I Does DAT


After the Ferry…
November 24, 2006, 1:30 pm
Filed under: Production of Space

My general focus for the first space project is paths and the movement of people in relation to other people and their surroundings. It has transpired through this thinking that I’m particularly interested in the concept of ‘personal space’, that is, the space around you or what some people might call an aura. I want to look at the the dispersal of people and the alteration of their movements as dictated by their personal space.

A simple example is when you’re walking down the street and someone comes towards you and you both keep moving to the same side to get past each other. You are both altering the path you would have otherwise taken because someone is about to enter, or ‘violate’*, your personal space and this new path would often take an odd zig-zig shape because of both parties stepping the same way and back.

A couple of thoughts on this:

In the November 16th edition of the Channel 4 Internet round-up podcast, ‘thisisaknife’, there was a featured prank where a large group of people went to a park and followed a random person around in single file. It was interesting to see how long it took for these people to notice they were being followed (very closely – it was not subtle) in terms of personal space, since we all know we can usually sense the presence of another person near us even if they’re out of our line of sight.

I thought it would be interesting to look at the random movements taken when being chased, for example a group of children playing Tag, an antelope hunted by a cheetah or even a fighter plane dogfight.

Also of interest to me are the non-spaces left vacant by traced paths over a period of time, why these are unused and how they could be reclaimed or utilised better.

* Edit: when I say violate, or entering personal space, I’m really talking about the intersection or overlap of two personal spaces. I think this is a particularly fascinating point of interest, especially as it’s so subjective – we each consider our personal space in a slightly different way and by creating an aesthetic of traced paths over time I hope to reflect these intersections and potential intersections and their effect on how the space is navigated. People and their personal space become unpredictable moving obstacles within the space. Also have you noticed that, as you walk past someone on the street you sometimes unintentionally move in towards them or away from them? I think this could have something to with their perceived personal space more than our own and there could be some kind of invisible field that attracts or repels us. Or that could just be a crazy theory.



A Better Space Man
November 7, 2006, 11:55 am
Filed under: Production of Space

I have decided on a new character on which to base my approach to the space we are going to tomorrow. His name is David Shrigley and he’s a Glasgow-based artist.

I intend to map the movmements of people around the space to see the routes they take.



Some quotes about sound
November 2, 2006, 4:49 pm
Filed under: Major Project

I’m currently reading a book called ‘An Introduction to the Psychology of Hearing: Fourth Edition’ by Brian C.J. Moore. I’m still on the first of 9 chapters, which is about the nature of sound and te structure and function of the auditory system.

I’ve got a couple of quotes that may or may not be useful for potential experiments that I might carry out.

“In fact the average human absolute threshold at 1000Hz is about 6.5dB SPL (when listening with one ear). Sometimes it is convenient to choose as a reference level the threshold of a subject for the sound being used. A sound level specified in this way is referred to as a sensation level (SL). Thus, for a given subject, as sound at 60dB SL will be 60dB above the absolute threshold of that subject for that sound.”

“White noise has a uniform spectrum level. Another type of noise that is sometimes used in auditory research is called pink noise. This has a spectrum level that decreases by 3dB (corresponding to a halving of noise power density) for each doubling in frequency.”

This is from a book, as I said, so if somebody involved with the book wants these quotes removed then please email me and I’ll do it immediately.



Hearing and seeing patterns
November 2, 2006, 4:08 pm
Filed under: Dissertation, Major Project, Sound Practice

It seems quite irrelavant to anything I’m working on really but I thought it was interesting: apparently it’s easier to hear patterns in protein strands by assigning musical notes to individual amino acids than it is to see them in a visual list. This seems pretty simple and obvious to me, although a good idea from these scientists that I wouldn’t have thought of.

http://novaspivack.typepad.com/nova_spivacks_weblog/2006/10/playing_protein.html
Incidentally, this is one my the best blogs I’ve found for little nuggets of research. There are often some interesting articles popping up there and a lot of them are relevant, especially when they’re technology related, so I recommend you take a gander.



Getting it into focus
November 2, 2006, 3:38 pm
Filed under: Dissertation

This morning I had my first dissertation consultation with my tutor, Michael Punt, which was incredibly useful. All I really knew beforehand was that I needed to boil my general idea down to focus on one more specific aspect. He confirmed this to me and gave me some really handy pointers that I hadn’t, and probably wouldn’t have, thought of.

It transpired that my real interest lies in the study of intentional affecting of feeling and behaviour, using the very edge of human auditory perception in order for this affecting to go unnoticed by the subject. Examples came up such as muzac in shops and hotels, the careful selection of music in pubs such as wetherspoons to tailor their customer base (attracting the type of people they want and repelling those that they don’t). Also the design of singular sounds, such as car doors or keys on a keyboard, to provide a certain type of audio feedback and induce a particular idea of what the thing is. Research into this type of thing is likely to have been done by, for example, car companies, etc. and if I can find this research somewhere it will come in really handy. I may need to get in touch with some consultuncies of some kind who may have done this work on a company’s behalf, if I can track these types of organisations down.

One thing that I really got from the meeting was the idea of including a case study chapter. I had intended to do some experimentation, more with the project in mind, such as observation of people in places like the new mall in town and their behaviour in relation to the music or noise that can be heard in the space. I think this will add a really good dimension to the writing. This also got me thinking about the idea of observing and with this in mind I’m going to look into the archives of the Mass Observation to see if I can uncover any clues in there.



Arthur Fonzarelli: Transgressor
October 31, 2006, 9:19 pm
Filed under: Production of Space

The FonzTask: Pick a person and describe their impact on space and how they transgress it.

I have chosen Arthur Fonzarelli, or ‘The Fonz’, as my subject because for some reason it’s the first name that popped into my head. I decided to think about how he effects space anyway and he seems to in a number of ways.

Whenever Fonzie arrives in a scene, he has a huge impact. The focus of the other players and of the audience instantly shifts to him and in this way he is placed in the centre of all space in the virtual world that is Happy Days. This often occurs before he has even appeared on screen because of the sound of his motorcycle arriving, at which point he transcends space by being out of the scene physically yet still at the centre virtually.

Also on arrival, the mood is usually lifted, as if everyone feels safer and ‘cooler’ when he’s around. Altering the mood of the space has a real effect on the actions of the people in it and their general activities in the show. Unlike any other character, the presence and existence of The Fonz in that time and space cannot be ignored and his influence is universal.

The way in which I believe he transgresses space lies in his conduction of business. Whenever he wants to have a serious conversation with another character in Al’s diner he uses the phrase “step into my office”. By ‘office’, of course he means ‘toilet’. When anyone else uses that space they use it for, as it was intended, going to the toilet. When Fonzie uses it, it is transformed into an office, an arena for serious discussion and privacy of a nature unrelated to relieving oneself.



Sound Applet
October 31, 2006, 3:55 pm
Filed under: Sound Practice

Our next assignment in this module is to create a sound applet, i.e. something that does something (with sound and using Max/MSP).

I’m a guitarist and for a long tme now I’ve wanted a loop pedal but buying one, although I can technically afford it, would seriously stretch my budget. This project looks to me like the ideal opportunity to have a go at making one myself. I know that it’s entirely possible with the software and support I have at my disposal so the only question mark is my own ability to get it working.

So, a loop pedal, or at least some software that does the same job – i.e. providing the ability to record samples on the fly, layer them in channels and control and loop their playback – is my intended focus for this assignment. I’m hoping the insentive of around a £200 saving will spur me on to succeed.