Our visit to the mythic anechoic chamber!!

Wednesday we headed out to visit a real live anechoic chamber in Raleigh.  The anechoic chamber at Harvard University played an important role in American composer John Cage’s work and lead to the creation of one of his better known pieces, 4’33”.  Cage had been excited to experience a total absence of sound but found instead a racket created by nerves and blood flow normally masked by ambient noise.  So we had to try this.  It was as much of a pilgrimage as anything.  As for the sound of silence… VERY odd.  We heard the high pitched sizzle of the nervous system.  We seemed to hear the lower pitched rush of blood, but only when we plugged our ears.  Does that make any sense at all?  For me it was even more interesting to hear our voices with absolutely no room sound.  Leaving the chamber after 1/2 hour unveiled an incredible din of ambient sound I had easily ignored on the way to the chamber.  Here’s a few photos:

Triple solid core steel doors!

Three solid core steel doors to enter!  The last one about two feet thick!  Dr. Yun Jing, our kind tour guide, called the chamber the quietest place in NC.

these wedges are nearly 2 feet deep.  They seem to be fiberglass covered with cloth and steel mesh.

These wedges are nearly 2 feet deep. They seem to be fiberglass covered with cloth and steel mesh.

plugging ears to hear blood and joint noise

plugging ears to hear blood and joint noise

visualizing running out of gas on the way home

visualizing running out of gas on the way home

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