An Electronic Musician’s Quest to Reimagine Hospital Soundscapes
When Washington, D.C.–based electronic musician and sound engineer Yoko Sen fell ill and was hospitalized for multiple days, in 2014, she was unnerved—but not because of the potential trajectory of her ailment. Instead, the disquiet stemmed from the sounds she heard in the hospital: a cacophony of alarms, beeps, people screaming, and doors slamming. Because Sen is a musician, the disturbances manifested in a very acute way. “The beeps translated in my head as, ‘Oh, this is a B flat, and this is F sharp, and this is E flat,’” she says. When two or three beeps occurred at the same time, they often created an unsettling dissonance.