Parsons The New School for Design Ambient, Case study SoundAffects by Mono


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Industry Education
Media Ambient, Case study
Market United States
Agency Mono
Production Tellart
Released June 2011


One Show 2012
One Show Interactive Interactive Advertising / Environmental/Experiential - Single Merit

Credits & Description

Category: Best Use of Audio
Product/Service: EDUCATION
Agency: MONO
Creative Director: (Mono)
Art Direction: (Mono)
Designer: (Mono)
Writer: (Mono)
Website And Sound Engineer: (Tellart)
Wall Production: (PD Solid)
Video Production: (Crash + Sues)
Media placement: Physical Installation - Fifth Avenue, Manhattan, NYC - May 14, 2011

Insights, Strategy & the Idea
Parsons The New School for Design wanted to start a conversation about the role of design in a world of increasingly complex challenges. While the idea of design as a process used to tackle complex, societal problems is not new in design and academic communities, it’s still novel to the general public. We set out to establish thought leadership in design with a wider audience, drawing attention to the kinds of thinking that go on at Parsons. The audience included prospective students, design-minded people and organisations interested in taking part in a broader conversation about design.

Creative Execution
Our goal was to change the way people thought about design. More than just aesthetically pleasing furniture or fashion, design is a holistic problem-solving process capable of tackling some of the world's biggest challenges by examining them in new ways. To do this, we created an interactive experience taking the everyday events of a New York City block ranging from weather and traffic, to people walking and talking on their phones, and transforming them into a real-time musical soundtrack. Our "sound wall" generated a real-time musical and visual interpretation of a New York City block. Listeners could plug their headphones directly into the wall or listen and watch online. We used twitter to alert people about interesting events influencing the music including our own "experiments" aimed at disrupting natural city flow.

Results and Effectiveness
The results from SoundAffects were measured through largely qualitative means. The disturbance created at street level as well as the realtime website generated buzz throughout social media and an array of web publications including Wired, PSFK, Creativity, Gothamist, and Communication Arts. But more importantly, we made the music and data from SoundAffects open source. This allowed everyone, including students and professors at Parsons to have free access to all the information during and after the 2-week experience. A video created about the work is currently used to help recruit students and faculty.