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Sonic Sense Palette: Waterline

Waterline is a vibrational composition rendered as a sound clip that was made whilst following the potentials that the sonic proposes for inquiring more oceanically into human-ocean relations. The sound clip is designed for human dis-comfort. It opens toward oceanic communication and highlights imperceptibility. The clip both contains and uncontains - it is possible and impossible to sense within it through the act of listening.


This clip traces the unnruly edges of human perceptibility at the shoreline. It works through proximal listening-care, noticing what has been silenced by over-determined terra understandings of sound. It asks what binaries need clearing to sense within the medium of water.

At times, the barely perceptible tick of the incredibly powerful sonic blasts of snapping shrimp can be heard in the kelp forests. These crustaceans produce one of the loudest sounds on the planet, setting off heat almost as hot as the surface of the sun. This sonic phenomenon has been appropriated by the military and is now scaled for use in seismic blasting, effectively destroying shrimp colonies and large scale multispecies and spiritual life along the coastlines. The clip notices the relationship between silence, perception and noise.


The composition also contains dense diffracting sound waves that, while inaudible to human hearing range, vibrate a thickness in water that can be felt if you stick your finger in.

A range of sensing is explored that asks what it means to "listen" to the ocean at the shoreline. In its vastness, the clip allows for a drifting experience with-in the ecotones of the not-all-known. The listener is invited to sense what moves the silence and the noise. Listening here means listening to a listening-in of a world filled with multi-species sounds, (un)perceptability and the potentials for perceiving otherwise.

Sonic Sense Palette: hydro vibrations, snapping shrimp, sine waves, shore waves, multi species communities, ecotones, tech water distortions, the apparatus speaks

Hydrophone and field recordings of ecotones around the shipping port and False Bay in Cape Town, South Africa, 2021

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