The Sounds of Sand

Did you ever realize that sand can have a sound? And that it can even sing?

Organisator Studium Generale

ma 27 mei 2019 12:30 tot 13:30

Locatie Impulse, gebouwnummer 115

Did you ever realize that sand can have a sound? And that it can even sing? During this lunch event, a scientist and an artist share their fascinating experiences of discovering and examining the sounds of sand.

The Sounds of Sand from the Dutch Shores

Science can make sand sing – come and find out how! Saskia van Ruth, Professor Food Authenticity and Integrity, reveals how listening to the sounds of sand from Dutch shores using sound spectroscopy provides information on its provenance. Can we really hear from which beach the sand is originating from? Discover how that sound is measured. Why does sand from North Holland sound very differently from sand from Zeeland? And how come a food professor stepped aside and worked on the sound of sand?

Singing Sands

Multimedia artist Lotte Geeven examined the special phenomenon of acoustic sand: sand that sings, whistles, whines and roars. She went on a quest for this ‘singing sand’: she travelled to several deserts to find it, and requested local residents in the rare remote desert areas where the mysterious sand can be found to send her samples of it. Find out how this collaborative collection activity brought together singing sand from all around the world, and resulted in a public sound artwork. And to what extent is it possible to conduct these sand symphonies? Listen to what happens if you let an orchestra interpret this sound – with a mesmerizing result. Lotte will introduce and show the short film Score which she created of this adventurous artistic endeavour, allowing you to experience it yourself.

About Saskia van Ruth

Saskia van Ruth

Prof.dr.ir. Saskia van Ruth is Professor of Food Authenticity and Integrity at Wageningen University & Research. She is involved in research on factors leading to food integrity infringements and is committed to the discovery of features that determine the identity of products. The latter can subsequently be used to develop authentication methods. She has a background in food and analytical chemistry as well as chemometrics.

About Lotte Geeven

Lotte Geeven

Lotte Geeven is a multimedia artist. She creates adventurous portraits of the human relation to intangible abstracts such as the sky or the earth. In search for places where this relation deviates she travels the world. On site – helped by specialists – she studies and reveals the mechanisms of our attempts to understand and control these complex matters. The minimal portraits stemming from these researches suggests another position towards matter we think we understand; a position that accepts the mystery of things as such. Geeven does not believe in a creative handwriting but lets the location dictate the form and medium of the work. Her work was shown in several museums and galleries in New York, Berlin, London, China, Japan, Indonesia and Canada. In 2010, Geeven was awarded with the Illy Prize, a prize for most innovative artist.

About The World of Sand (21-28 May)

Sand. Ordinary and incredibly diverse. Beautiful. Omnipresent and becoming scarce at the same time. In this theme week, Studium Generale explores the many aspects of this versatile material. What it looks like, how it sounds, how we source it, what you can do with it and, especially, its growing scarcity and the consequences this has.

Did you know that sand is the most consumed raw material on earth after fresh water? And that your smartphone wouldn’t exist without it? It is used for buildings, infrastructure, glass, computers, cosmetics and detergents – omnipresent things in our daily lives. With visions of deserts in your mind it might be hard to imagine, but did you ever realize that sand is a finite source, and actually becoming scarcer? And that the increasing pressure on this resource may have serious implications, ranging from sand conflicts and ecological destruction, to compromised food production and flood protection?

Delve into the everyday and at the same time unknown world of sand, and explore its special nature and role from various angles. Admire its beauty and diversity, and find out why sand has so many different uses. Discover where we get it from and how we extract it. Learn about the social and ecological effects of sand extraction, and discuss what role science and policy could play in promoting sustainable sand use.