Qatar Soundscape Player (Café Qatar)
3D printed audio player, 2019
A collaborative effort between O.K. Foundry and the VCUarts Qatar MFA in Design Program, the Qatar Soundscape Players depict the sounds of Qatar through use of coding and 3D printing. Users are free to maneuver the aluminum cover in four directions to produce a layered soundscape of Qatar.
This soundscape, Café Qatar, examines the social disparities of the country that often feel hidden in plain sight, simultaneously visible and invisible. The soundscape reflects this through the lens of Qatar’s café culture, using the ambient sounds of a café—sounds that typically sink into the background while we work and socialize—to subtly highlight the imbalances that exist in the country. The sound of women lightly speaking Arabic over coffee, a man shouting food orders Urdu, the clink of a porcelain teacup, the muted thud of a cardboard cup: contrasted subtleties. A closer look at the aluminum body reveals this same subtle contrast amongst the ridges, which appear to be identical until touched.
The 14 Soundscape Players will be presented in May 2021 at the European Cultural Centre during the Venice Biennale in the Palazzo Mora. The projects are part of the exhibition Time-Space-Existence, in a new section called Design & Innovation.