Category: Media and technology

Top Secret by Rimini Protokoll

A locative audio work that explores the idea of surveillance within the context of the museum.
What do states keep secret? What secrets do other states attempt to uncover with their intelligence services? How is this information passed on, compiled, evaluated? When can state secrets become valuable currency? The value of every piece of information changes at the very moment it is shared with someone else: when does it become worthless?…Continue Reading Top Secret by Rimini Protokoll

Kevin Beasley – A view of a landscape

Kevin Beasley engages with the legacy of the American South through an installation that centers on a cotton gin motor from Maplesville, Alabama. In operation from 1940 to 1973, the motor powered the gins that separated cotton seeds from fiber. Here, the New York-based artist uses it to generate sound as if it were a musical instrument, creating space for visual and aural contemplation. …Continue Reading Kevin Beasley – A view of a landscape

The Beeping, Gargling History of Gaming’s Most Iconic Sounds

THE BOUNCY BEEPS of Pac-Man. The percussive build-up in Legend of Zelda. The effusive gibberish of The Sims. The sounds in videogames tell us to speed up, start over, and of course, to keep playing. But how does one set of beeps so effectively tell you you’ve gained power, while another indicates your character has died? And how, exactly, does someone create the sound of the Dark Knight punching the Joker in the face? The answer: Genius sound design….Continue Reading The Beeping, Gargling History of Gaming’s Most Iconic Sounds

Audible Spaces: Exhibition explores physicality of sound

Audible Spaces presents three sound installations that encourage participants to explore the subtleties of listening. Tristan Perich, Zarouhie Abdalian, and [The User] have each created immersive environments using seemingly uniform sounds that dissolve into tonal, tactile, and temporal variations as participants engage with them….Continue Reading Audible Spaces: Exhibition explores physicality of sound

John Oswald – Plunderphonic mashups

John Oswald’s piece de resistance. Twenty minutes of some of the most insane editing, cross-fading, beat matching, cultural name dropping and sampling. No other work even comes close to the intensity of Plexure. John Oswald proves he is a virtuoso of Pro Tools, over a thousand different artists edited, spliced and mixed together….Continue Reading John Oswald – Plunderphonic mashups

Sound All Around: The Continuing Evolution of 3D Audio

Close your eyes and think about the last time you were at a gig. How did it sound? The band is rocking out on stage, your friends are talking in a group over to your left, a busboy says “excuse me” as he slides past your right shoulder, and the din of the crowd is…Continue Reading Sound All Around: The Continuing Evolution of 3D Audio

Dial Tone-Inspired Sound Art – Aura Satz

The dial tone, that curious electronic sound of latent communication, is the subject of two ongoing telephonic sound art pieces by Aura Satz. The first piece is currently showing at the Hayward Gallery’s Mirrorcity exihibition, which features work by London-based artists who are influenced by sci-fi, new speculative philosophies, and the internet age.  …Continue Reading Dial Tone-Inspired Sound Art – Aura Satz

Behaves So Strangely

For those of us who have trouble staying in tune when we sing, Deutsch has some exciting news. The problem might not be your ears, but your language. She tells us about tone languages, such as Mandarin and Vietnamese, which rely on pitch to convey the meaning of a word. Turns out speakers of tone languages are exponentially more inclined to have absolute (AKA ‘perfect’) pitch. And, nope, English isn’t one of them. …Continue Reading Behaves So Strangely

British Library Says 6.5 Million Sounds Are in Jeopardy

Luke McKernan, lead curator of news and moving image, wrote in the January 12 announcement: “Archival consensus internationally is that we have approximately 15 years in which to save our sound collections by digitising them before they become unreadable and are effectively lost.” The recordings date back to the 1880s, including everything from the voices of…Continue Reading British Library Says 6.5 Million Sounds Are in Jeopardy

99% Invisible -Episode 148: The Sizzle

The first trademark for a sound in the United States was issued in 1978 to NBC for their chimes. MGM has a sound trademark for their roaring lion, as does 20th Century Fox for their trumpet fanfare. Harley Davidson tried to trademark the sound of their motorcycles, but after years of litigation, they finally withdrew their application. Right now…Continue Reading 99% Invisible -Episode 148: The Sizzle

The Field Recordist – Film

Lawrence Barker has finished his audiovisual autobiography, The Field Recordist. This film is a personal reflection of my own passion for audio field recording over the past 45 years. All film audio is from recorded narrative and original captured field recordings and does not contain fabricated or synthesized audio, or non-field recorded music. Any layered audio tracks will be individually recognised, such…Continue Reading The Field Recordist – Film

A Beginner’s Guide To…Field Recording

The history of field recording is central to the development of electronic music, with artists – from Eno through Scanner to Burial – drawing on its theories and strategies to create distinctive soundworlds. Lawrence English – boss of the long-running Room40 imprint, and the man behind this year’s exceptional Wilderness of Mirrors – presents this beginner’s guide to…Continue Reading A Beginner’s Guide To…Field Recording

This Man Can Hear Wi-Fi

Writer Frank Swain has been able to hear Wi-Fi signals for the past week, and no, it’s not “the result of a sudden mutation or years of transcendental meditation,” he says. Swain wears a special hearing device that gives him the ability to translate wireless frequencies into sounds. Alongside sound artist Daniel Jones, Swain created…Continue Reading This Man Can Hear Wi-Fi

Extracting audio from visual information

Algorithm recovers speech from the vibrations of a potato-chip bag filmed through soundproof glass. Researchers at MIT, Microsoft, and Adobe have developed an algorithm that can reconstruct an audio signal by analyzing minute vibrations of objects depicted in video. In one set of experiments, they were able to recover intelligible speech from the vibrations of…Continue Reading Extracting audio from visual information

Tactile Transducers

Also known as Surface Transducers and other things… “Surface transducers give you the awesome power to turn almost any surface into a speaker. They’re essentially just a speaker except instead of a cone, the coil is attached to a pad that conducts the vibration into whatever you press it against. Hook it up to…Continue Reading Tactile Transducers

The Singing Comet

Rosetta’s Plasma Consortium (RPC) has uncovered a mysterious ‘song’ that Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko is singing into space. RPC principal investigator Karl-Heinz Glaßmeier, head of Space Physics and Space Sensorics at the Technische Universität Braunschweig, Germany, tells us more. RPC consists of five instruments on the Rosetta orbiter that provide a wide variety of complementary information about…Continue Reading The Singing Comet