According to a conflab of statisticians and PR people, Monday 16 January is due to be the most depressing day of the year - Blue Monday. In response to this, audio artist Sam Griffin has created an installation which you'll find at the Architecture Foundation's Project Space in Southwark. Go there on Monday and perhaps it will cheer you up.
Entitled the The Olduvai Cliff, the installation will be filled with noises sounding at 111Hz, a frequency that, the artist claims, can cause the left and right hemispheres of the brain to swap functions. "This effect stimulates the portion of the brain that governs mood, and stimulates the release of beta endorphins - the neurotransmitter responsible for feelings of wellbeing and relaxation. It is also worth noting that as a sound, 111Hz is easily within the human vocal range," says Griffin.
Normally, we bring you very visual projects but as this is a piece of audio topography it's not surprising that the space is fairly sparse. However along with the artist's sound system, the area will be illuminated by a specially designed neon sign which Griffin is using as a planet-wide environmental statement. "This crypt finds its visual focal point in a neon outline of Buckminster Fuller’s Dymaxion Projection - the flattened version of the polyhedral shape created by the mathematician to display a map of the world. Here it is re-purposed as a religious symbol, geometric shorthand for Fuller’s holistic acknowledgement of the finite nature of natural resources," he says.
Griffin has set everything up so that the sound resonates perfectly within the space at the Architecture Foundation. Despite the potential for the audio to cheer you up, there seems to be some rather doom-laden thinking behind the work. The Olduvai Cliff from which the installation takes its name is a Malthusian theory about population growth and resources developed by Richard C Duncan. It proposes that 2012 will be the tipping point when the needs of humanity oustrip what our planet can provide. We can expect energy blackouts, and worse.
Does that cheer you up? If not try and make it down to Southwark to give your endorphins a sonic buzz. For those outside London, a trip to the pub might be your best bet.