Zohar Kfir: Blackbox workshop report

28 April 2010

Hello all,
Before leaving to Germany and acquiring an additional jet-lag over the one I already have -- some of my delayed thoughts as an external viewer of the occurring in the BB-MP experience.

What I found most fascinating while observing the behaviors of people is the fact that instantly after wearing the gear, speech became slower (even droopy and careless) to the point the space/time shifted even for me. the slowed down speech created an additional layer in the space, alternating it to my 'here and now' Vs. "their time, mind-space & experience". this separation lead me to feeling external from the delayed space, but at the same time I could definitely palpate its behavioral boundaries.

At times the behavior patterns in the room shifted to seem as if some 'substances' were involved, as if putting on the headphones was a magical puff :)
which can make one wonder-- can a delayed passage of time serve as 'natural' endorphins?
Though, the fact that I was behind the camera during the whole experiment might have contributed to my alienated-voyeur experience,gazing at the happening mostly through a screen.

As for the rig's basic setup--
6 pack wireless set (from Hexagram)
Motu (from TML)
3 Minidisc players (Tim)
1 Digital recorder (Tim)
10 ft headphone extension cords (TML)
One laptop with max/msp patch (Tim)

Shiloh Whitney: Notes from the Hearing-Hereing trial

Date: April 25,  2010 9:47:03 PM EDT

First, some facts.

I lent myself to the apparatus for a little over an hour. (Regrettably, I did not keep exact track of time; and though my frame of mind was such that it was very difficult to estimate based on internal time consciousness, I did inquire the clock time when I had recollected my wits to do so, and thus am able to offer the educated guess that the duration of my submission to the apparatus was about an hour and 15 minutes, of which 45 minutes were lent to a single set of parameters, and the remaining 30 spent in some variety of others. Perhaps some of these and subsequent details can be confirmed by instruments and the recollections of others; if so, I hope they will supply the appropriate confirmations, additions, and amendments.)

The apparatus, as you know, consisted of noise-cancelling headphones, augmented by microphones and speakers positioned above each ear, through which audio was picked up and proffered to my hearing in some clever alternative organization.

The parameters of this organization during the first 45 minutes included a) left-right reversal, so that a sound made my a body on my right would be heard on my left, and vice versa; and b) a short delay, so that all sounds made by foreign bodies and my own would reach my ears only after some interval. It is my impression that the interval was quite short—probably less than a second by about half. 

Further variations were introduced in the last 30 minutes of the trial. One of these, I have been given to understand (for it was perceived at the time as relatively lacking in organization), consisted in audio from another participant’s (Andrew’s) microphones being voiced through my speakers. This was disorienting, but not in any particularly marvellous way. I perceived that Andrew was “here,” very close to me sound-wise, even when he was far away otherwise. But this was felt as a simple adjustment, and though faintly burdensome, failed to supply the thicker experiential qualities of confusion (e.g., wonder, marvel, bewilderment, uncanniness, etc). The arrangement did not, for instance, produce a felt quality of displacement, as one might expect. It was rather like a “crowding.” I did not experience myself to be where he was. His sound did not move me. Instead of being displaced to his sound position, the sounds made in and around him seemed to encroach upon my location. This was mildly obnoxious and confusing in a shallow, perceptually inefficacious manner. I felt that the interactive sound space I needed to make sense of the situation was being occupied. The sounds I was hearing ceased to respond to my own movements. My own perceptually efficacious presence as a hearing-audible body felt removed—not to another position in the soundscape, which would have allowed me to make audible sense of things in a different way; rather, removed to a more spectatorial position, more passive than active, and with my passivity estranged from my activity, and so no longer powerful as passivity. I shall say no more about this period.

Yet another variation introduced in the later 30 minute period featured a delay of what seemed considerably longer duration than the short delay that prevailed during the initial 45 minute period. This was less disorienting than the shorter delay. I found myself adjusting to the situation through manipulation and non-perceptual compensation: for instance, I was inclined to speak in short bursts so as to avoid being interrupted by the (delayed) sound of my own voice. When others spoke, the delay tended to effect an interruption of the sound situation rather than introducing a shift in its organization. Sound was experienced as disconnected from the situation rather than differently organized. In conversing with Andrew under these parameters, I say him laugh at his own remarks long before I heard them, and found the affective rhythm of the conversation suspended in the wait for the sound. In some degree, it was possible under these parameters to ignore the soundscape of the situation; and tempting to do so.

