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Fantasy World: A Sonic Companion for perspective transformation

Fantasy World is a 14 min long “Sonic Companion” designed to be listened to during a supermarket shopping trip for generating a disorienting dilemma through transformative learning; conflicting visual and physical action, with the aural information presented. 

The project seeks to undo some of the wilful ignorance (agnotology) of our impact through our actions, which has been designed into our current dominant system of living. This prevents us to adapt our behaviour by gaining insights through feedback loops whereby we see and feel the effects of our everyday decisions.

The Sonic Companion seek to act as a small feedback loop where we can hear voices that sit upstream and downstream from us where we stand and act, gifting a perspective on the interconnectedness and co-evolving mutualism that we all depend on. Will we act differently with this new knowledge?

“We should never allow an anonymous object in our homes.
If we don’t know where it came from, who made it and where the money went, it’s actually a form of pollution in our lives,
because objects can help us make meaning. We just have to ask them.” 

- Zita Cobb, Shorefast

Listening to podcasts while carrying out mundane tasks such as cooking, commuting or shopping has seen a rise in popularity in I have decided to take advantage of this trend by creating Fantasy World, which is a 14 minute long listening experience that I describe as a “sonic companion” in this context. It is a discursive artefact that seeks to consensually shift engrained and agnotological consumption habits in caring consumers. It aims to promote agonism on the knotty topic of equitable lifestyles and presents an emerging design methodology that I believe sits across adversarial and ontological design.

In applying my practice of narrative sound design to design research, I wanted to explore how using this medium may go beyond awareness-raising around climate change communication and instead help facilitate systemic change. Through creating a space where sonic messaging conflicts with simultaneous actions in the built environment, the listening experience seeks to produce a disorienting dilemma for the purpose of generating epistemic change through transformative learning. 

The sonic companion is composed of selected audio-quotes from biologists, scholars, sustainability experts, citizens, animals, activists and corporate representatives, taken from publicly available sources. These are layered together with sound effects over a three-part structure to form a discursive sound-collage. The piece is divided into a three parts where the themes of the first two are ‘The illusion of choice and true cost’ and ‘true cost’ and ‘Our complex world’, and the last section promotes intrinsic value through caring calls-to-action.