Design Yourself: the Barbican

glitch artwork featuring the shape of two women's faces
12 Sep 2019
3 min watch

In the third workshop of our Life Rewired inspired Design Yourself project, our young creatives worked with artist Matthew Evans in a workshop that turned the Barbican into a composition using pixel sonification.  

Using Matthew Evan's pixel sonification method to turn the Barbican into a composition, we considered the physics of sound and how it passes through you. We are active gestural instruments, technologically enhancing sounds without even noticing. Our mouths filter sound: through every obstructive piece of biomatter, we create resonance and sound decay. We have suppressors in our ears that dampen sound as a means to protect ourselves. In this way, humans are substractive sythesisers. 

Feeling the Gallery - Making sound and music out of visual data

Through transhuman endeavours, we attempt to alter ourselves and make our bodies better. But sometimes, we don't want to add or modify. Before bio-upgrading any further, what do we already have? There can be empowerment through human limitations, and how we can stretch those. By changing sound design parametres, we can further interrogate binary notions of sound being a division between human and technology.  Taking Wassily Kandinsky as a reference point for the modern desire for the visualisation of music, Matthew emphasised that by sonifying visual stimuli, our images ceased to be singularly visual. 

Filters that alter sound, allow for a more synesthetic approach, a retrospective nod to serialist artists like Schoenberg, but also a glimpse ahead at the possibilities for immersive art-making.

There can be empowerment through human limitations, and how we can stretch those

How we contributed:

Poetry and mini-essay by Hector and Tice. Soundscape made by Tice, using group recordings of sounds from our session with Matthew made using visual data taken from micro and macro images of the Barbican. Visuals creating using a glitched video of Tice using her mouth as a filter, along with Antonio's colour melting visual depiction of pixel data sonification. Concept by Vangelis, Hector, Tice and Antonio.