By far the tidiest experience of perceptual disorientation and incarnation of new perceptual level accompanied the left-right reversal arrangement. This was also, I think, the arrangement accompanied by perceptual shifts most directly linkable to place; and the arrangement that offers the most promising possibilities for generating situations in which we explore the connections of place with memory and identity. Shortly after donning the apparatus, Andrew, who I was peripherally aware of as at my right at the time, spoke to me. I immediately turned to my left to respond! (Having, of course, heard his address to my left.) Furthermore, in the readjustment period subsequent to removing the apparatus (so, then under usual, non-reversed perceptual parameters), precisely the same series of events occurred: a gentleman I was peripherally aware of as sitting to my right spoke, and I turned to my left in order to address my attention to him! Clearly, the left-right reversal was so successfully incorporated that a return to usual left-right parameters was experience as reversal. Motor orientation toward a sound came to mean turning to face it on the opposite side from whence it appeared. Sounds heard from front and behind had an echo-like quality, but I is not clear that they provided alternative motor motivations. 

The left-right reversal parameters were not experienced as perceptually difficult. Neither burdensome, as hearing Andrew’s sounds had been; nor bewildering, as the short delay was (more on this soon). There were some experiences of surprise and perceptual mistake, as in the two events I recounted above of the motor meaning of sound being surprisingly reversed. But these were occasional rather than constantly discernible. They were confusions about my place with respect to the place of the sound, and so required a context of motor activity to become conspicuous. The sound itself was not very surprising or difficult. Though, as I have said, it produced a proliferation of echoes. This quieted after some time wearing the apparatus, and re-emerged upon removing it. Indeed, it was more marked during the period of readjustment to usual perceptual parameters. Upon leaving campus after the trial, as I walked my bike down St Catherine (a bit too disoriented to ride), I experienced phantom sounds: for instance, the conversation of a group of pedestrians passing on my right seemed to echo on my left. It was some time, perhaps an hour, before these phantoms disappeared.

Focus on the noise-making bodies seemed at first to take time. But no profound confusion was associated with locating sounds. I speculate that incorporation of left-right reversal was in fact facilitated by being combined with the short delay. One would often see (horizonally) the movements associated with noise-making before hearing them. The delay occluded the felt strangeness of reversal, as if I “had time” for it. Certainly the delay offered a slower, and thus thicker, sound-present. Perhaps this opened a thicker space—time, rather—of incorporation. The delay may have functioned as a mnemonic device for the left-right reversal, allowing one time for visual and motor attention to a noise-making motion before reminding one to listen for its sound on the reverse side. In any case, reversal was quietly and unceremoniously incarnated in a new perceptual level.

There was however a thick kinaesthetic confusion experience with each new set of parameters (in some cases before I knew the parameters had been varied), including the change introduced by removal of the apparatus. This confusion is particularly difficult to describe, but exceedingly conspicuous. The borders and depths of my body proper were oddly dissolute: both swollen upwards and outwards, and also attenuated in general, as if my body’s own visceral solidity was uncertain. This experienced quality was similar to that of weightlessness, as if I was buoyed up in a medium heavier than myself, and liable to migrate through no special effort of my own. This feeling of weightlessness was most acute in the period after removing the apparatus, to the extent that I felt mildly faint and queasy. Another experienced quality that followed the ebbs and flows of that of weightlessness was a feeling of depthlessness, of a shallowness of my own body. When, in the course of a habitual gesture, I touched my hair and brushed the skin of my face, these surfaces felt thin and papery: not surfaces only, as when one touches an arm that has “fallen asleep,” but surfaces with only shallow depths beneath. This feeling of my own body as shallow, it must be added, was also a tangible confusion of ownness and strangeness, a feeling of my own body as strange: in touching myself, I touched a stranger, a body only ambivalently my own. It is my impression that this weightlessness and shallowness of one’s own body are experiential qualities of perceptual confusion about place.

