Ambient domestic sound

Ruark Lewis

This article first appeared in NMA8 magazine.

What is registration

(a) If materials are plotted in an all encompassing multi-directional grid system, where the matrix is registered in multiple values - positive and negative, using calibrating devices so that the result is measured and is comparative, ie relative - then a universal condition may be formed and maintained.

(b) If depth of field were falsified in the cause of composite poetic dramas to the extent that they stage a literature of posed symbols, definition would be contained unable to shift, dissipate, enlarge, decrease, disperse, reform or deform, change or break apart within time.

(c) If a single object could be observed, it could manifest the materials of all other objects and display multiple characteristics unrelated even to its particular elements - and the object would measure, be weighed at, be disguised by and still equate to itself beyond any single facet. It can be relative, time-based, amorphous, yet flux prescribes the forecast of its appearance.

Such plotting could facilitate compositions, changing them from standard composition to superlative ones where all moments then oscillate or in fact appear invisible or are imperceptible and are blank.


Internal and external sound is contributing to the nature of the living environment. By recognising the domestic network of sound and noise produced; being alert and moving, agile yet unharnessed, we experience an original intention also as a diffused greyness. Within the `household', sounds are generated by variable objects and affects. As much domestic territory is engaged with numerous mechanical and electric devices, coupled with physical actions, climates, the dynamics of architecture, effecting cultural, spiritual and psychological states, we are able to create a further position that decides how best to direct the courses of any single object's force.

To replace the house, school and workplace (all connected by a lacework of streets and expressways) we can invent a system, in this case a graphic system that patterns characteristics, describing in order to illustrate adequately the sense of place. The familiar sounds are doors slamming; taps running water, leaves rustling, birds, the percussion of knives and forks, somewhere a radio or television, telephones, amplified musics, trains in the distance, a person next door coughing, sneezing, breathing and talking. All these elements maintain a force that extends beyond a specific application which concludes in a grey confusion. Individual elements or objects do not constitute great significance although as household effects they can be taken up from their familiar positions and rescheduled into a greater more deliberate sequence of action. Overall the potential to schedule action gives each element a more extensive life-plan and meaning.

By measuring the spatial relationships of elementary domestic sound, composition and construction is immediately assisted. A system is designed to order and then direct the value and measurement of sounds and noises. The system then facilitates a structure that incorporates thoughts and feeling within an act of interpretation. The domestic relationships are maintained and distilled in the accents of the compositional structure. Changes to the interrelationship of noise travelling within spatial divisions respond to the compositional intention. This process will systematically inform any further structure, saturating the identity from that environment of which it stems offering the foundation to any secondary structures. The intention of the underlying design is significant because of its architectural potential. The design effect of this nature is capable of manipulating the perceptibility of an environment by exact employment of a constructive procedure. With this investment the tormentor can make the suggestion that light waves maintain a much greater control over the elements and sounds that they emit or reflect upon.

The cause of retuning the structures of nature, (the remaking of the sequence of household actions) forecasts the destruction of the conventional value of instruments and orchestration. A retuned urban sprawl, the redevelopment of space as a gamelan city, is a fundamental object that all contemporary society will look forward to.

Ruark Lewis - Domestic Ambience at Cronulla
Domestic Ambience at Cronulla

Ambient domestic sound is a source for pure abstraction. In the registration of the initial intentions and its natural sequence, analysis may open another facet to our experiences of a nature of perception.

By enlisting urban domestic sounds and noise in this way, distinct and original spatial configurations that share a formal identity, can offer an unprepared audience a familiar pattern, and thus we may be able to go beyond the preposition of a logical material reading of the subject matter at hand.

© 2005 NMA Publications and Ruark Lewis.
Return to magazine index page.