Posts tagged with specularity

Journalist/critic Virginia Heffernan wrote a thoughtful summary essay in last weekend’s New York Times Magazine about the 2010 Academy Award nominees for best sound-design.

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Above: “Soundshape Frame,” from the blog of the Institute for Advanced Architecture of Catalonia

Above: Thomas Ashcraft’s recording of the invasion of Baghdad, 2003. From Soundtransit.nl

This is a follow-up to the previous post, which was a general typology of sound maps. Many readers wrote in with more maps that, in one way or another, extend the format. Ten of them are listed here.

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Sound maps are graphic catalogs of music, noise, local ambient color, or anything else audible. Most often based on city boundaries, they typically plot sound on a Google Map (or something similar) – as art projects, policy evidence, historical archives, or consumer tools.

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A spectrogram is a three-dimensional picture of sound – any sound. The three dimensions are time, frequency, and amplitude. Spectrograms usually look abstract, like successions of clumsy paint strokes or stills from Tron. They’re useful for sound engineers, but not all that good to look at. However, some software can also conduct spectral analysis in reverse, translating images into sound. In this case, the images are clear and the audio typically abstract.

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Precious, out for about a month now, was a tremendously complicated movie to attend. Audience members were divided on how to respond, vocally. How should people react to difficult art? Loudly or quietly? And if loudly, how? This problem took on an ethical dimension, and the sound of the theater became one of the key ways that viewers experienced the movie as a document of race and racial difference.

Amina Robinson

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What are the consequences of believing in the synchrony of representation and space? Usually not confusion. More often hucksterism.

Soundwalk

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