Wiarda’s work imagines new ways of listening to sounds in the here and now, forms of attention that require the creation of new instruments and hearing apparatuses.

research and collaboration

In my work and in every project I search for various forms of expression by bringing together the different art forms, in particular contemporary composed music, improvised music, sound art, installation art, visual arts and/ or theater. I therefore collaborate with composers, sound artists, visual and performance-artists from all kinds of different backgrounds. An important aspect in my projects is working with research-institutes and making the knowledge already present in institutions and/or companies accessible to the knowledge-seekers; the artists. As a result, multidisciplinary projects arise and together we look for a dialogue with the environment and the boundaries of musical and visual parameters.


1. I aim to make connections between science, technology, the arts in the broadest sense of the word, nature and culture. A broad movement in which art and its research questions can come to innovative solutions through collaborations with each other and with other experts. It can be a laboratory for future-oriented, innovative and sustainable experiences/performances/projects in combination with the natural elements and the forces of nature.

2. I prefer to present the projects in open ‘free’ spaces, accessible and free for everyone. By letting the performances play in the ‘open’ space or in extraordinary places, you let their testimony resound in that place. You stimulate the auditory and visual spatial awareness of the audience. It is about the generosity in the action and the experience of the transdisciplinary art form, through which in my view, the public can enter into a boundless connection with its surroundings. The audience is with each other and together, art-loving or not; together in extraordinary places, with extraordinary collaborations that produce extraordinary events. All your senses are sharpened, the imagination is stimulated. Spaces speak of an unheard story. This creates contact with the environment and the other.

3. Giving a positive contribution to society.

‘To some degree it could be said that Wiarda’s practice rests on the reciprocity between highly specific, yet historically situated material objects on the one hand, and unpredictable, intangible sounds on the other. Yet even this dichotomy soon breaks down, because the sounds themselves resonate with the traces of how they were produced, and thus have a history of their own, while the objects give rise to their own uncertainties and inexactitudes. Wiarda plays imaginatively with the possibilities and meanings of sound, encouraging us to listen again to the objects and processes that surround us in our everyday lives, yet nonetheless have their own unique stories to tell.’

Nathan Thomas for Fluid Radio


I am fishing for sounds.


“I always work with materials where you can never get a ‘pure’ sound,” she asserts. “It’s always dependent upon how you break the charcoal, or how you break a tile or concrete, you can never do it in exactly the same way twice. So coincidence is always there. I think that’s very exciting. It asks you all the time, over and over again, to adapt to that particular moment. With the kite – I never went that far in that way before, you really don’t know what you are going to get! The sound goes up and down, sometimes silent or sometimes not. So everyone who is involved in my project is taking a risk. I didn’t know if everybody would say yes! For the composers it is the most stress. But I think they said yes to me because it is such a beautiful thing, a kite, and they like, maybe, the unpredictable.”


“In Victorian times, actually in England, scientists and philosophers were writing about sound, arguing that the spoken words of people, for example even Napoleon’s voice, were still there in the atmosphere. The words may have been reduced to small little particles, but they are still there. So I wanted to catch these voices, these sounds – it has to do a little bit with acoustic archaeology.”

the colour of sound

She points to a number of melon-sized globular objects sat on the workbench. “These are my Helmholtz resonators,” she says. “He [Herman L.F. von Helmholtz, (1821-1894)] invented them in the 1850s. And you could put them to your ear and listen to why the sound characteristics of a guitar are so different from a violin or from other instruments. Why do we recognise a guitar? Why do I recognise your voice? It’s so different from mine. What kinds of high tones and lower tones are in the sound, the frequencies of sound which make the sound colour of an instrument?”


“I work with vitreous porcelain, and also bone china,” Wiarda says, “to give warm sounds or sharp sounds. The vitreous china sounds a little bit softer. I don’t like it, I like the harshness. The bone china has a really nice, crisp, ‘kkgghhh’. And you don’t really hear what I’m saying when I’m talking [in the recording], but sometimes you have a sense of, “ssshhh”, “aaaah”, “hheee”, something like that. Vocals work the best, but I tried putting different sorts of instruments into it. Beats also work well.”


In ‘Pantagruel’ (1532) beschreef François Rabelais de geluiden van een winterse veldslag die als kringen in het water in ijs bevroren waren. Bij het intreden van de dooi kwamen ze weer vrij en lieten van zich horen. Een eeuw later schreef C. Sorel in een fictief reisverslag over een volk in een afgelegen gebied ‘zij communiceerden over lange afstanden door een boodschap in een spons te spreken’. De spons werd verstuurd. De ontvanger hield deze tegen het oor en kneep er zachtjes in om het bericht te beluisteren.