Lawrence Abu Hamdan


When your voice travels through the air it bounces against the objects in your vicinity and causes tiny vibrations on their surface. A group of scientists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) demonstrated on high-speed video that these vibrations can be returned to their original sound. In this way an everyday object – a glass of water, a pot, a box of tissues, a bag of chips – can be made into a recording device. ‘A visual microphone’ according to the MIT researchers. With this technology the micro-vibrations of the human voice can be analyzed to determine whether someone is telling the truth, for example.

In his installation Lawrence Abu Hamdan shows how the use of this technique can turn everyday utensils into listening devices, aimed to keep us under surveillance. Are we moving toward a world in which we have to be wary of our ‘sonic footprint’?