Summary of work – Submission 2 – Claudio

Social media sounds library

I have created a sound library of all the music, notifications and icon sounds we come across in our daily lives and sorted them by positive, negative, reassuring or intimidating characteristics

Question 3

With this question my goal was to make the audience feel uncomfortable through personal attacks; this was achieved by using recorded samples of people making mean comments in different languages to highlight the fact that it is a worldwide phenomenon which the internet has exposed us to. These samples have been heavily distorted and their bit rate drastically reduced to fit into low-res, vintage aesthetic the group had in mind.

All these different voices blend in with electrical interferences, which are used to convey a malfunction in the device, almost as it was being hacked and our harshest critics have taken control of it.

A third layer comprises an FM synth bass pad which mixes with some radio interferences that I recorded with a pick up coil microphone; these samples have then been pitched and time stretched to create a dark atmosphere.

Question 5

The inspiration for this design came from the keygen music that hackers employ in the interfaces they design to make users install illegal versions of different softwares. Team R2R, for instance, made tracker music popular by using it in their pirate versions of music production softwares which are downloaded by million of users every year.

Here is an example: www.youtube.com/watch?v=UJk1GVMzpLQ

With this question my goal was to play on that idea and incorporate all the icon sounds from different social media platforms. Unfortunately due to the limited time at my disposal, I could not get acquainted with 8 bit tracking softwares enough to be comfortable designing all of the different sounds on that alone; for this reason I chose to use a traditional DAW and try to replicate the sonic qualities of legendary sound chips like the SID, used on the Commodore 64 by using bit reduction distortion and filtering

The sound design aims at overwhelming the audience with anxiety, making them feel to be in a race against the clock as they try to get rid of these annoying pop-up windows. The music grows in intensity as time passes, almost like a ticking bomb ready to blow up at anytime.

Question 6

The third sound design came from the idea of how ratings system change the way we interact with others and make decisions on what products and services we purchase. The sound design opens with an Instagram filter sample, whose dramatic sound is often used in the Instagram stories to express surprise or shame towards other people; in doing so the audience immediately receives a warning, which will be mirrored later on by the voice of an announcer; a vocal sample from the airport scene of the Black Mirror episode called “Nosedive” from which the group took inspiration from.All these elements are accompanied by similar radio interferences as question 3, which have been stretched and pitched down by using a granular sampler built in Pure Data.

Additional work

Some additional sound design works we ended up not using.

Exhibition

The exhibition week presented the most challenges as the team had to suddenly change plans.Instead of running the software from a single computer we were forced to use six, drastically changing the configuration of the setup; we decided to hook all the computers up to a twelve channels mixer in order to route all the individual channels to the two pairs of speakers.I took care of all the connections, set up the levels and made the required adjustments for the different needs of each question. The background soundscapes kept playing throughout the exhibition from the speakers in the back in order to give continuity and a sense of enclosure.

Thoughts on exhibition

The sound was criticised by some for being too low but, I will argue, this was a consequence of what the rules for the venue were, especially since many other groups were competing to be heard in that same space; in addition, not having any introductory part, vital to set the tone of the experience, as I suggested in my last blog post, probably caused the exhibition to lack direction in regards to the topics and issues we wanted to address, at least at the beginning.

Thoughts on social media vs personality

In my experience social media doesn’t really affect my personality, more than anything, it just gives people a platform to show it; everyone obviously tries to hide their flaws and only  highlight their qualities but It’s all part of the reason why all these apps were made this way. We tend to forget that money is the driving force behind the social media model but artists who share their work on these platform have lots of opportunities to connect with people and present them their work. The importance of appearance to create engagement and other intrinsic constraints  are some of the issues artists have to deal with when using those platforms. I personally think social media has a very deep effect on life of creatives; artists who are trying to self promote their work on networks like Instagram or Youtube are deeply affected in their creative processes by the thought of having to make their works conform to the requirements of the same platforms. Songs with minutes long intros or blurred videos are not going to have the same level of engagement so the brain has to take into consideration all these factors during the actual creation process. All in all, the good outweighs the bad and ,in my opinion, the general public should differentiate the way they use social media from celebrities or people who make a business model out of their persona.

References

NEST HQ PRESENTS THE BEST OF KEYGEN MUSIC [CRACKED BY T34M FANXFIC], Nest Hq, 2016.

Nosedive, Black mirror, Joe Wright, 2016.

Black Mirror S0301 Airport scene, Youtube, 2017, link