Pink Noise Salon

A salon of wearables and other pink noise generators featuring a group hum

This comfortable salon invited people to lounge and listen to the ocean while wearing Shellphones, to tune into the pink noise pirate radio station, and listen to the pink noise lurking in the rhythms of the heart. Neuroscientist and founder of Inter Space, Tricia MacKenzie, Ph.D., spoke to the relevance of pink noise. The event concluded with a communal hum inspired by the Deep Listening practice of Pauline Olveros (with whom Misha and Caitlin studied).

​We continued the pink noise theme at the Shellphone Listening Lounge at the High Desert Test Sites Headquarters in Joshua Tree, California. We created a Google Cardboard Virtual Reality game that had players chase an audio-visual mirage of an oasis around the Sky Village Swap Meet.

We followed up the Pink Noise Salon with a Pink Noise Radio special that aired on KCHUNG Radio in Los Angeles. The hour long show featuring interviews with Dr. MacKenzie, artist Sarah Petersen, music by noise artists, and readings on psychoacoustic design can be listened to or downloaded via Soundcloud.

Pink noise is known to have relaxing, meditative effects. It is notable for its occurrence in nature: it’s in the sound of a heart beat, rain hitting the pavement, and ocean waves. It can also be generated electronically—such as for the calibration of audio equipment—but it should not be confused with white noise. White noise is the noise of every frequency driven at maximum energy often associated with the harsh machine-like hiss of static. Pink noise, on the other hand, features an inverse relationship between frequency and volume, so that as the sound gets higher pitched it becomes quieter, and the same amount of noise power is distributed to each octave. It is called pink noise because light with the same power spectrum would appear pink. The Pink Noise Salon also investigates the value of pink noise as a means of filtering cultural over-stimulation.

This is a project by Flux Artists-in-Residence Caitlin Foley and Misha Rabinovich in collaboration with Danny Crump, Jung In Jung, Will Owen, Julius Shmiedel, Tina Kohlmann, and Tricia MacKenzie.

The salon featured 9 installations ranging from wearables to video, pink food and drink, talks, and a public participatory performative aural mediation in the form of a communal hum. The group was led on a few humming and listening meditations inspired by Deep Listening techniques. People were asked to hum together for 5 minutes at a time and the sound was recorded by a stereo microphone. One side of the mic pointed into the center of the sound cave parabolic sound concentrator and one was pointed at the audience arranged in a semicircle. People were led through a test hum, a hum to imitate pink noise, and a trade off hum.