LOS ANGELES — We all seek peace and quiet in our studio work. For some, the studio is a sacred place, where the work comes alive in solitude and silence. But can there be too much solitude and silence?
A study out of Orfield Laboratories in South Minneapolis suggests that we need some kind of noise. Their anechoic chamber is the quietest place on earth, absorbing some 99.99% of all sounds. With fiberglass wedges 3.3 feet thick, the room has almost no sound … except for that of your body. So says founder Steven Orfield, in an interview with MailOnline:
When it’s quiet, ears will adapt. The quieter the room, the more things you hear. You’ll hear your heart beating, sometimes you can hear your lungs, hear your stomach gurgling loudly.
In the anechoic chamber, you become the sound.
It makes sense. Despite the fantasy captured in Doug Wheeler’s cloud-like installation, most artists I know require some kind of aural stimulation while working in the studio. This is probably why artists are more than eager to share the music they’re listening to in the popular #StudioSounds hashtag. And why artists flock to shared studio spaces, even despite the noise.
It turns out that even just a little noise — whether it be honking horns or the trickle of a river — is comforting.