Identity & Sound: Exploring Audio's Natural Storytelling Ability

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In my talk, I discuss Identity and Sound, which is an umbrella project that relies on a series of public-contributed, interactive audio installations. Inspired by the Nkisi sculptures and the spirits that inhabit these artifacts, I have been working on a series of projects that can be described as audio-based Nkisis. The first of these installations was in response to an African art history class that juxtaposed Nkisi artifacts with embodied audio. The second project conceived as a real-time, art performance installation sought audio input from the public. The goal is to create a layered, looping audio collage of those inhabiting that space, no matter how briefly, in order to create a unified sound, influenced and informed by social norms associated with that particular place. The current iteration of Identity and Sound is now manifesting in virtual, 3D environments, in which the sonic atmosphere is being created from audio messages recorded by friends and family. All three instantiations contain a data collection piece for art-making and related issues around anonymity and privacy that needed to be addressed without compromising the participants or the projects. Despite challenges presented by the pandemic, a common thread across all three of these audio-driven, performative art installations is this idea of creating a unified sound that represents a place, conveys emotions, and ultimately, tells the story of that place, all through the collaborative nature of the installation.
Part of the Institute for Digital Arts & Humanities' Ambient Algorhythms in the Arts and Humanities speaker series.
Sound art; Sound installations (Art); Interactive art
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