Week9_CNSI Sound & Science Symposium 2009 by adam marcus

I attended the second day of events (Friday). I rushed over after a class and watched the majority of the 3-4 pm presentation and then got to see the full 4-5 pm presentation.


FIRST: Music for the Eyes: Visual Music Films


This was definitely the more enjoyable presentation I saw. It was a compilation of clips from various works displayed on the widescreen. The only thing that made me pretty frustrated was the lady with microphone who continued to end the clips short so they could keep moving along.


I found the combination of animated visuals and space age sounds incredibly fascinating and entertaining. My favorites out of the ten or so that I saw included: Norman McLaren’s Synchromy, Sylvia’s Impossible Spaces, and Brilliant Noise.


Synchromy, which I believe we saw a clip of in class, was a visual that correlated directly to the sounds produced. The visual was basically vertical lines with flashing blocks. Wider blocks represented lower tones and more blocks and vertical lines were added as the piece continued. The piece to me was very enjoyable and made me feel like I was seeing the notes I was hearing.


Impossible Spaces was very impressive visually. There were separate sections, such as cubic and conical. The cubic piece was a colorful montage of straight lines folding over each other towards a center. The cubes proved to impossibly fold and morph over themselves to the sound of mechanical, metallic sounds.


Lastly, Brilliant Sounds was a very interesting scientific piece. It was a solely black and white visual of images of the sun. It was a compilation of NASA’s “uncleaned” images taken my telescopes or satellites. The images were so extraordinary, so unique, that littlest details of was incredible. I particularly liked the distorted and strobe like visuals because they gave a perspective that no ever sees..


SECOND: Aesthetics of Natural Radio


I found this presentation less entertaining and more informational than the first piece. It was given by Douglas Kahn, and centered on the Natural Radio. Natural Radio is the group of sound waves that are capable of being transmitted through the area of the electromagnetic waves that overlap with the frequencies of sound waves. They do need to have a terrestrial origin and are amplified through the ionosphere and the magnetosphere. The sounds play on VLF (very low frequency) and are commonly called “whistlers”. Thomas Watson (one of the inventors of the telephone) is supposedly one of the first to hear static currents. He played an interesting clip of the sounds picked up at the beginning. He also mentioned that some of the sounds were once recorded and made into a record:  “Out Of This World” and “Ionosphere”. His talk admired the discovery and expanded upon his own related interests and involvement in the development of the field.


-Adam Marcus

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