Auralex Acoustics has provided a key component of an innovative installation – known as “Silent Room” – at the 2016 South By Southwest (SXSW) festival in Austin, Texas, which took place from around March 11 to 20.
Those who have experienced South By Southwest know that it can quickly coalesce into a haze of noise over the busy 10 days, so Dutch artist Simon Heijdens created “Silent Room,” an anechoic space filtering out any sound or color.
Located in the heart of the festival’s main attractions and events, the Silent Room offers a break from the sensory overload of its surroundings.
Commissioned by SXSW, Silent Room was developed by Heijdens over the course of 2015 in collaboration with the Acoustics department of the University of Texas at Austin and Auralex Acoustics, who advised on and supplied the acoustical treatment solutions necessary for the room’s anechoic effect. Auralex products used in this installation include SheetBlok Sound Barrier, U-Boat Floor Floaters, Mineral Fiber and StopGap Acoustical Sealant.
The room is “a 40-foot-long matte black building, made fully soundproof and anechoic through an acoustic decoupling of spaces. Visitors pass through the space lit by a sole monochromic light, excluded from any other visual or audible manifestation but themselves – a rare, completely unmediated state. Eventually, as ears and senses adapt, in the monochrome silence the visitor becomes the sound,” as stated by the artist.
“Silent Room is effective as both a piece of insightful contemporary art and as a practical tool for festival participants,” stated Robb Wenner, Auralex technical marketing manager. “The anechoic chamber effect is something I have experienced several times in my life, and it is both soothing and unsettling in a way that encourages personal reflection. I have no doubt that Silent Room made a positive impact on many of the visitors, and Auralex was pleased to contribute to this provocative project.”