The sound of rain isn’t merely the sound of water but of a complex milieu of material interactions.  These sounds are culturally specific, especially within urban environments. They are localized based on the material compositions of our structures and infrastructures. Sonometer recognizes this urban cultural and infrastructural dimension of the sound of rain and, subsequently, its absence.

Sonometer is made with simple rebar columns, trusses and cross bracing, tied together just like conventional scaffolding. But since the rebar doesn’t have standardized connections for a structure such as this, it takes on novel tectonics to hold itself.

The structure is covered in two layers: corrugated metal sheets and tarp. Their opposing slopes facilitate water drainage in two directions generating familiar sounds in the process. This water from the tarp then falls on five totemic objects, made of brass, copper, aluminum, sundried bricks, and clay which are purposely exposed to the elements. They receive the consistent drops of rain falling from the sky and the thicker beaded drops from the tarp, making sounds and smells accessible only in close proximity. The northern edge of the pavilion is covered by a plastic curtain that drapes comfortably down, providing shelter from horizontal rain. These double-layered plastic curtains also sandwich the exhibition panels, illuminated by hanging LED lights. When water hits the plastic, it forms a unique sound profile, especially the drops that fall from the northern tree cover.

Naturally, the corrosion of the rebar would happen quickly, and so would the calcification on the plastic curtains, generating weathering unique to monsoons. These weathering conditions would act as a register for past rains. The totemic objects would behave drastically differently when the rain refuses to fall - the metals would heat, and the bricks and pots would dry, thus materially marking its absence.

The pavilion uses readily available materials that hold cultural significance. These materials act as sonorous mediums for the affective qualities of falling rain, changing their meaning within this configuration. After the pavilion is pulled down, the totems would be placed in different parts of the site as silent mystical objects that have now been dissociated from their original commercial meanings.
Entry for the SEA 2024 Pavilion