Updated proposal

The visualisation of speech Introduction

This project attempts to visualise speech using simple granular materials reacting to the sound of the human voice.

Context and audience

This project is concerned with the visualisation of sound. It was initially driven by my bilingual Greek/English background, and my unexplained tendency to subdivide words (or create new words with multiple meanings) using Greek and English vocabulary. My experiments began by tracing mouth movements using paint on paper to observe the shape that the mouth makes, when articulating each letter of the English alphabet. Further experimentation included recording various people speaking the alphabet using specific phrases to observe the difference between graphic representations of sound waves.

I used a variety of voices from different genders and cultural backgrounds from a mix of Greek and English speakers. My speakers were given two sentences, commonly used in elocution, which represent smooth and more powerful phraseology.

My finished project consists of the visualisation of my sound recordings. Sound is physical so I filmed the movement of granulated materials (cinnamon, salt, baby powder and coffee grains) on a thin surface placed on an amplifier reacting to my spoken recordings. My aim has been to open up the visualisation of speech to a wider audience through the communication of the shape, movement and rhythm of language to visually represent the difference in speech patterns. An important influence has been the work of Hans Jenny, ‘Cymatics’.

Methodology and research

My work involved observing how different kinds of granular material reacts to sound. The outcome involved the audiovisual recording of voice and materials using still and video camera and recording equipment. Contextual reference included art and design works relating to visual representation and the notation of sound and music.



These are the finals for my major project (below). I am printing 4 69.49×59.4cm prints.

Regarding the key table that will explain the speech represented in each one of the photos, I have decided to make one key table with the names and other info of the persons (below). This will fit in an A4 page and it will have the same proportions as the posters.

Also, above each one of the photos there will be a table indicating the phrase and the voice (male/female). This will make it easier for the people to read the images :

There will be also my footage which I will upload at a later stage on vimeo.

Post-(final)tutorial notes

I almost can’t believe this title.

Today I had the chance to test my footage on the projector and see how it looks big! I was kind of impressed, I think it really works projected on the wall. It makes you go closer and observe and it’s also easier to watch, as on the computer screen the two views confuse you. Projected is engaging for the viewer. These are some images I took:

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Overall I got back a good final feedback today.

I’m finally not including the slow motion videos as they don’t communicate anything, they’re just beautiful. They could develop as a different project.

Regarding the posters:

  • decided on the 70.12×59.4 one
  • A3 explanatory table
  • use some colour for the table
  • the table needs to be in the same proportions and grid as the posters, to communicate and make people understand that it actually explains every image
  • to achieve netter communication I could have the title/categories of the table in a separate part above the table, so the table on its own has the same size proportion as the posters.


Except the video, I will have the images I was taking from above, while I was filming. These will be presented in grids. I had 2-3 ideas but I quickly decided to make 4 A1 posters, each one showing one material. So that makes it 20 images per poster. I will also need an explanatory table, in the same proportions of the posters, to explain that each image represents the speech of every one of the persons I recorded.

These are two ideas for the posters:

And this is a rough start on the explanatory table:

Slow motion videos

I was working on my sequence these days (obviously) and on the idea to have the same videos in slow motion so I can make it more interesting. I spent a whole day to make only the salt videos. It seems that when slowing down the frames it takes ages to render. The slow motion videos could be after the normal speed series finish so it can break the dull sequence (although calling it dull is just my opinion because I’m too close to my project and I can’t understand if it’s interesting or not). I’m afraid I’m risking the possibility to overdress my project here. These are all the slow motion (only for the salt series) all together: