| Transurban Innovation Grant
Transformation 2: Microtonal soundmass
When discussing this transformation participants emphasised its capacity to evoke spatial
qualities. They referred to it as 'echoey' something that changed 'the feel of the space
around my body', and enveloping. For most this experience was questionable in some
ways, and they described it in this sense as tense, intense, uncomfortable, invasive,
penetrating and even sinister in one case. It was also described as 'at odds with the space',
and its strangeness in this sense was emphasised when another participant referred to its
'science fiction feel'.
Transformation 3: Seaside
This transformation was generally considered pleasant and to resemble a 'natural
environment'. One participant used the natural metaphors of 'waves' or 'whooshing
through the trees', and here the sound was seen to seep into the soundscape to fill in
the gaps. One participant said that it sounded like the traffic and this person focused on
trying to hear the difference, while another said it was 'too similar to the traffic noise and
they merge'. Even a participant who was not so keen on this sound felt it was 'a better fit to
the environment'. However the extent to which this sound was popular also depended on
individual expectations or desires of the participants. Those whose evaluations were less
positive related to this sound being less 'interesting', but nevertheless concurred in many
ways with those of the participants who preferred this sound. For example a participant
who felt it was like background white noise, at the same time told us that 'I feel it cuts it all
and blends [the road noise] ...it evens it all out a little bit' and another felt that they would
not notice it if it was in the park.
Transformation 4: Pan-diatonic soundmass
The final transformation was understood by participants as being more complex and they
more often emphasised that the felt this was composed soundscape, or piece of music.
One participant imagined that the traffic participated as a small part of this composition.
In relation to this they said that it reminded them of a combination of natural and musical
sounds, such as: it being flowing, moving the breeze and the trees; wind chimes; chanting
and bells; it sounded musical; and it was uplifting. Participants also noted a sense of
'resonance' the idea of being underwater, said the sound was calm/calming, relaxed and
immersive. Generally participants had a positive experience of this sound transformation,
while one participant felt that it imposed sound on him.
Participants tended to concur in relation to the experience of each sound transformation. In
general they were in favour of sound transformation as an enhancement of the experience
of the park in relation to traffic noise. Sound transformation was appreciated for its 'natural'
feel, and often understood as a composition rather than a live transformation.
Sound transformation involves a process of creating value out of something that was
previously an annoyance. The value or potential value of sound transformation lies mainly
in its capacity to create more pleasant versions of existing annoyances, and to make
relaxing, and calming environments.