What does the Earth sound like? WhatsApp University graduates might tell you it makes the ‘Om’ sound as it rotates on its axis (or is that the sound the Sun is supposed to make? I forget), but scientists say it does have a distinct sound, and they’ve recorded it!
But why should scientists have all the fun?

Today I want to share an interactive digital artwork called Sound of The Earth: Chapter 3, by Yuri Suzuki. Under ‘Experiments with Google’, a project supported by our friendly neighbourhood corporate predator, Sound of The Earth uses machine learning to connect recorded submissions from around the globe, creating an evolving soundscape.

Once you launch the experiment on Google Arts and Culture, it gives you the option to record a sound and add to the soundscape. I let my laziness and self-obsession dominate my choice for a recorded submission – a clipping of my voice – singing a Tagore song. Once you go in there and add your recording, you hear it as part of a larger symphony of sounds recorded in and around that exact moment from other parts of the world – perhaps the patter of raindrops on a roof in an Indonesia smalltown, a cow mooing on a busy Karachi street, a kettle whistling in a British townhouse or a child calling her mother in an Algerian village.

I know we all lament over the “mob mentality” prevalent in our virtual places – the hatred, trolling and vitriol that is spouted every second of every day across the web. But through projects like these, we might find pockets of peace and wonder. For a moment, at least, we get to imagine a world where borders don’t have meaning, and we can briefly touch each others’ lives in intangible yet tangible ways.


P.S. I’d like to add another pair of sounds to the Sound of the Earth project – the sound of me saying “Please get your friends to subscribe to Just One Thing”, and you say, “Right away. Absolutely. Yes. On it.”