The Mill’s ‘See Sound’ at The World Economic Forum 2020

Thought February 28, 2020

How can we use technology to democratize art-making?


As part of our exploration in the world of augmented art, this question led us to develop See Sound; a tool that listens to the nuances of the human voice and uses distortion, timbre, volume, pitch, plosives, and dynamic change to create bespoke, jewel-like digital sculptures.


Continuing our collaboration with leading vocal experimentalist, technologist and artist Harry Yeff (Reeps100), this winter we took See Sound to the prestigious World Economic Forum in Davos to demonstrate the power of visualizing the human voice and importance of artistic expression.


The World Economic Forum is a seminal event that brings together leaders in varying fields who are developing ideas that are shaping the future of humanity. By bringing together a diverse crowd of visionaries, the forum aims to create a space in which leading minds can clash, collaborate and discuss ideas and tools to benefit the world as a whole.


Harry Yeff was invited on-stage to close the 50th anniversary of the Davos-based forum, for which he wanted to communicate a powerful message about the importance of speaking up and using our collective voices for good. By using The Mill’s See Sound, Yeff was able to develop a three-part audio-visual experience that was inspired by ceremony and the collective human voice.


Yeff’s work is responsive to an ongoing investigation into the evolution of the human voice and how this relates to art, and science. He comments, “At Davos we wanted to explore the concept of giving the world a voice. It was important to me to demonstrate the fact that we don’t use our voices to their maximum capacity, therefore we explored connection, ceremony and the extremes of the human vocal technique to represent the expressive potential of the human voice in a performative way.”


The three-part, chant-like musical performance was accompanied by live visuals generated by See Sound; a visual representation of vocalizing design into existence.


View the full performance here: Closing Concert: Voices of Light

“The voice being manifested in a physical representation of vocal composition through See Sound and the immediacy of having the human voice be turned into something so tangible and beautiful just shows how much of an impact optics can have on a sensory level. See Sound as a tool represents a true augmentation between classical live performance, contemporary music and creative technology. See Sound is a beautiful manifestation of voice, humanity, and tech.”
Harry Yeff (Reeps100)