The Sound of Humanity

Ian De Santis, Mattia Magliocchetti, The Sound of Humanity, wood, CNC engraving, plexiglass, dynamic LED lighting, variable size up to 200×300 cm, 2023

The Sound of Humanity is a project created in collaboration with Mattia Magliocchetti, the head of Mali Factory. It was ranked among the finalists in the fourth edition of Artefici del nostro tempo – Creators of our time, in the Urban Furniture Design category. This initiative was launched by the Municipality of Venice, in collaboration with the Musei Civici di Venezia Foundation, Padiglione Venezia della Biennale, Forte Marghera Foundation and Venis Spa. The theme of the competition was The Laboratory of the Future, echoing the title of the 18th Architecture Biennale.

The work draws loose inspiration from the Pioneer Plaque (1972-73), a symbolic artifact designed by Carl Sagan, launched into space to communicate with potential extraterrestrial life forms. This plaque featured a representation of the Solar System. Beginning with that image, The Sound of Humanity refocuses the intended recipient back to Man on Earth, whose biological foundation lies in DNA. The aim, therefore, is to depict human activity through symbolic imagery. In the rebus, the senses of Sight and Hearing are heavily engaged in musical and choreographic activities, with the latter expressed through Dance. The choice of poses isn’t arbitrary: the humanoids are derived from an image generated by Artificial Intelligence. Another resource bolstering the work is How Musical is Man? by John Blacking, an essay exploring the concept of human musicality and music as a universal medium to express and share experiences. The final project manifests as a CNC-made wood engraving, scalable (max size 2x3m), paired with animated LED backlighting (fade on/off, pulsation).