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Object Mediated Interactions

Purva Kundaje

Purva is an Architect and Designer who has worked within the field of architecture, interiors, set design and furniture. Her professional career enabled her to have a collaborative and critical approach towards design. 

She enjoys working with people across different disciplines, allowing her to explore and bring in a multidisciplinary mindset into her practice . Her work during her Masters at the Royal College of Art has primarily been on research driven interactions. 

EcoFiction is a project in form of an installation as the culmination of my interests and research into nature. In specific, I question and explore our expectations as humans from the planet and themes in human-centric viewership. Starting by looking at the spatial set up of zoos, the locus of my research became the sound experience on animal viewership and experience. My process of studying foley (the making of sound effects) relating to animals included exploration of sounds created by the friction of different materials. The research grew into an installation based live performance experienced in the dark.

My academic and professional life have shaped my desire to be an environmentally sensitive designer. From architecture, I have a keen focus on functionality which informs my design practice. I try to question my purpose as a designer and understand the responsibility of being one. My love of nature nature has been a significant motivation for my work. I enjoy working on experimental concepts that highlight things from a different perspective and generate discussion.

ECO-FICTION - The world of sounds — Intended to be heard over headsets.

Eco-fiction is an audio-sensory installation experience designed to explore realities of confinement, and their impact on captive animals within the zoo industry through reflecting on the authenticity of nature that we see around us. 90% of sound in nature documentaries is recreated in sound studios, often over-dubbing the reality of the encroachment of human habitats into those of wild animals. 

Simultaneously, in Zoos, interactions between captive animals and human visitors which are seen as ‘communication’ between species, are often displays of distress. The project unveils the spatial injustice of captivity through audio trickery and foley, to skew the way we perceive the authenticity of nature. 

Live testing
Live testing — Play of light and dark spaces using spotlights
Spacial Experience
Spacial Experience — The experience is set in a dark space with a reveal of the performers at the end. The image illustrates how the performers sit within a space while the viewers experience the sounds.

The project which started with research driven exploration of mental health in large captive animals termed Zoochosis, now reflects on it and talks about spacial injustice through audio trickery to skew the way we perceive the space. The purposeful use of elements from the animals natural habitat shields the reality of the animals condition.  The experience takes you into a space that immerses you into a zoo. You stand in a room with gorillas on the other side of the glass. 

The installation reflects on a few different things – besides spacial injustice it also reflects on our perception of nature and how it is heavily curated by us. Set in a dark space are sounds of nature, where visitors navigate the area through hearing. The end of the performance is a reveal of the foley objects. The image illustrates how the performers sit within a space while the viewers experience the sounds. 

Sound of wind — The leg operated turbine spins to create friction between fabric and wooden slats; sounds produced resemble that of heavy wind.
Sound of wind — This is often used to create wind sounds in movies, orchestras and musical theatre.
Sound of Birds — Created by putting together two aluminium cans is an object that sounds like birds. Each bird sound created in the video sounds nothing like an original birdsong. The 'chirp' like sound is enough to link one directly to a bird without the need for it being a real bird song. Through the making of this object I question the boundaries of our imagination.
Sounds of Footsteps — Heaviness and density has a corelation within sound. To create the heaviness of an animal - i had to use force and the ability of foam to absorb this force in a form of sound made it almost sound like an animal. This however was layered with rustling leaves and soil to create the impression of a live animal outside.

Photographed below are some of the objects used to create the sounds. WIP2021 gives more information on the art of foley and the types of materials used (click the link below).

Photography by Tian Gao

Performance by Vanice Cheung


Conceptual images showing the formation leading up to the installation. The image shows sounds heard through the performance as a visual guide denoting the time that each object is being played. It then shows how the speakers translate that sound within the space the guests experience.

Dynamic and playful experiments working with sounds recording with low tech equipments.

Featuring : Filipe Magalhaes, MengTian Zhang and Blake Carlson-Joshua


Objects found around the house and the wood workshop