Dr. Jessica Argo MDes Sound for Moving Image, BA (Hons) Painting

Job Title:

Programme Leader, BDes Sound for the Moving Image




Ripple, for Bring Your Own Beamer, The Whisky Bond, Glasgow.
Work by Jessica Argo

Ripple, for Bring Your Own Beamer, The Whisky Bond, Glasgow.


Dr. Jessica Argo

I create immersive spatial soundscapes (with 3D visualisation) to trigger questioning in the audience’s psyche, surpassing the current trend of sensory rehabilitation to temporarily soothe, instead providing an enveloping exposure therapy. I will collect neuroimagery, biodata, choreographic tracking and verbal feedback from the audience, finding signs of emotional purification from exposing the audience’s ears, eyes and minds to assaulting or temporally challenging stimuli.

The sensory rehabilitation field has tried and tested the effect of music and natural ambient sound, however synthesised sounds are not commonly applied. Synthesised timbres can seem abrasive and inorganic, discouraging therapists from using them for rehabilitation; current studies seem to prioritise temporary soothing qualities rather than stimulation or sonic intrigue. There seems to be an emphasis on the visual in sensory rehabilitation; videos of natural idyll (ocean waves and forests) or digitally generated environments. “Soothing” music and natural soundscapes can temporarily reduce stress and anxiety in a post-operation patient, and escapism into a sensorial opposite (immersing a burns patient in a virtual reality “snow world scene”) can distract from pain.

However, rather than merely offer avoidance or distraction techniques, I propose more cathartic, confrontational methods of exposure therapy through heightened sensory simulation, specifically to alleviate and identify the underlying source of anxiety, depression and post-traumatic stress, to encourage freer discussion in counseling, through sonic reminders embedded in the soundscape. Using immersive, simulation soundscapes to reconstruct the frightening sensations of neurological disorder in a safe, controlled environment can help users learn to live and fight through the panic, or encourage an awakening from the sensory numbness of depression.

These compositions could also spread awareness of the physicality of mental illness by replicating sufferers’ altered sense-perception (rather than attempts at verbal explanation) facilitating empathy from non-sufferers. This could reduce stigma of the less visibly understood mental disorders.

I see a void in current research that needs to be filled - testing the emotional and embodied cognitive effects of spatial sound composition. Researchers are testing the emotional arousal induced by hearing a voice in a composition, but not an animated voice that moves around the listener, becoming a haunting physical presence.


RIPPLE for BRING YOUR OWN BEAMER, The Whisky Bond, Glasgow, 2013.
PHASE, Embassy Gallery, Edinburgh, 2013.
CURVING for CAMARADAS Competition, Mexican Embassy, London. 2013.
JESSICA ARGO: SYNAESTHETICS, Institute of Jamais Vu, London, March 2013.
HEARING, SEEING AND IMAGINING: MUSIC AND THE VISUAL ARTS, IMHSD Conference, Herstmonceux Castle, East Sussex, England, August 2012.
KOLLEKTIV Max Cooper, Chambre 69, Glasgow. November 2011.
SOLAR PAVILION, St Andrew’s Square, Edinburgh. September 2011.
ULC FOUNDATION FUNDRAISER, John David Mooney Foundation, Chicago, 2011
ART CHICAGO, John David Mooney Foundation, Chicago, 2011.
KOLLEKTIV Fabrizio Maurizi, the Vic, Glasgow School of Art, 2011.
AELYN BELYN, Matthew Bown Gallerie, Berlin, 2010.

See Jessica's work and experience:;