Seen but not Heard: contact microphones reveal hidden worlds

A world of sound exists beyond the limitations of human hearing. Insulated by our own auditory restrictions we are unaware of the multitude of sounds that envelope us: buildings reverberate, insects communicate, the earth groans. Sound continuously fills the air despite moments of stillness.

Following are 3 recordings made with contact microphones. On the day of recording the heat of the midday sun had suppressed any obvious sounds of life, however with the aid of contact microphones a hidden world was revealed:

A gentle breeze causes plants to brush against wires connected to this metal gate. Their impromptu composition is only heard with the use of contact microphones.

Ants walk along an insulated section of an electric fence. The sharp pulse of the fence is inaudible without the aid of contact microphones.

A metal cable connected to a branch conducts the sound of the tree moving in the wind. We hear the fluttering of leaves, the cable swaying, the branches bending.

Contact-microphones provide an experience that is unique among the senses. By extending our listening capabilities they reveal the unfamiliarity of familiar objects. As these inaudible waves of sound are unveiled one fact seems clear: there is no such thing as Silence.

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