Sounding Paper

Gesturally Sensitive, Sounding Paper


The goal of this residency is to create a poetically composed essay in the physical form of manipulable sheets of material that feel like paper but can emit speech-quality sound modulated by touch and pressure.   To be concrete, we will make a limited edition of a 14-page essay “Q Is for Quicken” realized as a printed object in which the content of some pages is heard, not read.   This work’s magic comes from sheets of physical paper that speak or sing when handled or touched.   A design goal is to break the gimmicky limit of greeting card + sound on a chip, and discover more poetic gestural modulation of paper animated by sound / haptic transducers and touch sensing.

 Project Trailer

Research Questions

What new gestural repertoires idiomatic to “sensate, animated paper” emerge when we can break from interaction design locked to the legacy of GUI’s with the idea of a screen and pointy “pointing device”?   What can we adapt, for example, from (un)folding, rolling, kneading, as well as pressing with any part(s) of the body?   What can we adapt from the state of the art in the gestural modulation of sound and the highly advanced technologies of gesture and motion-based interaction for musical expression, but detached from their usual device-centric context of musical instruments, and transposed to the ancient analog habits of manipulating paper, felt, textile, and parchment?  How do the corporeal-symbolic practices of sketching, drawing, writing, and reading (image) and listening open up and blend, beyond the conventional distinctions of their respective grammatological functions?   This is a risky project because we really cannot tell until we make and try out some of these sensate, animated substrates, at least in prototype form.

Calligraphy Study

**For more information on the Q Is for Quicken sounding paper project, visit the website.

**For broadsheet, click here.


Sha Xin Wei: Concept, Research, Design Lead | Director of Synthesis & AME

Oana Suteu Khintirian: Cultural Research, Visual and Material Design | Montréal

Thierry Dumont: Tangible Media, Physical Computing | Montréal

Navid Navab: Sonic Behavior, Gesture & Sound Artist, Electronics & Software | Montréal

Chris Peter Wood: Designer, Electronics & Sound Instruments | Queen Mary University, London