Sound Walk

"No matter what form a soundwalk takes, its focus is to rediscover and reactivate our
sense of hearing." -- Hildegard Westerkamp, "Soundwalking"

Welcome to 185 Nassau Street. Join VIS225 on an auditory journey through the
building. This “sound walk” is best experienced in person, but you’ll find recordings of all
the sounds and instructions on this website. Begin on the first floor, carefully read the
instructions before embarking on each sound experience, and make sure to keep an
open mind.

1st Floor2nd Floor3rd FloorBasement

1st Floor

1. Reid Kairalla

Approach the white billboard and choose a pin. Then, place your ear to the billboard a few inches from
your chosen pin. Slowly and carefully remove and insert the pin. The pin is your pick, and the billboard is
your instrument.

2. Jerry Zhu

  1. Head into the lounge room.
  2. Turn towards the vending machine.
  3. Do not insert any money or enter in any code (unless you actually want to buy something, but why tho?)
  4. Press the return change button.
  5. Listen to the God awful sound the greedy thing makes as it demands to be fed more money.

WARNING: insert cash at your own risk

3. Henry McGrath

I recorded the sound of me pressing the buttons on a microwave in a particular rhythm. First slowly, then faster. Finally, I press the button to open the microwave door. That is all. A short and simple process … 

4. Alex Kim

Here in the Sculpture Studio you’ll find tubes of all kinds. Find a large blue ventilation tube, and run your fingers down its length with your ear pressed against it. Now run your fingers up the tube. With a friend, close your eyes as they run their hand along a blue tube, and along a white one. Listen for the difference—or the lack of a difference—in color.

15. Jeongmin Cho

This door is the entryway to your next sound. First, open the door on the left and place the door stop to leave the door held open. Wait for two minutes until the sound begins it’s composition. Enjoy the piece for as long as you want. Attempt to decipher its lyrics if desired, add a rhythm to it by using your body or the space around you, and see how the articulated rhythm echoes through the space around you. Interact with the sound by supplementing it with your own!


11. Zeina Mohamed

This building is full of interesting sounds, one of whom I found to contain a variety of pitches is the sound of the closing and opening of the window on the second floor. Use the elevator in the middle on the first level of Nassau 185 building, walk 4 steps out, face left, walk 2 steps and you will be facing the window. Open and close the window three times and you will hear the exact sound. We always refer to human beings as being aggressive; however, I found this sound to be really interesting as it created this feeling of object aggressiveness which could rarely refer to in our daily lives.

12. Sam Bartusek

Room of Clocks: 1. Identify all the clocks in this room. 2. Stand between two clocks that face
each other, facing perpendicular to the line connecting them, to create a stereo image with one
in each ear.

11: 1. Stand roughly northeast facing the corner, with the long stretch of hallway to your right
and the short stretch on your left. 2. Do not move or make noise for one minute and 58 seconds.
3. Move around; what is the source of each hum? Can you control them?

13/14. Njuguna Thande

1. This stairwell has a unique railing made of bars. Knock on a bar with your knuckles, as hard as you like.
Then try another, and then another. Make your own rhythm — the rails are your instrument.

2. If there’s one thing this building has a lot of, it’s cinderblocks. See what sounds you can get out of one in this stairwell. Try lifting the cinderblock about an inch off the ground, then dropping it. When it’s on the ground, try tipping it over to a different side. Try sliding it across the top stairwell landing.

7. Joshua Becker

  1. Stand on the stairwell side of the door.
  2. (Being careful not to block the door to anyone coming through) Hold your ear to the door to the right of the window.
  3. Slowly open the door knob up and down to hear the mechanical workings of the door.
8. Jeongmin Cho

This floorspace is unique in its unbalanced installment, lending itself to the creation of spectrum of sounds. Start from the staircase entryway to the third-floor. Take five slow steps forward, while absorbing the sounds as you interact with the floorspace. Walk in a circle around the space. Try adding force by hopping or standing on one foot instead of two. Create your rhythm and explore the variety of pitches and their harmony!

9. Tess Jacobson

The microwave on the third floor makes a very small clicking noise after it’s been used. To make the sound, run the microwave on high for 15 seconds. Open the door and listen for the small clicks inside the microwave itself. Listen until the clicks are more than 3 seconds apart (like popcorn!).


5. David Exumé

5. In the basement, head into the boiler room. There’s some kind of machine chugging away – follow the sound until you find the source. Sometimes the door is locked. Try knocking politely to see if anyone is there. If it’s locked, try mimicking the sound you heard here by knocking on the door.

6. Room of Clocks

Room of Clocks – 1. Identify all the clocks in the room. 2. Stand between two clocks facing each other, facing perpendicular to the line connecting them, to create a stereo image with one in each ear.  (*collective class contribution.)

This soundwalk was created by the students in Jess Rowland's Sound Art class. Each student contributed (at least) one sound location to the exploration of the auditory environment of the visual arts building, 185 Nassau st. We then compiled the overall journey collectively. Follow the instructions on this site, or chose your own path. Either way, feel free to enjoy the sound journey presented here.


Use the tabs to select a floor of 185 Nassau, then expand each soundwalk "site" for instructions and audio clips.