Some time ago, I worked on a project for an interactive immersive installation that sought to challenge our perceptions of the environment in view of global warming and climate change. We developed an "oracle"-like installation, based on combining user-selected visual images with unexpected "outcome" images. Within the project, we sought to provide a soundtrack that would support the visuals without "subtracting" from them, as a "canned" track irregardless of image content chosen. After several attempts, using samples, ambient sounds, ambient sound mixes and specially composed music (all involving professionals), we decided that all the sound tracks we developed reduced the effect of the visuals, and we abandonned the sound track approach.
I've remained unsatisfied with our result - were we right to give up? Are there times when sound is not the answer? (We found that pretty well all sound combos generated their own "imagery" and that this "sound imagery" seemed to interfere with the visual imagery and its effects.) Or if we had worked harder, might we have been able to find a solution that involved sound? Recently, I've been thinking that perhaps the problem was that our sound was pre-recorded and hence "static" while our visuals varied for each "performance". Maybe the sound needed to vary too? We did try coming up with image-specific sounds, but getting them to work in combo wasn't any easier, either. We gave this up for lack of funds, but I often wonder if we couldn't have tried just a little harder to get an effective sound scenario.
The project has lain fallow for a while, but I am open to suggestions that may allow us to obtain additional funding and finish it. Does effective use of sound always enhance a performance?