-day lives. Following huge success in the UK, the project is now going global.


The central feature of the SOUND project is an exhibition of paintings by a Glasgow-based artist, set in a 3D soundscape.

Its aim is to promote public awareness of the ways in which technological advances have led to increased sound levels in the environment, how this affects our every-day lives, and what researchers are doing to address the associated scientific and environmental problems. The exhibition also explains the basic scientific concepts of sound waves, their propagation and measurement, and is supported by public lectures.

In its preliminary phase, the exhibition showed at six major centres in the UK: the Scottish Parliament, Dynamic Earth Edinburgh, Glasgow Science Centre, the Centre for Contemporary Arts Glasgow, the London Metropolitan University, and the Waterfront Gallery in Belfast.

Further funding

The National Physics lab recently joined the team, and the project has now received a further £61k award from EPSRC to embark on a second phase: SOUND goes global.

New venues are being sought both in the UK and abroad, with emphasis on large public spaces of international significance which will attract media coverage.

The exhibition was shown at the Venkatappa Gallery in Bangalore in spring 2008, where it was opened by the Associate Director of the Indian Institute of Science who said Education and art shows like this one help us accomplish our commitment to society. Technology is double-edged and art helps us reflect on its ill effects and propels us towards greener technology.

The exhibition received extensive coverage in international newspapers such as Times of India. In August 2008 it showed at the Palace of the Republic in Minsk and after that at the UK’s National Physical Laboratory.