Sound Mirrors | Socks Studio
A sound mirror (or acoustic mirror) is a device employed to reflect and concentrate sound waves. An experimentation on large scale acoustic mirrors has been run after WWI in Great Britain to detect incoming enemy aircrafts taking off on the other side of the English Channel. By enhancing the sound of enemy aircraft’s engines, the mirrors would have enabled the British defense to detect incoming airplanes fifteen minutes before they were visible.
Built between 1927-30, the sound mirrors were part of Britain’s national defense strategy, but they became rapidly obsolete due to the rapid increment in speed of the aircrafts and the invention of radar. The most famous examples of acoustic mirrors are preserved in Denge on the Dungeness peninsula in England. Three different kinds existed: two made of dishes of different proportions and one, a 70 m long curved wall. Headphones were placed at the foci of the reflectors enabling a listener to detect the sound of an aircraft.
"Sometimes you will never know the value of a moment, until it becomes a memory."
Theodor Seuss Geise (Dr. Seuss)
"I cannot forbear to mention among these precepts a new device for study which, although it may seem but trivial and almost ludicrous, is nevertheless extremely useful in arousing the mind to various inventions. And this is, when you look at a wall spotted with stains, or with a mixture of stones, if you have to devise some scene, you may discover a resemblance to various landscapes, beautified with mountains, rivers, rocks, trees, plains, wide valleys and hills in varied arrangement; or, again, you may see battles and figures in action; or strange faces and costumes, and an endless variety of objects, which you could reduce to complete and well drawn forms. And these appear on such walls confusedly, like the sound of bells in whose jangle you may find any name or word you choose to imagine."
Leonardo da Vinci
Gijs Van Vaerenbergh, a collaboration between young Belgian architects Pieterjan Gijs and Arnout Van Vaerenbergh, have built a see-through church in the Belgian region of Haspengouw. The church is a part of the Z-OUT project of Z33, house for contemporary art based in Hasselt, Belgium.
The church is 10 meters high and is made of 100 layers and 2000 columns of steel. Depending on the perspective of the viewer, the church is either perceived as a massive building or seems to dissolve – partly or entirely – in the landscape. On the other hand, looking at the landscape from within the church, the surrounding countryside is redefined by abstract lines.
The design of the church is based on the architecture of the multitude of churches in the region, but through the use of horizontal plates, the concept of the traditional church is transformed into a transparent object of art.
M. C. Escher, Covered Alley in Atrani, Coast of Amalfi, 1931. Wood engraving.