The reason I chose to take this class is that the pandemic has made me realize that science and art are inevitably connected. I wanted my final project to reflect the pandemic, a moment in time where art and science have never influenced each other more. I have a few ideas that I want to explore for the final, which I haven’t narrowed down yet.
During the pandemic, people have found solace in creating and appreciating art. The beginnings of the pandemic saw a surge in the creation and appreciation of art. For example, Etsy reported a 95% increase in searches for wall art from March-December 2020, as compared to the previous year. I also found many digital galleries of pandemic art, which seek to conceptualize a medical crisis into art, as a coping mechanism. I’m also interested in the history of art during plagues, such as how Black Death and even AIDS have influenced art movements. While my research so far has focused on visual art, I am also open to looking at how the pandemic has influenced other forms of art, including music, writing, and even baking.
2. The Pandemic Soundscape
Our lecture and assignment on sound really influenced me. As a musician, I recognize the importance of sound and music in relation to mood, stress-levels, among others. But the assignments reminded me of the importance of ambient sounds in the background as well as vibrations at frequencies that we can’t perceive, all of which still influence us. In class, it surprised me that the students reacted so strongly to the sound of the Bruinwalk crossing.
I was reading an article from the New York Times about the sounds of the pandemic – how the complete shutdown of human activity resulted in some unexpected sounds. For example, without noise pollution, oceanographers are trying to measure ambient ocean sound. There have been digital exhibitions from sound artists on the pandemic, and websites mimicking the sounds of crowded bars in an attempt to reduce feelings of isolation. While this is still in the idea stage, I would research the effects of ambient sounds on stress levels, in order to understand the impact of quarantine and isolation through the lens of sound. I also want to look at the reduction of noise pollution to explore the impact of human sound on the environment.