Dear All,
We were delighted to present our past work and future ideas at the Hub on Wednesday (30th November), unfortunately due to the tube disruption many of you who wanted to were unable to attend so we have created a virtual presentation for you here!

Below you will find:

  • Slides from the Presentation
  • Audio recording of Presentation and Discussion
  • Short written summary of the Presentation and Discussion
  • Explanation of ‘Granular Synthesis’ as a proposed method by artist Soosan Lolavar (15:45 in the audio)

We would be delighted to hear from any of you about these ideas and we hope to attend many more events in the Hub in the new year (as unfortunately we are currently spread over the UK!). Please get in touch with Rachel@AXNSCollective.org

Looking forward to some exciting collaborations!

 

Presentation slides

Audio Recording of presentation and discussion

 

Summary

AXNS presented 4 collaborative ideas to the group which centered around aural perception, aural histories and agency. Two ideas particularly stood out in the group discussion. The first of which on Dementia and Audition (slide 6) in collaboration with sound artist and electronic composer Soosan Lolavar using ‘granular synthesis’ (see next section). This work is a multi-channel installation using archive or newly recorded voices of people with dementia and their support network. Ideally AXNS, would like to produce new recordings from an adult with dementia, so many creative decisions could be made with their input and direction.

The second idea Dementia Care and Agency (slide 7) proposed adding a bus-stop inside the Wellcome, mirroring the fake bus-stop erected outside of a care association in Dusseldorf allowing residents to act on their desires to go outside and ‘get the bus’. The new bus-stop could act as a repository to collect stories about dementia, agency and care and include a listening post to hear previous recordings. We also had the exciting idea of having an mirroring artwork in the community (possibly attached to another transport spot) asking the question – can London with it’s ‘hustle and bustle’ ever be a dementia friendly city?

The group also spoke on the role of second languages in dementia and local communities. We felt the artworks proposed had a particular potential to explore the contrasting roles of bilingualism as a ‘protector’ of the brain from dementia but also the difficulties that can be caused when the second language degrades.

 

Granular Synthesis

The installation will take the form of a group of speakers (c. 30 +) assembled in the centre of a large space. When the audience walk among and between the speakers they will hear snippets of interviews recorded with one dementia patient and their carers, family members, physicians etc. However, when the audience step further away from the speaker they will perceive the congolomeration of these interviews as musical sound.

This audio effect will be achieved through the process of granular synthesis, which is when you make alterations to tiny portions of audio (around a millisecond) which are not easily discernible by the human ear.
There are two ways of achieving this desired effect. Firstly we can take a millisecond slice of a particular interview audio file and replace is with a moment of music. This change won’t be discernible when you listen to that file alone, but if you do the same process with all 30+ audio files, and you line up the spliced ‘moments’ of music so they occur concurrently, what you will hear when you step away from the group of speakers is a continuous musical line. (See Fig 1 (first page) for details)
A second way to achieve this is by ‘merging’ two audio files together. If we take the audio of someone speaking and merge it with some audio of a musical sound, what we end up with is a kind of hybrid between these two sound sources. Once we layer all these sounds together, and when the audience steps further away from the speakers and hears the work as a whole, the effect will be a musical sound experience. (See Fig 2 (second page) for details)

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