Her Long Black Hair

Photo 3 in Janet Cardiff’s soundwalk, Her Long Black Hair

“Is the sound of siren and car honking real?” This was my first reaction when my classmates Beverly, Jason and I started the soundwalk, Her Long Black Hair. The most similar experience I’ve ever had to soundwalk was probably the audio tour guide in a museum, but it’s never like this!

This soundwalk, created by Janet Cardiff, is recorded by the binaural technology. The result is very three-dimensional, and it creates an immersive experience blending the virtual and real worlds. You’re probably tired of the buzz words like VR and AR by now, but you wouldn’t believe how sound alone could do the same thing until you hear it yourself. I believe what makes the soundwalk successful is the careful and deliberate planning of timing and location. The coincidence, like hearing footsteps in the soundwalk and seeing people passing by in the real world at the same time, also helps to create an illusion to trick your mind.

When the soundwalk was finished, Jason stood in front of the pond for a bit. We tapped him on the shoulder, and he took off his headset and said, “I thought the ambient sounds of crickets and frogs was playing!”