Seeing Sound (2011)

Curated by Vincent Byrne
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The digital age has afforded humanity with new ways of creating and visualizing sound and, ultimately, music. The way that people interact with sound and produce music has reached the point of limitless possibility as digital forms capable of recording or synthesizing any noise imaginable start to become available. These works each signify a way of representing sound digitally or using digital components to create sound. Dust Serenade shows the possibilities of representing vibrations. Using digital concepts, synths, and waveforms,the project is then performed with non-digital components allowing viewers to view the physical effects of the sound in a way that is reminiscent of dynamic computer visualizations. The Web Midifier takes the code for certain sites and translates it into a jumble of noise. On rare occasions, however, it produces a strange and haunting, arythmic yet harmonic quality. Using the database for something other than its intended purpose is a truly remarkable effort, and it is interesting to be able to find an aurally stimulating purpose for what is intended to be a visualization of data. A SoaPOPera for Laptops/iMacs features computers responding to human sonic input. Not only do the computers interact with human speech, but they also respond to music by singing along. In this instance, human-generated sound is being represented digitally with the computer's own voice. Dialtones (A Telesymphony) creates not only a database of users' cell phones, but the collaboration of digital components to form something greater than the sum of its parts. Here, digital devices are used specifically as instruments. With each performance, different phones would be used, changing the quality of the symphony. Nio is an earlier web attempt at collecting musical elements together and allowing them to be restructured at the will of the user. The a capella vocal melodies can be synced or unsynced and grow upon each other in the order that they are chosen, creating a wholly unique experience nearly every time. This shows the beginning of the era in which people began to realize the power of digital technology in collecting sound as data.

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