Visible Silence


There are still places in our noisy society where silence plays a central role. In the quiet environments of libraries, churches and museums fine sounds appear, sounds that we usually wouldn’t notice. But how does silence sound, and what would it look like if we could see it? We have chosen to register and observe these hidden sounds from different quiet places and present them in our visual interpretation.

The sounds that can be found at these silent places is recorded, the frequencies are analyzed and quantized  into the tonality of  a musical scale. These frequencies are translated from the audible spectrum of sound to the visual spectrum of colors. The result is a graphic interpretations of silence.

Visible Silence is a project by Livia Petré and Johan Bergman.

In order to explore if not only visual patterns is hidden in the sounds of silence, but also music, Håkan Lidbo was given the sound from an empty auditorium – and re-shaped that into music. Rather strange music, but nevertheless music. The first section of the music is the recording from the  silent environment, then it changes into a tonal translation, followed by a musical translation,  or interpretation, where each tone has been given a certain sound. This music explores the hidden rhythmic patterns that can be found in seemingly silence environments.

Here is the music.

Here is a pdf with the different steps of the visualization.


Visible Silence was presented as an exam project as Bergh School Of Communication and then at Voltfestivalen 2011.

Here is a piece of music made by Håkan Lidbo, based on the visualisations of silence made by Livia Petre and Johan Bergman.