ASMR/SOUND DIARY

CHRISTINE ZHENG '20

I hope that this asmr/sound diary is one of the strangest things you've ever heard.  Autonomous sensory meridian response (ASMR) is a pleasant, tingling sensation in the head, scalp, back, or peripheral regions of the body in response to visual or auditory stimuli. Visual and auditory are the main stimuli that induce ASMR, although tactile, olfactory, and cognitive stimuli induce it as well. People love this stuff, check out the multitude of Youtube or Instagram videos of ASMR - it's not only therapeutic, but also just genuinely pleasant. 
For this project, I experimented with various auditory stimuli that are familiar in our everyday lives. We tend to dismiss them as they are subtle in their occurrences. Be it water boiling in a kettle or the crumbling of paper, all of these sounds can induce a pleasing sensation. To manipulate the triggering of ASMR, I counteract the various stimuli I recorded with some noises I created on a music production software. These noises are not necessarily pleasant; in fact, they might be downright disturbing and unsettling. They have no predictable pattern and are not supposed to make sense. This quality not only contrasts, but also amplifies the more familiar and understandable sounds, creating an intense experience.
Also, both the pleasant sounds and the not so pleasant ones can trigger the body to experience sensations ranging from hair-raising to warm-tinging, which is cool because it reveals just how receptive our body is to the stimuli of sound, whether those sounds are natural or not. Contrasting noises from our external environment with noises made from something unnatural - the music software - creates this peculiar internal experience, all the result of cognitive and temporal dissonance.
*listen with headphones