Contemporary new media practice responds directly to an urban landscape characterized by globalized information flow, cultural politics, and spatial perception that have tangible manifestations in our built and aural environments. As these forces interact with one another, their unintended interferences produce evidence of a surplus, a type of capital artifact that is both the object and the forces themselves.
This project offers a critical archeology of both communication technology and audiovisual art to map emerging capital artifacts. In turn, this provides a framework for implementing sound in public space through design and curatorial practice. Specifically, the intersection of computer music and computer-aided design offer new notions of transmission, translation, and fidelity. Further, the confluence of music and design offer specific communicative capacities for sound that have been historically obstructed under the guise of noise reduction. Expanding on the aesthetic discourse within the science of aural display and the technical discourse within architecture renders noise legible in new and productive ways.
Hyper-minimalist works like those of composer Ryoji Ikeda provide a case study for hybrid techniques and applications of sound and noise in public space. The works’ immersive environments of auditory display function both as curated pieces in a museum space and as communicative systems on the urban stage of the city. Further, this type of artwork challenges the existing framework of aesthetic discourse put forth by the International Community for Auditory Display. Operating on the thresholds of perception and calculation, hybrid communicative systems and custom interfaces that span built and virtual environments necessitate a shared framework across art and science.
In this context, noise becomes the materia prima for emerging theories of information and performance practices. Our sonic imaginary evolves with these applications, and aural display becomes as much about auralization—the imaging of an aural event—as it is about sonification—the mapping datum to audible signifiers. As lossiness has become a source of both production and inspiration, noise functions as an indicator not simply as an entropic effect, but of embedded, masked meaning. A perceptual hiccup, or glitch, may just as easily be the artifact of computational error or compression as a demarcation of individual thresholds for detecting difference.
Recent developments in real-time mapping, 3D rendering, and music analysis softwares have catalyzed new techniques for gleaning information from our sonic environments. What are the functional implications of interfaces for auditory display in institutionalized art spaces and public settings? How are we to understand the cross-disciplinary influence of auralization on the social aspects of perceptual capital and cultural capital? Application of these notions to scientific and artistic practice is paramount if we are to decode and communicate in our future cities.