Caroll/ Fletcher Gallery

Being deaf in a world of sound is like living in a foreign country blindly following the cultural rules, customs, and behaviours without ever questioning them … Sound is almost like money and power. It’s so powerful that it could either disempower me and my art, or empower me.

I chose to be empowered.

-Christine Sun Kim

I participated in Sum Kim’s “Game of Skill 1.0″ . Christine Sun Kim is a deaf artist who created an interactive sound installation where visitors were asked to use a walkietalkie type of equipment and slide the aerial down a wire which when touched by the walkietalkie emitted a sound.

According to the program note visitors were supposed to hear a text written by Sun Kim where she describes her experience of borrowing the voice of an interpreter in order to communicate verbally.   However I could not comprehend the voice n the wire as it was fragmented and not all the time very audible. Despite this, the interactive nature made it an enjoyable piece of art.


Adam Basanta

In the room downstairs, I discovered Adam Basanta’s, “The Sound of Empty Space” exhibition. He created a beautiful piece  called ” The loudest sound in the room experienced very quietly”. The artist wanted to portray sounds in a controlled environment. Next door “A Room listening to itself” consisted of eight speaker cones hanging from the ceiling and eight microphones with leads. This was not my favourite piece in the exhibition as it was not switched on but was instead just a room with sound objects which was not particularly exciting to me. It would have been more intriguing if the objects delivered some sonic material.


Mikhail Karikis

Karikis produced a film entitled “The Children of Unquiet.”  It is about an abandoned power plant in which the artist trained the children living near the powerplant to sing, imitating the sound of the industrial machinery. The children filmed read out passages from a book written by the Italian philosopher Antonio Negri which discussed productivity and love. The main theme from this film is its slogan “Love is the institution of revolution.” The cinematography was excellent. The colours of the childrens’ clothes and the shot of a misty mountain were very aesthetically pleasing. The name of this area is Devil’s Valley and it was here that Dante found inspiration for his book “Inferno.”




Today’s I Ching reading

Here are the results for the I Ching after asking how my motivation would improve.




Kuei Mei / A Loveless Marriage
The Thunderstorm inseminates the swelling Lake, then moves on where the Lake cannot follow:
The Superior Person views passing trials in the light of Eternal Truths.
Any action will prove unfortunate.
Nothing furthers.


This is at best a Marriage of Convenience.
You have found yourself in desperate straits, a position of weakness, and you are tempted to pay dearly for a remedy.
A drowning man isn’t picky about who throws him a rope.
The rescue offered to you now is undesirable.
It may pull you out of this sticky situation, but it will cause even greater predicaments down the road.
Don’t obligate yourself in this way.
You are selling your future for a quick fix today.

Throwing the I Ching

I came across an online version of the I Ching, inspired by John Cage’s use of it which is detailed in my dissertation. John Cage used the I Ching a lot to determine how he wanted his musical pieces to be. It relies on chance operations through the tossing of coins or sticks. I have decided to use it daily and see how it guides my work progress. This is today’s results, after asking: how should I write my dissertation?

The site is here:

Cast Hexagram: 24

Fu / Return
Thunder regenerates deep within Earth’s womb:
Sage rulers recognized that the end of Earth’s seasonal cycle was also the starting point of a new year and a time for dormancy.
They closed the passes at the Solstice to enforce a rest from commerce and activity.
The ruler himself did not travel.

You have passed this way before but you are not regressing.
This is progress, for the cycle now repeats itself, and this time you are aware that it truly is a cycle.
The return of old familiars is welcome.
You can be as sure of this cycle as you are that seven days bring the start of a new week.
Use this dormancy phase to plan which direction you will grow.


You are about to experience a rebirth — about to be given another chance, a new lease on life.
You have persevered, gone the distance through an entire cycle — through the Spring of hope or new passion, through a Summer of growth and building, only to be sacrificed like the archetypal Harvest King at the Autumn reaping.
You lie dormant like seed beneath Winter snows now, healing and absorbing new energies in preparation for the new young Spring coming shortly to your life.


In addition to recording blood pressures of people listening before and after to soothing music and fast music I also did the same experiment but recorded the heartrate rather than blood pressure. I used some special equipment, utilising a digital stethoscope which is suitable for Ipads and Iphones which records the heartrate and also shows a waveform display. More information on this product can be found here:

With this equipment I recorded the heartrate of someone listening to soothing and fast music, in addition to recording their wave forms.

Below is the heartrate for someone after they have listened to soothing music:


Here is the results of the heartrate recorded after someone listened to fast music:

I also recorded some charts on my phone of someone listening to soothing music and fast music. Below is heart rate recorded for someone who listened to soothing music:



Here is the result recorded of someone after listening to fast music:




Blood Pressure Experiments

I used a blood pressure monitor to carry out some experiments on the affect of music on the heart. The model I used was called OMRON M2 Basic Intellisense Automatic blood Pressure Monitor.  I wanted to research whether relaxing music has a tangible effect on the human blood pressure and heart rate. Thus I decided to monitor the heartbeat of someone after listening to soothing music, and then compare it to the results of someone listening to fast music.

Each subject’s vital signs were recorded on arrival to create a base-line: the subject was then made to sit down and feel comfortable with headphones in, listening to a track of their choice which was soothing. At the end of the piece the blood pressure and heart-rate was checked once again and recorded and differences noted. Some minutes after this the participant’s music was changed and this time a much faster piece of music was played to them. They were allowed to tap their feet and click their fingers in time to the music. At the end of this their vital signs (heart rate and blood pressure)  were taken once more and differences were recorded.


TEST 1: Graham O Donnell, 13th Jan, 12:19pm

On arrival the subject’s BP was 142/85 and pulse rate 76.  Sitting back comfortably he listened to his chosen song “Dark Turn of Mind” by Gillian Welch a laid-back acoustic number.  Afterwards his BP was 119/76 a substantial difference in systolic pressure and heart-rate 75. A couple of minutes later Dave Rawlings Machine-“The Last Pharaoh” was played to the subject. This song had a much faster tempo and when checked afterwards his BP was 121/78  and pulse 77.


(Gillian Welch – good for your health?)


TEST 2: Min Chua-Lee, 13th Jan, 12:49

My blood pressure on arrival was 109/72 and pulse rate 91. I chose to listen to “Overgrown” by James Blake, a relaxed piece of ambient electronica. I also listened to Blake’s “I am sold.” I was sitting up on a chair in the library whilst listening to them. After this my blood pressure was 105/79 and my pulse was 89. Soon after I played “Mastermind” by Mindless Self Indulgence and I remained motionless.  My vital signs were taken: My BP was 108/75 and my pulse was 89.  After this I walked outside the university and had a marlboro cigarette and then returning back to the library my blood pressure was taken again: it was 131/ 64 for my BP and my pulse was 94.

I now intend to analyse these two tests and further data which I will record over the coming weeks. The experiments portray that Blood pressure does indeed increase after listening to fast music, and relaxing music has a beneficial effect on one’s physiological state, decreasing blood pressure and heart-rates.

At this point the results of the test prove that slow relaxing music influences blood pressure and heart rates, but where the fast music affects heartbeat, the results so far are inconclusive and the experiments will continue. I have asked volunteers to assist over the coming weeks.


(James Blake)





For my music and health project I read “Musicophilia” by Oliver Sachs. The author discusses the idea of “musical seizures”, giving some case studies: one which was particularly striking to me was the situation of a woman from Naples. Everytime she heard her country’s theme song she would have convulsions. Another interesting example was of a man who encountered a near death experience. He was struck by lightning one day, and after this experience became engrossed in music.