Member 63
25 entries

Contributor to project:
Design Media Arts at UCLA
Kelly Chen (F, 35)
Los Angeles, US
Immortal since Mar 29, 2007
Uplinks: 0, Generation 1

Loud Mouth | Kelly Chen
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    Entertainment | Gaming
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    Design Media Arts at UCLA
    In the 1970s space colonies were considered to be a viable alternative to a life restricted to planet Earth. The design of cylindrical space...
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    Concept.02 | The Soundtrack
    Project: Design Media Arts at UCLA

    I find that stripping down the explanation of our bonds to nature to its very core is something nearly impossible, given our limited vocabularies. However, one thing I feel we all do possess in common is the craft of storytelling; we are able to describe our experiences and interactions with nature through personal narratives.

    What if that narrative process could be reversed, in which we aren't the ones telling the story, but rather, the environments themselves in an evolving soundtrack?

    Sound has the power to trigger memories; it transports the listener to other places; it can also make that listener more aware of his or her environment.

    Rather than reducing sound to a classification of "background noise," I want to bring it to the forefront of our experiences and audio-visual perception; that is not to say that sound will be creating visuals for us to see — rather, it will serve to augment what already exists in front of our eyes, allowing our own imaginations to illusively create what's not there. As we are gearing up for a lifestyle set within future space colonies, one of the "natures" we will have to inevitably adapt to is the urbanized setting of our new homes. Granted, I don't believe this means we will be migrating without taking a portion of our familiar "mother nature" up to space with us; but that also doesn't mean we can completely emulate what's on Earth either, because that's impossible. In order to familiarize and encourage the inhabitants to explore the spaces in ways not imagined before, I want to utilize headphones with sensors that take into consideration one's location, movement, and mood within the colonies to create a responsive soundtrack, which in sense then becomes that particular area/environment's theme or narrative. Optional adjustments on the headphones allow listeners to choose whether they want to incorporate the actual sounds heard outside, or completely block it out. The more immersed the listener is in exploring, the more the soundtrack evolves; thus, turning the colonized world into a giant aural playground.

    Image by Alexander Preuss


    They many places you have control of visiting within a particular game world each have their own soundtracks. At the same time, different events occurring throughout the game's story change the music.

    + e.g. In the Final Fantasy game series, there is a song for the world map, for the towns you can visit, and even for characters when they appear on screen. During short cinematic sequences or a battle, the music changes.

    Soundtracks are essential for this medium because they add an extra narrative or "voice" to the overall story.

    + e.g. Sofia Coppola's Lost in Translation, thanks to Richard Beggs, made the soundtrack and sound design a prominent force in depicting the fragile but hopeless relationship between Bob and Charlotte.

    Life Observations
    + Some people, myself included, prefer listening to music over natural sounds. We are more in tune with our iPods than the things going on around us. As a result of the mp3 player's popularity, I've been seeing a rapid growth of people wearing headphones and ear buds.

    + In music, many producers have admitted that some of their songs are inspired by personal feelings and/or by the sights of the world; this is why some material we hear evoke imagery of, say, a desert, or the floating sensation of drifting underwater. It is also why we sometimes have strong emotional responses to the works.

    Sound/Music Artists
    + Janet Cardiff — her works rely on sound, the immediate environment, and a narrative script to create unique individual experiences for the listener. In several pieces a voice guides the listener on what to do. Oftentimes throughout these guided "tours," the other sounds heard in the recordings can deceive the listener into a confused tug-of-war over what's real and what isn't.

    + Bill Fontana — he has created installations using sound as a sculptural medium that redefines our perceptions and interactions with architectural spaces. (He had a lecture in the EDA last winter — link to video page here)

    + Future Sound of London's Lifeforms album, 1994 — a pioneering classic in experimental ambient music. The many lush layers and foreign drones and glitches give the entire album a very alien sound.

    • Listen to:

    • "Bird Wings"

    • "Domain"

    • "Cerebral"

    + Kid 606's P.S. I Love You, 2000 — glitchy, futuristic, but also organic in a very airy way.

    • Listen to:

    • "Sometimes"

    • "Now I Wanna Be a Cowboy"

    Mon, Apr 16, 2007  Permanent link

    Sent to project: Design Media Arts at UCLA
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    andrewohlmann     Sun, Apr 29, 2007  Permanent link
    boards of canada used to have a series of interactive presentations on their website. Some of them gave the viewer a virtual "island" to run and fly around, with small posts placed around the island. Each one of these posts emitted a single part of song, getting louder and fading away as the viewer got closer and farther away. Ever since experiencing it (it's gone now) I've been in love with the concept of incorporating made sound and music into the environment, and it's awesome to see someone thinking of that in the same way.