Sound from Scratch

I’ve completely re-thought the sound over the last couple of days. I didn’t develop it at all in London as we focused on the core logistics of getting four portals working, so as the piece started to take shape the sound didn’t really keep up.

One of the key things we developed in London was the way in which users can be creative in the space, and we ended up with two paradigms – ‘shadows’ (we called them ‘sculptures’ in London, but shadows makes more sense given the title of the piece) and ‘traces’ (‘trails’ in London, but I think traces sounds better). The former is long term, and full-body – regular imprints users leave in the space. The latter is short-term, and involves the particles left behind by the key points of the body (which we first developed in Istanbul).

Only the latter has been sonified so far, making a bit of a disconnect between sound and image. I’ve also realised that the shadows potentially have more audio, and audiovisual potential. If the shadows get left at regular intervals (but different intervals for each user), and these have corresponding audio events, then some nice polyrhythms can be produced. These would be more sonically interesting that the signification of the particle traces, which are so numerous that they tend to produce overly-dense sounds, which just blend into sonic soup. They could also provide cues to the users as to when the shadows will be created, and – being more clearly identifiable, could even help with the navigation.

This sound is a first attempt at what this might sound like at this point. Of course, it’s slightly meaningless without the visual element (so far!), but it’s an attempt to ‘compose the soundtrack’. The high ringing sounds represent the shadows, on regular cycles corresponding to a 4:5:6:7 ratio. The tinkly/rustly (those are technical terms) represent the traces. The low pulse and short high rhythmic sounds are global, and are a byproduct of the 4:5:6:7 polyrhythm. They’d be spatially attached to the light at the centre of the space I think, or possibly ubiquitous throughout the space.


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