A few days ago, the European Space Agency issued a series of photographs taken in one of the agency’s anechoic chambers, in the “zone of silence” as the title of the press release says. So what is an anechoic chamber? It is an echo-free room where the walls coated with special materials absorb all reflections of sound or electromagnetic waves and insulate any noise coming from outside, thus it simulates a quiet open-space of infinite dimension, which is quite useful in the aerospace industry. Text and Images via io9. See more HERE
Ernst Moiré was a mysterious Swiss photographer whose career has been obscured by silence, documentary voids, and misinformation. So much of his life is shrouded in speculation and half-truths that he sometimes seems more like a phantasm than the flesh-and-blood figure who will forever be remembered as the inadvertent inventor of the blur that bears his name. In 2002, Cabinet magazine dispatched literary scholar and detective Lytle Shaw to Zurich to investigate the reclusive figure’s life and work. Shaw published his initial findings in Cabinet issue 7, but the puzzle of Moiré continued to vex him, and it is only now, a decade later, that the full story of his continuing investigation can finally be told. The Moiré Effect tracks the artist from his humble Alpine beginnings as the son of a postal clerk to his fateful founding of a Zurich photography studio in the 1890s and his subsequent role in the lives of a number of curious figures—including the legendary Dutch architect Mer Awsümbildungs, the theosophist philosopher Rudolph Steiner, and several members of the old and fiercely secretive Chadwick family. Hailed by Harry Mathews as a “complex” and “excitingly” written book bound to “delight” and “entertain,” Shaw’s thriller takes readers on a journey through the elegant salons of Swiss palazzi and the dusty bowels of ancient archives, finally ascending to a mountainous conclusion as hair-raising as it is bedevilingly oblique.
Excerpt from an article at Cabinet. Continue HERE
They say silence is golden – but there’s a room in the U.S that’s so quiet it becomes unbearable after a short time.
The longest that anyone has survived in the ‘anechoic chamber’ at Orfield Laboratories in South Minneapolis is just 45 minutes.
It’s 99.99 per cent sound absorbent and holds the Guinness World Record for the world’s quietest place, but stay there too long and you may start hallucinating.
‘When it’s quiet, ears will adapt. The quieter the room, the more things you hear. You’ll hear your heart beating, sometimes you can hear your lungs, hear your stomach gurgling loudly.
‘In the anechoic chamber, you become the sound.’
“A young monk came to live in the monastery where Ajahn Chah was practicing. The people who lived in the town outside the monastery were holding a series of festivals in which they sang and danced all night long. When the monks would rise at three thirty in the morning to begin their meditation, the parties from the night before would still be going strong. At last, one morning the young monk cried out to Ajahn Chah, ‘Venerable One, the noise is interrupting my practice — I can’t meditate with all this noise!; ‘The noise isn’t bothering you, ‘ Ajahn responded. ‘You are bothering the noise.’ As Lushtak put it to me, ‘Silence is not a function of what we think of as silence. It’s when my reaction is quiet. What’s silent is my protest against the way things are.”
Excerpt from “In Pursuit of Silence: Listening for Meaning in a World of Noise” by George Prochnik
IT’S SPRING WHEN I REALIZE that I may never have children, and around that time the thirteen-year cicadas return, burrowing out of neat, round holes in the ground to shed their larval shells, sprout wings, and fly to the treetops, filling the air with the sound of their singular purpose: reproduction. In the woods where I live, an area mostly protected from habitat destruction, the males’ mating song, a vibrating, whooshing, endless hum, a sound at once faraway and up-close, makes me feel like I am living inside a seashell.
Near the river, where the song is louder, their discarded larval shells—translucent amber bodies, weightless and eerie—crunch underfoot on my daily walks. Across the river, in a nest constructed near the top of a tall, spindly pine, bald eagles take turns caring for two new eaglets. Baby turtles, baby snakes, and ducklings appear on the water. Under my parents’ porch, three feral cats give birth in quick succession. And on the news, a miracle pregnancy: Jamani, an eleven-year-old female gorilla at the North Carolina Zoo, is expecting, the first gorilla pregnancy there in twenty-two years.
I visit my reproductive endocrinologist’s office in May and notice, in the air surrounding the concrete and steel hospital complex, a strange absence of sound. There are no tall trees to catch the wind or harbor the now incessant cicadas, and on the pedestrian bridge from the parking deck everyone walks quickly, head down, intent on making their appointments. In the waiting room, I test the leaf surface of a potted ficus with my fingernail and am reassured to find that it is real: green, living.
Excerpt from “The Art of Waiting” by Belle Boggs on Orion. Read HERE