DS106 on the couch

Tag: AudioAssignments (page 2 of 2)

Audio Giffing

As If we did not have enough assignments, I did the same one twice. 

But this did not start as an audio assignment. It started in my head as an animated gif. And that was what I planned to work on today.

Last night I was reading ‘is google making us stupid?’ again. it starts,

“Dave, stop. Stop, will you? Stop, Dave. Will you stop, Dave?” So the supercomputer HAL pleads with the implacable astronaut Dave Bowman in a famous and weirdly poignant scene toward the end of Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey. Bowman, having nearly been sent to a deep-space death by the malfunctioning machine, is calmly, coldly disconnecting the memory circuits that control its artificial “ brain. “Dave, my mind is going,” HAL says, forlornly. “I can feel it. I can feel it.”

It has been so long since I have seen that film that I had forgotten about it. The article talks about how the way we are using Google is a little like Hal dying – somebody is tinkering with our cognitive reasoning and with how we ‘do’ thinking. 

As I read the article and reflected on its relevance to my own cognitive strategies and how they have changed as a result of not having to hold information in my head, it occurred to me that the scene from the film could make a great animated gif. 

I could show how slowly we are degrading our circuits – like what happens to Hal as he ‘dies’ – and use it as an example of the potential of our decline into mere pancake people:

As we are drained of our “inner repertory of dense cultural inheritance,” […]we risk turning into “‘pancake people’—spread wide and thin as we connect with that vast network of information accessed by the mere touch of a button.”

I went searching, of course, and found this segment of the film for my next #thoughtgif.

I looked for the gif shot. I looked again. I realised that what made the clip powerful was the sound and not so much the video. Then I had an aha! moment. What if I did a second radio bumper, it is audio week after all, with Hal’s song? I followed the same process as in my previous post and what you hear above is the result of me playing with Garageband a second time. My first audio gif is how I see it.

What was interesting in this assignment is that I did several trials of the radio bumper – I was not happy with the results and so kept trying new ways. I had feedback from Alan Levine that my original radio bumper was a tad long so I wanted to cut this to make it shorter. I was reminded of something that Alan said about animated gifs

But when you go through a mindful process – identifying a subtle piece of the world to isolate, or a moment/character in a film, it gets interesting.  But for a film clip, it is this great reductionist process to extract a few seconds form a larger work, focus it down to a short video clip, then import into Photoshop/GIMP, and reduce it even more to a number of frames, and reduce it even ore to emphasize the moment, or reduce the file size..And when you get to the point of being able to isolate movement to just a small portion of a frame you have arrived to an artful process.

 The process of isolating smaller and smaller elements to produce an artefact that fits certain aesthetic criteria does require one to engage the tortoise mind or cognitive unconscious. i was fascinated that this could happen through the audio channel and that it was as absorbing as working on a video clip. I wondered, what aesthetic criteria I was applying as I have not got a clue what makes good or bad sound. Yet, beyond length, I kept thinking about the potential use for the artefact ( a late night programme on the affairs of the mind) and kept rejecting successive versions. Why? What did I change? Well here is where I lose track. I got lost in Garageband and ended up with a version I was happy to share. I changed many aspects of the sound, moved tracks around, used different effects. I even tried looping the audio – as animated gifs loop forever – but that seemed overkill. 

I end my DS106 day with a number of insights about my process. I am not thinking about my output as art, in the way Alan and others in DS106 do. I like to do the same thing more than once to get to understand the tool and the process. I need the tension of opposites to create anything and it is hard to create this in DS106 as there is not tension between what I want to do and what I have to do. So, this morning I got ‘distracted’ with kinetic typography, wanted to go off and do more of that, and then made myself come back to what I ‘had’ to do. Of course, this is just mind games as in this case there is not even the semblance of me ‘having’ to do anything. It seems I need the sense of struggle to produce. No doubt I will continue to explore this in the next few weeks. Some questions I am asking:

  • If not art, then what?
  • Why not art?
  • What does repetition give me?
  • Could I find more skilful ways to engage creative psychological tension?


This is DS106 shrinking the big questions

The working rule for this week’s posts:

We like to see writing with your media, a story about the story, or the story behind the story.

Tah!Dah! my first ever radio bumper.

I did not even know what that was until this morning. Go figure. I listened to a few examples from past participants and understood what we being asked of us. Not my thing, I told myself. I will have to think about how to do it in a way that makes sense to me. I wondered about the bumper or catch phrase Dr Frasier Crane used to sign off his programme on KACL Radio. It occurred to me that as the DS106 headless shrink I could bring something other than music and special effects to DS106 radio – I know nothing about either. So I did a little search in the Google and found a video clip that would work. Video. John Johnston may say that audio is not something less than video, but in this case it was. How do I take out just the audio from this video? There must be an app for that. There is

So, I had the audio from the video and still without a clue. some kind of audio editor must be the next step. Something like Audio Gimp. Ahh! I think that Garageband does that on the Mac. Never opened it. May be now is the time. I went back to the Google to get some tutorials and there are many. Then had the idea for the tag line, synthesising an idea: ‘Talky and the Shrink tackle the big questions’ which is the Radio show I would like to make on DS106 Headless if Talky Tina will join me. After hearing her lovely voice I think we would rock the airwaves. I recorded the audio on Quicktime. Dragged it to Garageband. And now what? Well I had to learn to split a file, fade out, copy paste bits of a sound file. My favourite was discovering that I could get my voice to echo. I considered doing the whole thing myself, Frasier’s scripts are available online. But that would have been too much audio in one day. 

This course is really stretching me. I looked at the plan for the week and I have to say I wanted to go back to last week and do more from there. As I said earlier, in spite of encouragement from Cogdog and John Johnston audio is not my thing. Writing is. 

By jickity, DS106 is challenging my preconceptions. When you get the lovely feedback I have had about this voice of mine I do not like recorded, you had better pay attention and at least have a go. 

So now, I am just waiting for Talky to call and tell me she is in! We have our radio bumper ready, all we need is for me to get a clue about how to do a radio programme…but may be she already knows how to do that.


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