Pentagram’s Yuri Suzuki creates a crowdsourced sound archive of the pandemic era

The Dallas Museum of Art invites people worldwide to submit their own sounds to the artwork which will then be mapped onto a rendering of the globe.

23 April 2020

Pentagram partner and sound designer Yuri Suzuki has created a new artwork in collaboration with the Dallas Museum of Art which aims to capture the sounds of the pandemic across the world. Sound of the Earth: The Pandemic Chapter invites people from any country to submit their sounds to be part of the digital artwork. Be it cooking dinner at home to an ambulance passing by or online connections with loved ones, the artist is looking for all types of auditory experiences, which will be mapped onto a virtual rendering of the globe based on the location it is captured.

It is the latest iteration of his Sound of the Earth project, the most recent of which was part of the museum’s exhibition Speechless: Different by Design until it was closed early due to the Covid-19 emergency. In this piece, visitors could place their ear to the surface of a huge, dark, spherical sculpture and listen to sounds of various places around the globe. While this piece obviously cannot recreate that physically, the digital version will map the sounds and allow anyone around the world to interact with the piece.

Suzuki explains that the original piece aimed to “demonstrate how sound can connect and educate people in unexpected and extraordinary ways” and evoke “new and refreshing perceptions of these many locations across our beautiful and diverse planet”.

The museum comments that the new, digital piece will be a “living record of our unprecedented historical moment that evolves in real time,” and not unlike the original, hopes to foster empathy as well as “bridge the distance between us through the medium of sound”. Curator Sarah Schleuning explains further: “In this moment of tremendous change and uncertainty, we wanted to create an open platform for people to express themselves and to capture our shared experience of the fleeting moments around us during this period. Through our collective observations and the simple act of listening, we hope to provide participants with a moment of global shared empathy and a means of connection.”

The resulting work will go live on 4 May 2020 and you can submit your sounds here.

Suzuki also recently released the Easy Record Maker, an affordable DIY vinyl cutting machine that he hopes people will use to send sound messages to loved ones during lockdown.


Yuri Suzuki: Sound of the Earth Chapter 2, Dallas Museum of Art. Photo: John Smith.

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Yuri Suzuki: Sound of the Earth: The Pandemic Chapter

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Jenny Brewer

After five years as It’s Nice That’s news editor, Jenny became online editor in June 2021, overseeing the website’s daily editorial output.

Jenny is currently on maternity leave.

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