I have left description of the short delay to the last, perhaps because it is also difficult to speak about, and perhaps because under this arrangement few clear connections emerged to the issues of place that we have foregrounded in our study. Perhaps this is because the disorientation experienced in it was more cognitive than perceptual. Certainly speech (especially one’s own) and cognition were what were most dramatically affected by it. Upon speaking, I found myself interrupted by myself—that is, by the privately heard sound of myself speaking. The effects of this interruption, witnessed most clearly in listening to others’ attempts to speak under its influence, were striking: speech slowed, stuttered, and slurred. The quality of the perceptual difficulty that influenced these contortions was bewilderment: it was laborious to focus thought, and entertainingly difficult to converse—an activity I spent much of the trial time attempting. I found myself speaking at inordinate volume, apparently in a (vain, of course!) attempt to shout down my delayed and interrupting self/voice. It grew progressively easier to converse, and focus thought. By the end of the first 45 minutes, my delayed voice was experienced as quieter; still heard, but heard as a partially hidden side of speech rather than an interruption. 

Though entertaining, this set of parameters did not directly affect my sense of place. They would, I think, be more likely to do so under different conditions; perhaps in a party, where the locations of speakers undergo a slower migration, and where these locations have more character in the context of the broader spatial situation (e.g., “to the right of the couch,” “standing next to so-and-so,” “in front of the window”). I suggest this largely because I suspect the delay parameters contributed to the experience of the phantom sounds that emerged most conspicuously post-trial, and I speculate that a more richly articulated spatial situation could motivate these phantoms to accrue to features of the place, and one’s own place with respect to them and it.

Andrew Forster workshop report

I wore the very simple left-right flipping device, using the stereo recorder with reversed headphones. And also the delay setup, and exchange of hearing with Shiloh. The latter two were not for such extended periods as Shiloh and I remarked no  residual effect. Other than the top of my head hurt from smiling.

Knowing that we were to be toying with sound, during the set-up period I wandered around the room thinking about my un-altered sound experience of it. With its dramatic reduction of the outside mush of background sound it is already a very focussed sound environment.  With my eyes closed I could hear when I was near a wall versus in the open space and likewise could hear whether that was curtain/dampened wall or the hard surface of drywall. 

The first effect I noticed from putting on the headphones is that allot of this sonic subtlety was lost. Its a crushed spectrum of sound. One could call this either focus or deprivation depending on what you were used to hearing. The focus was on a much cruder layer of the sound environment, noises that we made deliberately, claps, language, footfalls, etc.

The simple left-right flip was quite disorienting, less so when I was not trying to interact but just moving in the space. Definitely had the sense that very quickly I could master this flip, correct for it and integrate it with my other senses (the visual seeming to dominate, get a hold on things and re-anchor). I'd say that for the most part this was a conscious correction but quite rapidly becoming second nature... to the extent that I though within a short time this reversal of input would become un-remarkable. [and a constant pan would easily maintain the disorientation].

The delay/reversal setup (I think it was quite a long delay by the time I was using it) was the most disorienting, especially when trying to engage in any interaction or verbal communication. I think the comic effect of the delay on conversation, while very fun, certainly the most fun I had all day, was mostly about the purely absurd possibility of such a sensory three legged race in interaction. The speech slurring was another effect, one where I wondered whether the slur was about the delay or about my  normal ability to constantly check on my voice by hearing as I speak. Similar to being deaf?

I thought the sound swap with Shiloh was interesting, I knew it had happened (different than for her). Most interesting when we were close together and moving around, not talking, so what I was getting was almost 'right', but not quite 'right'.  Definitely a sense that this was unreliable data. But I also knew this. Somehow there was a difference between the unreliable soundings coming form her headset, versus the the experience when it was just from my headset processed through the computer. Unlike the left-right swap, this had an unpredictability which would take collusion to master. I thought there was something in that. A kind of dance. Also experienced when being the sound making for Niomi's wanderind, while she was under delay. Again this put the experience into a realm of communication or interaction, but i think in a more interesting way than the delay game.

