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  • Writer's pictureparkershatkin

Hybrid Systems

How might manmade sound systems interact with natural sound systems? How might these systems work together to produce new sounds?

These are the questions I asked when starting my research. What makes a sound posthuman? I started with natural sounds, that exist outside of human influence; natural networks of sound, systems that repeat and produce sound as they ebb and flow—wind, waves, erosion. And what about manmade sounds? How might manmade sound systems affect natural sound systems? What would be the output of those two types of systems working together, and what might those new sounds be like?

When one system is heard through the parameters of another system, both sounds change.

Miro research diagram

I thought about sound obsolescence; which manmade sound systems might still exist after we're extinct, and which might not? I chose the sound of dial-up internet (made available on YouTube) as a manmade network that produces a sound output. In order to hear the sound of dial-up internet through the parameters of the natural sound system of ocean waves, I compared the two in a sound editor and manipulated the dial-up tone to mimic the sound waves of the ocean sound.

Ocean waves and dial-up internet sounds before manipulation; waves on the top, internet on the bottom

After manipulating the dial-up sound

But what if the sound systems were to overlap in a different way? What if, instead of replicating the sound waves of a system, the sound waves replicated the shape of the system itself?

Waveform before manipulation (very close up)

The Vltava river

Waveform after manipulation to mimic the Vltava river (rotated 90 degrees)

The new sound has become almost completely indistinguishable from the initial dial-up tone; in order to manipulate the waveform at this level, very tiny snippets of sound had to be edited, making it difficult and time-consuming to edit the entire sound file. The above sound is a loop of less than one second of sound.


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