Silence is a rare pleasure which is hard to come by in the today's fast paced world. The ubiquity of mobile computing, communications and technology have brought us to a point where silence has become somewhat unnerving. It is what we are not used to that makes us uneasy.
This project aims to compete with not only the mobile phone chatter but also with interpersonal physical chatter and extra-ambient noise that we create as “social” individuals. This is an attempt to establish a perimeter of relative silence through the vehicle of annoyance. Imagine a waiting room filled with the chatter of voices, crying of babes and rustling of movement. "Awkward Silence"(AS) sets out to respond to noise by creating a series of annoying shrieks in order to fill any empty silence spectrum in an area. When persons in close proximity disturb the silence enveloping AS, it kindly returns the favor by disturbing them. It sets out in doing so using high pitched sounds so that the sound becomes a penetrating weapon that may be picked up by mobile phone microphones thereby rendering them less useful for communication.
The hope is that when silence is granted AS becomes a focal point for thought. Silence is beautiful and through it an immediate community is created. Perhaps it is through the disdain for AS or possibly because of the awkwardness of silence among a group or even oneself. AS’s goal is to interrupt through silence.
The technical basis of this project stems from the electronic “cricket kit” which may be found at various retailers such as amazon here:
While this cricket kit is light sensitive the goal is to modify it to be acoustically sensitive. The kit may be found for less than $8 online and may be cheaper if self assembled. The remaining cost will be used for the enclosure of “AS” which will consider manufacturing processes, materials and acoustics. A possible prototype sketch would have it consist of a number of stacked hollow disks in an attempt to create volume and amplify the shrill cries. Should the budget allow LEDs may be integrated which activate when silence is encountered to create even more focus on the object itself.