[Memory+Place] getting trace of the experiment

Hi everyone,
I wanted to meet with at least someone who was present at the experiment in order to ask about what happened, and to begin discussing the next phase.
It would be extremely useful if everyone -- David, Shiloh, Andrews, Niomi, Tim, ... who was present in the Blackbox  to write down a description of your experience, more in the far more ample empirical spirit of Roger Bacon than in the pre-schematized mode of a contemporary scientific report.   Shiloh's first person account is a very good example to follow.  It can stimulate quite valuable insights as David's interpretations demonstrate.
I think it'd be extremely useful for everyone to follow suit, even if your accounts of the event are less detailed now with the passage of time, I think it would be essential to write out as much as possible.
In lieu of my own experience of the staged event, and in lieu of interviews with you, I will await yourfree-form accounts before venturing a response and recommendation.
I'll try to talk with David today before flying out 8:30 pm
Who can set up the rig ?
Where is the equipment and software?

Is the gear packed up in a box and is the software in TML's svn directory (which one)?
Can someone -- Tim, Zohar, Mazi -- please place a diagram of the hw / sw set up (so it can be reported or reconstructed in the future  in the TML WIKI for this project?  OR attach / email it to http://memoryplace.posterous.com ?
Xin Wei



From:David Morris [davimorr@alcor.concordia.ca]
Sent: Friday, April 23, 2010 8:25 AM

Unfortunately I’m quite tied up over these days and the weekend and so wouldn’t be able to make it…

I think, though, that we’re in a too preliminary stage to really get much out of a debriefing…

I should report, though, that Shiloh, in our session, had had the apparatus on for quite a long time,and when the apparatus was removed, she felt quite disoriented—something like a feeling ofweightlessness. We need to pursue this further, and I’m hoping Shiloh will write up a descriptionfor us. For I think that might be something we want to open up in the experiment—a sort of loss of anchorage in one’s bodily being toward the world that lets memory-place-identity floatfree…

Good work all around…!!!



From: Of Sha Xin Wei
Sent: April-21-10 9:20 AM

Hi, I'm back today, and am eager to talk with you about the experiment :)

Can those of us who are around meet for a debriefing echoing reflection refraction?
Sometime from tonite (after 6) through Monday noon?    I'm available on the weekend, too.

Apologies for  not making a specific hour but I'll update my calendar in Google soon, and then put up MeetingWizard if enough of you are up for a chat in these days while it's still fresh.

Also, we have a research hilights and plans meeting tomorrow Thursday 4-5 in the TML (EV7.725), so it'd be great to have participants from the MP experiments be present.

Compliments all around.  Thanks to Tim for the sound processing system, thanks to Zohar and Mazi for the complementary work.  And the video document.

A presto!
Xin Wei


From: Zohar Kfir
Sent: April-20-10 8:20 PM

Hello all,

Here is a very rough draft (& highlights ;) of the video documentation +
tracks of audio delays that Tim recorded off the patch.

it resides temporarily on vimeo--   (sorry for the stretched image, the export took too long and I don't have time to revise it right now- to be future modified !)

As for the next planned experiment-- we can book the projection/animation lab on the 10th floor for anytime (thats quite flexible) or, as Navid suggested- we can use the black box again some time in mid May when frankensteins's ghosts rehearsals are occurring. (Navid, can you please send the dates that can work for that?)

though, It might be good to experiment in a smaller space this time?

Im away for the next two weeks, but anytime after May 5th is good for me. shall we tentatively propose a date for mid May? David, what works for you?

see you all soon


On Apr 20, 2010, at 4:25 AM, Navid Navab wrote:

If an algorithm isn't already available in Max/MSP...

