Posts tagged with technology

Wat Dhammakaya, just north of Bangkok, is one of the largest Buddhist temples in the world. Built in 1970, it is the epicenter of Dhammakaya Buddhism, a large, rapidly growing, and at times controversial sect. Architecturally, Wat Dhammakaya is a palace for the age of mass media.


The UFO-like Chedi (inner memorial hall)

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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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Few frustrations match the one that involves lying in bed, dead-eyed in the night, as the neighbor dog’s ten-billionth bark pierces the thin psychic veil between sanity and bloodlust.

People kill other people distressingly often over noise.

Plenty of evidence implies that the planet is noisier than at any other time in human history. What now?

Noise

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An Appeals Court judge in my home state ruled this month that police officers cannot give out speeding tickets based solely on the sound of a passing vehicle, unless they have some kind of specialist’s credentials as listeners. The ruling overturned two previous decisions against Daniel Freitag, who got a ticket in 2007 while driving on business in his Navigator SUV. The full ruling is here.

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Chris DeLaurenti, field recording specialist and member of the Phonographer’s Union, was on KUOW‘s “Weekday” program yesterday to discuss many of the most important issues around the study of sound. This post is a listening guide to the discussion, and serves also as a pretty decent primer for understanding how and why sound is useful as a type of analytic material.

“Sound Studies,” while increasingly common in the academy, still lacks basic definitions. This post is part of an ongoing effort to provide clear, descriptive expositions of what the study of sound encompasses – as an art form, as a humanistic science, and as a general philosophy.

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One of the buzz safety issues this holiday shopping season is toy volume.

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The annual Society for Ethnomusicology (SEM) conference starts Wednesday; look for live updates here, and via the #sem09 tag on Twitter. This material will comprise the rest of the week’s posts. Expect some combination of panel reactions, SEM celebrity gossip, and sound snippets from around Mexico City. For today, please enjoy browsing a late draft of the paper I will be presenting at the conference on Thursday. Comments and discussion are most welcome.

Apologies, incidentally, for the lack of updates over the past six days. (I got hitched.)
Wedding! Wedding!

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