Architectural design values often consider the experience of a space to be primarily visual, and yet from the point of view of the beholder space is a holistic sensory experience. Moreover, while vision allows us to perceive static environments, sound adds a temporal dimension enabling us to experience how a space changes over time. Sound transforms a space into a dynamic experience with respect to both the space and the interaction of bodies within the space.
wEAR is an experimental headset which integrates sound isolating ear muffs with a stereo headset and binaural mics. As a platform for acoustic sensorial intervention wEAR provides a means to manipulate how an environment is heard. One possible direction for the hardware would be to develop its potential as a device to empower a wearer with the ability to manipulate their own sonic environment. The wearer would be able to personalize their auditory experience by either highlighting or filtering sonic attributes of natural sound. Beyond this potentially commercial direction for the headset, wEAR can be also be used to formulate specific research questions involving how hearing impacts one’s relationship to an environment. An initial experiment planned for the headset involves fragmenting the experience of sound from that of vision. An accelerometer/gyroscope will be used to translate head motion to how sound is perceived. Both delay and frequency filtration will sever the natural connection between the eye and ear and potentially expose previously hidden details.