The tml spatialization toolkit in Max/MSP that I have been developing for a while offers several methods for the gestural and algorithmic control of spatialization. The following are some easy algorithmic possibilities: rotation, circular random (random rotation), trajectories, attractors, random with user defined restrictions and random stability (how long to move steadily before changing direction), etc. It is also possible to connect these algorithms in parallel and serial to achieve hybrid behaviours such as a rotating source with it's center of rotation being controlled by a pseudo-random function or by a gestural controller. Also in parallel: a rotation source that makes messy and unclean rotations (rotation + rand). 

 Mixing algorithmic control with gestural data (ie. Wii) is also interesting. In the past we tried defining a dancer's body as an attractor for sound sources and her movements as repulsers. Whenever she moved in a direction, sound sources (her own breathing sound) moved away from her and whenever she was steady her breathing-sound went back to her body as if her breath was attached to her by a spring. 

 RE sensors, headphones and delays: Note that Binaural-Audio is not 3D because the soundfield's xyz axis move with the ears or headphones. However by adding a few sensors it is possible to keep a soundfield "fixed" in place while someone walks through it with headphones. Adding delays, accelerations and anticipation to the soundfield "position calibration" then might be interesting in this case. 

 Also of interest might be manipulation of a soundfield's directional response pattern (ie. transforming a source from being everywhere to being sharply localized). Imagine a sound source that is sharply localized... but the closer you get to it the more it seems to be everywhere at once.


Reminder and: Breakthrough?

On Sat, Apr 10, 2010 at 9:12 AM, zohar <zohar@zzee.net> wrote:
Hi all,

For Wednesday, lets plan 3 or 4 scenarios that we can test, each maybe for 30 minutes with post- discussion?
Im throwing to the pool what we've talked about till now, please add your suggestions/ comments till wednesday so we can prepare our gear and ears to it.

• David's suggestion of an 'Auditory Stratton' (so simple and effective for displacement !)

• Walking in space
 Since we havent tried a footsteps experiment yet, using one set of wireless headphone and other 2 wired with extensions.
(if you have shoes with hard soles, please wear them :) Ill bring few flat metal push pins, to put in soles, it can generate a slight clicking noise).

• Might be interesting to read a text together, attempting to synch to a 'linear guideline' while each of the readers has a different delay?

• Random switching of listeners, as we tried in our last meeting. (Thanks to Tim !)

Having two extra people with a fresh perspective is a wonderful idea, thanks for inviting them David !

David Morris: Hearing-Hereing

Howdy all,
Please find below a follow through on the 'breakthrough' in the previous email I sent round...a beginning of a proposal for what I hope might work...

Thanks to Andrew Foster for either deliberately or by accident writing me a email asking with the subject line "What happens when we can’t here our steps?" and then in the content asking about what happens when we can't hear our steps--which led me to the concept of "hereing" in relation to "hearing". And thanks to Tristana for teaching me about haunting.



Hearing-Hereing is an interactive environment that varies the way one hears the place one is in so as to help reveal how “hereing” occurs.

That is, Hearing-Hereing helps reveal how it is that one engenders a sense of being-here, as the being that one is, has been and will be—how one gains a sense of being a being with such and such an identity in such and such an identifiable place. It does this by varying the acoustic aspect of the moving, bodily, engagement with places around oneself through which one “heres” oneself in the everyday world.

Hearing-Hereing is at once an artwork and a phenomenological experiment, the one by way of the other.

As artwork, participants are co-creators of Hearing-Hereing. While participants are passive to the acoustic variations that Hearing-Hereing induces in one’s everyday engagement with the world, the active world-engagement of the participant produces what Hearing-Hereing reveals and is. If Hearing-Hereing were a painting, it would be a painting that would be produced by the participants looking about, given the varied way the world looks at/to her. With Hearing-Hereing, the varied way the world sounds invites a way of sounding out the world a new, producing a differently sounded world.

As phenomenological experiment, this means that while Hearing-Hereing induces basic variations in the participant’s acoustic experience, we as phenomenological experimenters are not interested in these variations as such. We are not interested, for example, in measuring effects of these variations so as to interpret the participant’s experience as a causally induced result that disturbs hearing as acoustic reconstruction of a objectified sonic environment. We are interested in how the participants efforts to live, move, and “here” themselves in the interactively-varied environment creates new variations on experience. We are interested in describing these variations of experience so as to disclose something
about the sense of “hereing.” That is, the variations we passively induce in hearing are not to be measured in terms of an already determined and conceptualized space of variations. They are rather a means to reveals variations in “hereing” as a process that is acoustically mediated.

