Rotting sounds – Digitality and materiality
Most of today’s media output, be it audio or video, is produced and stored in the digital domain. Although digital data are adorned by the myth of lossless transmission and migration, everyday experience does prove the existence of degradation and, ultimately, data loss in various forms. This pertains to the physical nature of storage media and playback devices as well as to media formats and software in the context of their technological infrastructure. The ongoing multi-year project of artistic research “Rotting sounds” strives to elaborate on the causes, mechanisms and effects of such deterioration, specifically in the context of digital audio.
In this talk, I will focus on the material nature of the digital and its implications. I will illustrate this with concrete artistic works that have been created in the course of research.
Time: November 2nd 2021, 15:00 CET
Since 2018, the project of artistic research Rotting sounds – Embracing the temporal deterioration of digital audio has been researching transformation processes pertaining to the diverse interrelations of digitally encoded information in the audio domain, its material properties and (human) interpretation within a sociocultural context. This symposium provided a room for reflection on the acquired experiences in the course of the project, to bring in external viewpoints on the relevant topics and stimulate outlooks beyond the limits of current research.
Find more info here.
co-curated and produced by sound:frame
This performance involves three interactants, two predominantly working in the audio domain (Thomas Grill and Till Bovermann) and one focusing on a visual counterpart (Kathrin Hunze). We generate and exchange streams of 1-bit audio, a signal representation with properties of both the digital and analog domain that we have already been investigating in the artistic research project “Rotting sounds – Embracing the temporal deterioration of digital audio” (FWF PEEK AR445-G24). With simple switchboard matrix devices, we channel such bit streams between the individual performers and through simple processing modules, like delays, logical operators, etc., generating feedback and interferences on the way. These phenomena are made audible and are also mirrored by a visual representation of particle streams, forming directed jets and point cloud aggregations.
11. September 2020 – 20:10 – 20:35
Hauptplatz 6, Glashörsaal D (H6.DG.04)
4020 Linz, Austria
The audio-laser installation dust a bit by Klaus Filip is the first of our installations, which – over the duration of more than a year – has eroded to a state which would be commonly described as “broken”, at least from the standpoint of the original concept.
The audio signal is not modulated onto the laser any more, as intended – what is heard is purely collected, amplified noise.
At this point, we will not attempt to repair it because it is already scheduled to upgrade the installation to a fully digital version on the basis of our custom 1-bit audio hardware DADA. We expect this to happen at the end of June 2020.
In the last year, the installation has been restarted a couple of times because the carefully calibrated laser beam tends to wander out of focus by the time. This is most probably due to temperature changes and/or vibrations, causing the mirrors to lose their precise adjustment.
We have prepared timelapse recordings of the sonic developments of the several installation runs – every time several weeks of collecting “dust”. One minute of a time lapse corresponds to a day of operation. Technically, the recordings are concatenated (and cross-faded) 1-minute snapshots taken every 12 hours. The naming of the recordings corresponds to their starting date. Enjoy!2019-05-07 2019-08-21 2019-09-20 2019-11-07
At the annual conference of the austrian restorers association the rotting sounds were represented by Almut Schilling, discussing the <patina> as fundamental part of all preservation processes and opens valuable points of views to think about digital aesthetics of temporal deterioration.
We had a great evening at the Kunstradio Art’s Birthday Party! The audio CDs we produced live were given away as presents to the audience, hopefully delighting Art too.
Our performance is aired on Kunstradio-Radiokunst, radio ORF Ö1 on February 26 2020 11pm.
Thomas Grill and Till Bovermann will represent activities of the Rotting Sounds project within a fast-paced symposium on the subject of materialities in music making.
Thomas Grill – Musical material
Probing of fragments of deceased instruments by use of digital sound. Sounding the materials, shapes, resonances – tracing remnants of a musical life.
Till Bovermann – Buffer manipulations
Probing and fragmentation of deceased digital sound. Sounding the materials, shapes, resonances – tracing remnants of a brief ephemerality.
Topics relating to notions of materiality and influence on practice are discussed by a panel of academics/composers and performers. This promises to be a lively debate relating to media archeology, liveness and audience perspective.
Participants include Evelyn Ficarra, Tom Richards, Till Bovermann, Thomas Grill and others.
Sumit Paul-Choudhury has contributed a review of Ars Electronica’s AI x Music festival to the The Wire magazine’s November edition, featuring our installation Mutual Understanding. It is listed as an exception to the line of presented works quite unrelated to the festival’s theme.
The performance evening will revolve around Tobias Leibetseder‘s processual and constantly changing sculpture “Fragments“. It is in permanent development and consists of artifacts of the Rotting sounds research process. Waste, things collected, things stored and put aside, texts, pictures, data, sounds etc. are the basis of the shape-changing work. Object or exhibition, museum or archive, collection or documentation are moments of intrinsic research and decomposition, accompanying the process and resting in the distant but immediate eye of the observer.
Tobias Leibetseder‘s performance Transformation 1 is a transformation step and insight into the process of fragments. Artifacts as materials and sounds are transformed into new shapes and synthesized in a performative and concert act.
Angélica Castelló will present a performance based on recordings of her performance “Magnetic litany” from the opening evening of the Auditorium of Rotting sounds on March 29, 2019. It is connected to the permanently exhibited object “Magnetic Room“.
October 2, 2019 19:00
Auditorium of Rotting sounds (Altes Auditorium)
University of Music and Performing Arts Vienna
Anton-von-Webern-Platz 1, 1030 Wien
As the audience will have to be limited, admission is on personal registration only.
The pieces Magnetic litany 1 and 2 by Angélica Castelló have been made possible by the support of El Sistema Nacional de Creadores de Arte (FONCA).
The Zentrum Fokus Forschung at the University of Applied Arts Vienna has produced a short interview with me explaining in very short the project of Rotting sounds. This was done in the context of the exhibition UNDERSTANDING – art & research at the Museum of Applied Arts in Vienna.