Sound is Time Tangible

Justin Boyd: Sound and Time from Walley Films on Vimeo.

Justin Boyd, Department Chair of Sculpture and Integrated Media at Southwest School of Art, shares his connection with sound and how he uses it to create original works of art. Inspired by his sensitivity to sound at a very young age, Boyd has been recording and working with sound and music since the mid 90s. Boyd actively captures field recordings for integration of sound with found objects. This documentary was produced in association with Southwest School of Art. Learn more about their BFA program at


Sound seems one of the few ways to experience time. A semi-conscious, second tier sense, drifting along the margins – shadow, not light. The soundtrack to our film, as it were.

Like most semi-conscious senses, it’s tapped directly into memory. I remember the squeak and bang of the screen door of my grandmother’s house, always the same one-two rhythm.

I remember the sound of our mothers calling us home for dinner in the evenings, when I and my buddies were out fooling around in the twilight up in the mountains of the Carolinas. It was like a call to prayer at dusk. Each of us was tuned to a different call, but we knew them all.

I remember the metallic chimes of the ice cream truck, three blocks away.


Whippoorwills. And Quail.

Fiddle music, long after dark.


Seventeen Year Cicadas

 Seventeen Year Cicada, midway through transformation


direct Youtube link

A few days ago, the hatch of Magicicada Brood II began here in Virginia. These are the periodic cicadas on a 17 year cycle. It’s pretty amazing how many there are. They’re everywhere.

They’ve only started tuning up on their “singing” – in another week the noise will be deafening. Almost literally. At close range, a cicada can pump out 120 decibals. That’s enough to do permanent damage to your hearing.

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