As an analogy, we might think of Merleau-Ponty’s phenomenological analyses, in The Phenomenology of Perception, of situations in which someone’s objective body has been varied; the point of such analyses is
not to show how this induces a departure from a norm, but to reveal the space of possible variations on making sense of the world. As another analogy, just as one is not interested in what a person sees on the page in the Rorschach inkblot, but in what she/he makes of it, so too we are not interested in what the participant hears vs. what they should be hearing, but what she/he makes of the environment—how she/he sounds out the world and thence “heres” her/himself.

Basic Description of Hearing-Hereing as Interactive Environment

The main components of Hearing-Hereing as an interactive environment are: the soundplace, the mike-matrix, the virtual ears, and the tracker.

The soundplace: This component produces the sound of the place in which the participant moves. (Think of the sense of the word “sound” when we speak of a place like Puget sound.) We are envisioning the sounds of a place like an office: an alarm clock going off, a computer beeping, a door opening, a phone ringing, something clanking a waste paper basket, a book falling over, papers rustling in the wind, a fire truck going by outside, etc. The soundplace will be constructed so as to let us produce sounds temporally in/out of synch with the associate visual events, or spatially in place/displaced with the associated visual location. It might also be possible to produce the sounds of the office without the office being visually there, for example, to have the items in the office be visually projected on to the walls. An alternative might be to use a kitchen as an exemplary place, given our interest in thinking, via this project, about
how people dealing with memory and movement difficulties navigate and pragmatically handle everyday tasks like preparing foods in a kitchen.

The participants own movement will be part of the soundplace. E.g., bells on the ankles, clicky metal on the shoes, crinkly paper coveralls, bangles on the wrists, wristwatch alarms, will be deployed so that the participant produces sound as she/he moves about.

We want to see how the participant navigates and orients—“heres”—in this soundplace, and how they describe the experience of: themselves, this place, orienting, memory, identity, in this environment.

The mike-matrix: This is a matrix of microphones suspended above the soundplace.

The virtual ears: The virtual ears are the central device of Hearing-Hereing. Participants will wear active noise-cancelling or passive noise-blocking earphones. A binaural microphone pair will be placed either
on the two ears (outside the headphone) or on two shoulders (etc.). The microphones on the participant and in the mike-matrix will feed into a Max/MSP processing environment and then be fed back into the participant’s earphones in such a way as to allow the participant to hear with different ears than the everyday. For example, left-right ‘channels’ can be reversed, effective space between ears increased, etc. The virtual ears processing loop also records what the participant is hearing and what the microphones are picking up. The loop between the participant and the Max/MSP (four channels, 2 inputs from mikes, 2 outputs to headphones) will either be wireless, or tethered through a wire suspended from overhead with a bungee cord or spring, etc. to take up slack.

The tracker: This tracks the location of the participant and also (we hope) head direction.

Initial Scenarios for Hearing-Hereing

The following involve variations on the virtual ears. They can be run against variations on the soundplace in which things sound where they are and in synch, or desynchronization and displacement scenarios.

Stratton: named in honour of Stratton’s famous experiments with ‘inverting the visual field’ through left-right ‘reversals’ induced by lenses (studied by Merleau-Ponty), this scenario ‘inverts the auditory field’ by feeding the output of the left-hand mike on the participant into the participant’s right ear and vice versa.

Lag: various delays are introduced into the loop between the participant’s left-hand mikes and left-hand earphone, similarly with the right hand.

Slew: disparate lags on left vs. right hand channels.

Cyclops: LR are (through various algorithms to be determined) combined into one monaural signal that is fed into both L and R earphone

Whirligig: L R channels are processed through a Wurlitzer like effect so that sound spins between the ears. (Could be too much!!)

Disembodied: participant hears not through mikes on her/his body, but through mikes in the matrix. I.e. she/he does hear ‘from’ where she/he is, but from fixed points in the soundplace.

