SAE Glasgow lecturer Nick Roan works on 'Human Echoes' sound piece for Glasgow School of Art exhibition

14 Oct 2019

SAE Glasgow’s expert lecturer Nick Roan has recently finished work on a sound piece called ‘Human Echoes’, which features interviews with the women who received the first ultrasounds in the 1960s. 

Alongside the editing and production, Nick also scored the piece. The sound piece is part of an exhibition at The Glasgow School of Art, which celebrates their contribution to the history and development of medical obstetrics ultrasound. 

In the late 50s and early 60s, Glasgow led the world in the development of diagnostic obstetric ultrasound, involving a unique collaborative effort between clinical obstetrics, engineering, electronic and design expertise. The exhibition celebrates this achievement, through the ‘Human Echoes’ sound piece, as well as a critical examination of drawing practice in the art academy and its role in informing the design, as well as the imaginings of future applications of the technology by Glasgow School of Art’s young product design engineering students. 

The exhibition was curated by Professor Alastair Macdonald, Senior Researcher School of Design at Glasgow School of Art. 

Nick and the others working on the project would like to secure funding in order to develop the ‘Human Echoes’ sound piece into a podcast, with a lot more topics that could be covered having emerged from the interviews with the women. 

Some of the setbacks Nick encountered whilst working on this piece included issues with noise and recording quality. He said: “Some time was spent figuring out how much processing and editing to carry out while still keeping realism and emotion. There was also some back and forthing with the style of the score. I made sure that I developed a workflow that would allow for quick changes as well as the ability to try out ideas. This involved working across both Pro Tools and Logic, in a style that would generally be used for film composition.” 

If you’re looking to embark on a similar project then make sure you set up an adaptable workflow that allows for change, said Nick. He added: “Directors/producers are likely to change their mind and want to hear things in different ways. It's really important that you can do this quickly.” 

The Ultrasonic Glasgow exhibition is on display at The Glasgow School of Art from 5 - 31 October, with a preview event that took place on 4 October.

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