MFA Thesis Advising 2017: Mona Makhlouf

Have you ever missed hearing your mother’s lullabies? Or wanted to hear your father’s comforting words during a time of stress? Mona Makhlouf’s thesis delves into the beauty of these intangible sound memories and transforms them into tangible (and beautiful) objects. Brilliant!

Check out Mona’s thesis and more great work at the upcoming BFA + MFA exhibition this Saturday, April 29 at 3 pm at VCUQatar. Looking forward to seeing you there! 


Thesis Title: Sound Perception: Encapsulating Intangible Voice Memories in a Physical Memento

Abstract: We live in a very busy world with a variety of sensory stimulation including the olfactory, visual, tactile, and auditory. The five senses are triggered by our surroundings and help us to form meaning about the world.ⅰ Based on where someone grows up, she or he is introduced to various sites and sounds, affecting how they interpret the world. Sounds relate meaning through the association between hearing, memory, and an event. Hearing is one of the learning processes, in which individuals give, receive, and store information. We typically rely on our five senses, which contribute to the process of understanding, communicating, and comprehending information. Moving beyond visual perception requires systematic attention to individual learning modalities.ⅱ Sound is one of the developing areas in the field of perception that moves beyond vision to help people understand nature, objects, narratives, and varieties of perception.

In order to comprehend how people hear, it is important to understand the role of perception. Sound functions as a signal, but also varies according to the capacity to hear. An individual’s physical ability to hear, and their unique experiences with sound, differ from one person to the next and can result in a range of emotions and reactions. Certain sounds, like the voice of a loved one, also have the power to trigger emotion and convey meaning due to the association between hearing, memory, and specific events from one›s past In short, the three aspects of sound perception–signal, hearing, and emotional reaction–play an integral role in auditory perception and the subjectivity of sound. However, the value of sound is often taken for granted or viewed as secondary to visual perception. This thesis will explore the value of sound perception by investigating two of its primary aspects–hearing and emotional response–in application to memory. Through a series of experiential objects, that trigger the senses. The aim is to utilize design to memorialize precious sounds in order to raise awareness about the emotional value of sound to the human experience.

First Advisor: Denielle Emans
Second Advisor: Thomas Modeen
Third Advisor: Rab McClure
Fourth Advisor: Sean Roberts

Read the full thesis document at: https://scholarscompass.vcu.edu/etd/4837/