Detached: spectral filtering knocks out high or low ends, etc. to produce muffling, as if one has a terrible cold and can’t quite acoustically
connect with the world.

Haunted: participant hears what happened a few minutes ago, rather than what’s happening now. The participant is haunted by the acoustic past, is followed by her/himself.

Haunted-Here: participant hears what happened last time she was at this spot. I.e., the sound stream from the participant’s mike is recorded and tagged with location data, and the processing loop feeds back data by looking back for past sound from this location, and mixing it in to what’s happening now. Need to have a fade in fade to get rid of annoying artifacts. The participant is haunted by what happened here.

Other-Haunted: as above, but the participant is hearing data recorded from previous sessions recorded with other participants.

Reminder and: Breakthrough?

On 2010-04-09, at 5:22 PM, davimorr@alcor.concordia.ca wrote:

A reminder that Zohar has kindly set up a session for us in the blackbox to continue our explorations. I'll be late, after five, but if I'm right in remembering, Zohar is planning to begin setup at two. Can you please post us the schedule. 

Also I just had what might be a breakthrough thought: an auditory Stratton, to try alongside our displacement plans. 

Noise cancelling headphones; lightweight mikes on the earpieces; left mike feeds into right channel, right mike into left channel, with all apparatus light weight on the body. You are in an office. An alarm clock goes off, a telephone rings, a computer makes a shutdown sound, a door opens, a fire truck goes by. You try to find, locate remember things by sound. What happens when the acoustic field is reversed. Could also delay the channels. And also could as in the others experiment dislocate the sound sources from the visual objects. Or maybe by subtle delays/processing on the mike to speaker loop, slightly slew all sounds leftward, rightward, inward, outward. 

I.e., acoustic equivalent of changing placement of eyes in head. 

Finally: going to invite two independent studies MA students from my phenomenology class to come. One wrote to me yesterday saying for his final symposium paper he want to explore Heidegger's points about temporality by thinking about what happens to time when we can't hear/here our own footsteps, linking this up to Beckett's Footfalls. The other is trained as a dancer and for her previous paper on Husserl showed us how we could learn about Husserlian retentive/protentive temporality by attending to swinging our arms. This time she's going to do Heideggerian temporality via a study of balance.

Zohar, Tim: audio gear

Date: March 9, 2010 7:14:14 PM PST
...Tim Sutton said:

Hi all,

Sorry for my silence the past while, Frankenstein's occupied Navid and me quite a lot the past two weeks.

We're actually using the wireless kit now until Friday.. and the small microphones included are decent. Could be better, but ok for tests. Borrowing two single packs is an option — it's lighter (no heavy rack case), but you'll have more batteries to go through with the receivers, because the 6-pack uses three twin receivers that are AC-powered. Either way the mics and transmitters are identical.

One option is to mount them onto one's shoulders to pick up the near-binaural image, and if the headphone (or HMD) to be used is isolated enough it should be possible to prevent feedback. (microphones near headphones can be scary!)

TML doesn't actually have any particularly small microphones, just small- and large-diaphragm studio mics. But if you're needing an audio interface to use with this wireless setup, our 828mkII came back from repair, and thus we have a new-ish Motu 828mk3 that will be a floating unit and available as of next week.

There isn't really an equipment list anywhere unfortunately. I was talking to Laura E. about helping with some audio reorganizing later this month, maybe that would be a good time to take inventory.

Also, maybe Zohar and Mazi have some ideas about how to make one's own sound (footsteps, walking?) move away from oneself, but Navid has a spatialization patch that he (or I to some extent) could show, which mates the ambisonic panning control object to either ambisonic panning or the IRCAM Spat, which evidently has nice binaural processing, with the benefit of simulated room effects in the Spat — attenuation, room reflections and various spectral changes according to distance/position.


On 2010-03-09, at 2:29 PM, zohar wrote:

Hi Harry,

Mazi and I plan to meet next week and start to prototype some audio delay structure. 
I was wondering what kind of gear is available at the TML for us to work with and where can it be found. 
I looked at the Hexagram audio section and they have a multi (6 mics) unit , that might be good to experiment with as wireless input. let me know if you have any thoughts of what we can use.



