Three Sound Collage Ideas [Miles]

1. Pings

This idea explores the space of sounds designed to get our attention. Sounds in this category include: ringtones, text message notifications, the Facebook pop, the low battery squawk, and so on. These sounds are utilitarian, in that they tell us things about networks and machines that are otherwise invisible to us. Perhaps these sounds are the descendents of doorbells, toasters and clocks – pre-digital objects that sent us messages by making sounds. These pings are neurotic sounds; they explicitly tell us that there is yet another thing we must attend to. I want to make a collage of these sounds, and try to see if they can provoke curiosity and interest in addition to stress and nervousness.

2. Mouth Sounds

With my noise machine I had originally set out to capture the sounds made by mouths. For that project, I ended up being more interested in using breath as a signal than mouth noises. However, I am still very interested in mouth noises, and a study of mouth noises might be better suited to this project than to the last. If I do chose this idea to focus on, I should probably research musique concréte, since this idea is trying to abstract of pre-existing, “concrete” sounds. Depending on how much I want the concept to dictate the work itself, the collage could range from a formalist catalogue of mouth situations, to an composed or improvised piece made exclusively from mouth sounds.

3. Compulsory Conversation

I’m constantly baffled by the things that employees are required to say to customers. A classic example is “have a nice day”, or “hello, my name is ______ and I will be your server today”. Without passing a value judgement on these controlled interactions or on the people who carry them out, I want to catalog them. I’m particularly interested in the disparity between the tone of the statement content-wise, and the tone with which it is delivered by voice. I think there are a few different ways to approach this project, but the two strategies that come to mind are: 1) calling 1-800 numbers and 2) interacting with employees at corporate restaurant chains in person. I would record all of these interactions, and later splice them together so that they form a coherent yet artificial conversation.

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