why sound?

it screws with time

“I want to hear the meaning of the past, but I know that I can’t. Nevertheless, when I hear an instrument, I can imagine the physicality of the player playing it; in its echoes and resonances I can discern the physical space. I can feel the bass; I can move to the rhythm. The music engages my whole body, my whole imagination. Its associations with sounds, music, and tones I’ve heard before create a deep temporal experience, a system of embodied relationships between myself and the past.” Shawn Graham

Though it’s hard to explain, I want to work with sound because I feel like it will best embody the type of feeling(s) I want my project to create. I like that the same sound can conjure up different memories/images/sensations. I like that sounds can sound nostalgic, or futuristic, or otherworldly. And I like what sounds can make you feel (physically, psychologically, imaginarily).

“We can zoom into an image, but we can’t do that with sound.” Robert Kosara

We zoom in to see details, to make something clearer, or to be sure of something. Sound takes that immediate ability away. What happens when a sound isn’t what you think it is, but you’ll never know?

  • making data unfamiliar again
  • ‘auditory hallucination’: “This example shows how in any representation of data we can hear/see what is not, strictly speaking, there. We fill the holes with our own expectations.”

I’m still not sure what exactly what I want my project to say or be about. But these are the things (above and below) I’m thinking about, reading, and reflecting on.

to do:

  • tutorials here
  • read up on recho - - sadly only available in the US app store


“[…] a space is a combination of being a specific location at a specific time. I want to explore this relationship on many levels: The relation between the memory/past of a space and the present (psychometric architecture), resolution of space and time (compressing/stretching time, looking at the surroundings through a microscope), breaking up the linear relation of space/time through animation, timelapse, reshuffling of frames, layers of time in a single image etc.”

“I want to explore and interact with the environment using audiovisual media, to create a poetics of everyday life. This is partly inspired by ideas of the embodied mind from cognitive science, ideas from psychogeography about the individual’s relation to its environment, and expanded cinema.”

  • Soundscapes: A Historical Approach by José Iges
    • Going back to the Bey piece we read last week, and the idea of making people believe something extraordinary, I’m interested in the “falsehood” and “impossibility” Iges speaks of:

      “The soundscape presents us with a falsehood, or perhaps with an impossibility: it proposes an equivalence between the sounds of an environment, of a real given space, and these sounds once recorded and organised in the space of a sound work on a mono, stereo or multichannel support. If we do not accept this convention, the sounds of a soundscape cannot be seen to represent this basic acoustic reality.”

  • Historical Soundscape: Inquiring through sound
    • A collection of various student soundscape projects
    • Not really the best examples of great soundscape work, but interesting nonetheless
    • While listening to the one on Ava Gardner, the song “L-O-V-E” started playing to represent her relationship with Frank Sinatra. But of course, all I could think about was “The Parent Trap”

A few years ago, I made a piece called “The Soundtrack Dress” - - basically it was meant to place the wearer into their own, real-life romantic comedy. There were three different sensors that would trigger three different songs based on the physical state of the wearer – and that physical state would reflect specific cliché moments in a romcom: the first time the love interests lay eyes on each other, the first time they speak, when they finally kiss. But, of course, these sensors can be triggered whether or not you’re kissing or falling in love. There’s a certain loss of control even though it’s on your body. I’m thinking back to this project for inspiration as well, for alternative ways to carry sound with you (on you?) as you walk through the city.

Written on January 29, 2018