Helgi Schweizer March 9, 2010: Body and soul

From: Helgi Schweizer <jon.helgi@web.de> 
Date: March 9, 2010 4:05:25 AM EST
Subject: Body and soul
Dear Xin Wei.
Here comes a fresh collection of crazy experimental ideas for
lunatic experimental setups. 
Best regards

28 Feb 2010 (?)

Dear Xin Wei.

The challenging idea of breaking up the oneness of me and my body has bothered me
for a while. I am favourably impressed by your equipment, but I am not sure, if I do exactly grasp what can and what cannot be accomplished by means of  that wonderful
machinery. We are not used to such options here.

If we really want to separate body and soul, (as seems to happen occasionally in schizophrenia and epilepsy; they call it out of body phenomenon) we should  propably resort to the temporal domain and some kind of  holodeck environment. 
We would have to project some kind of „space“ on all six walls or sides of a cube and have it move  (forward, backward, turn or tilt) in a controllable mode. The movement
of the projected space should be controlled by the movements of the subject in the cube, however with a certain (short) temporal delay.

The idea  somehow invokes the William-Lee-effect in the visual realm. It is not garanteed at all, that the contraption  works in the expected way, but I think it might be useful to go a little bit furter into the matter. Maybe we come upon some ways to simplify the apparatus or we contrive some simple pilot experiments.

The central thought is, that we should try to disrupt or disturb the union of the decision to do something (for instance to move forward), and the sensory feedback, respectively the effect, that this decision is usually connected to.

Ok. This is so far my best afflatus. 

It seems rather easy to contrive more complicated versions of the experimental setup, for instance, we could try longer delays, that means, the actions (locomotions) and their
visual presentation (feedback) might be separated by  seconds. You act so to speak in your own past. To be honest, I have no clue, what the consequences are to the perception of space and the self.
Talking about memory we have the tendency to think first and foremost of the retrieval of stored contents i.e. perceptions, actions and symbolic items. The immediate experience however is predominantly governed by what is called the short or even ultra short term memory. This kind of memory on the other side is not an issue in school and therefore receives less attention in psychological studies.

Monday P.S.
Maybe the following idea is of interest to you. We (Wicki and me) use to organize at least one happening or jazz concert every year in our garden house (Hundingshalle).
This  time I am pondering on some kind of delayed dancing with oneself. The idea goes as follows: There is a band improvising on a certain  theme and a dancer completely dressed in black dancing to the music. The dancer is illuminated by a beamer projection.
The whole scene (the projected video, the dancer and most important his or her shadow)
is recorded and uses for projection in the second, setting, i,e, in the ultimate perfomance.
The dancer then dances to the live music and to the projection of himself/herself. There are four synchronized „shadow-dancers“ on stage in the real performance.

It should be easy to iterate the process and have more dancers and shadows dancing simultaneously. One could try to alter the speed of the projected dancing, for instance double it and/or multiply the beamers projecting with or without delays and tempo-shifts. 

There are some questions  connected to this  performance, that me and my students are  specially interested in. So for instance, we would like to know how the recall of body-movement is stimulated or influenced  by dancing in alignment to own former dancing moves.

Best regards


From: Sha Xin Wei <shaxinwei@gmail.com>
Date: February 27, 2010 4:22:36 AM EST
To: Helgi Schweizer <jon.helgi@web.de>
Subject: OZONE media choreography system, and the Topological Media Lab and Hexagram technical facilities

Dear Helgi,

Thank you very much for brainstorming with me!   We don't have scientific quality equipment -- no laboratory grade measurement instruments for physiological (electrical signals in the body) [nor the knowledge to do such measurements].

But we can easily generate a Lee effect.    Your report of the effect is fascinating.   In fact one of the first proposals is to delay sound and pass it back to the person either in headphones or through a speaker array. (See below.)

But as for the technical means, let me describe our OZONE (custom software and some standard hardware) architecture: