Date of Award

Spring 6-6-2021

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Fine Arts (MFA)


Digital Media

First Advisor

Shawn Greenlee

Second Advisor

Adela Goldbard

Third Advisor

Nora Khan


My work lives in the world of trees, lakes, oceans, sunrises, starlight, hurricanes, and mountains, the world centered on the rumbling sounds of the earth and water, the quiet roars of silence in the air, in space, in the depths beneath, and all that lives in between. In approaching this world, I have found myself unable to hear everything it shares. The hard to perceive, often soundless parts of environments — those facets of climate, the ground we stand on, the subtle changes in noise - are often unobserved, or under-observed, and underappreciated. I have cultivated a practice of seeking out the under-observed, and holding a conversation with them. Through building electronic instruments, I’ve developed and refined a practice of listening to the unhearable.

Within my thesis book, I seek to create a dynamic representation of the world I’ve explored. The intangible, often conflicting feelings of wonder, loss, contemplation, and frustration are embedded in short abstract vignettes. I’m interrogating, within the writing, the conversation with the world of the rumbling sounds and silence. The space where I fit in this world. I oscillate between these exercises of care ( for myself, for those who came before me, and for the Earth) and technical minutiae. It is through technical processes that I am able to create meaning in these spaces, so the exploration and explanation of the technical is a central component of my practice. Technology in itself is an idea, one I find best approached through the lens of democratizing and open sourcing. Everyone should be able to create the tools they dream of for understanding their world.

My instruments are tools that represent the unhearable and under-observed. They take data and transform it into something else, a recombination of the individual components into something unrecognizable yet familiar. Relationships and conversations are formed between the ground and my hands, weather data and the ethereal, weather data and movement, and sound samples and collapsed time. I have made either three and a half or four instruments while at RISD, depending on how you count them. They allow me to listen to that which cannot otherwise be heard. I continue to refine them, to improve the conversations. I ask the unhearable parts of environments how to listen to them, and, through the music of the instruments, they answer. Then I ask again, and continue to refine the process of creating a sonic world.

This book is an embodiment of a sonic world for the unheard.


View exhibition online: Ollie Rosario, listening to the unhearable



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