Project 1

Family

Mashing family culture
in a gallery space via sound and video.

Medium
Sound Art, Audio and Video Installation.

 

Subject
This project explores cultural relationships and differences between my various family members by recording ambient sound, white noise, and visual environments in the home and "mashing" them in a gallery space. Specifically, I'm interested in my wife's Japanese family who live in Tokyo in contrast to my father who lives in the San Francisco East Bay, my mother who lives in Georgia, and my wife and I who live in San Francisco. I'm curious to know what visual and audio information is similar or different and what happens when they cross over. How does my father's interest in watching NASCAR on TV blend with my father-in-law's interest in watching Japanese baseball? How does the sound of the MUNI train outside my apartment contrast with my mother opening a can of Pepsi in Georgia? How does the truck driving through Tokyo neighborhoods selling potatoes compare to the Ice Cream truck that roams my father's residential street in Pleasanton? I want to "mash" family culture the same way a dj might mix two distinct records to create a new musical concept. I'm thinking of DJ Danger Mouse who released "The Grey Album" in 2004 by using an a cappella version of rapper Jay-Z's "The Black Album" and mixed it with various instrumentals created from The Beatle's "White Album."

 

Installation View 1 :: Capturing culture in the home environment
This illustration represents the four homes that will participate in the installation. They are located in San Francisco, the East Bay, Georgia, and Japan. Sounds and videos will be captured by various mics and wireless web cams and processed through filters, effects, and mixing techniques using computers and then teleported live to a gallery setting. To keep the project minimal only one sound and visual source will be output from each location at a single time, although the sounds and images can arbitrarily change, cross fade, loop or be repeated by using programming language that provides "mashing" capabilities.

 

 

Installation View 2:
Types of Hardware / Software

• Each residence will have multiple cameras and mics positioned in the environment. Some cameras and mics may even be positioned outside the residence to capture external sounds and images from the immediate environment.

• Pictured to the right are the essential hardware needed for each residence. From top to bottom: 1) Wireless microphone system 2) Contact Mic 3) Web Cam 4) Mac or PC Computer.

• Sound and videos are transmitted to a computer using Flash Media Encoder. Arrays can be defined using Flash ActionScript that will allow random images and sounds to be processed by parameters I define. In this case I only want one video recording and sound source to be retrieved from each residence and I might want to apply color filters to tint the video images or sound filters to alter the sound source.

 

 

 

Installation View 3: The Gallery
Once sound and video is recorded from each location it is transmitted to a computer installed at the gallery space. Included in the gallery installation are five video projectors and parabolic speakers. Video images and sounds are random and overlay with other visuals, text, or icons I've created that communicate issues of family culture. The pattern is unpredictable as video and sounds are randomly accessed and executed on to the gallerys' four walls and floor. Sometimes there may be silence, or white noise, and no video; other times there may only be a single video on a wall, while other times there may be heavy activity with both sound and video. Silence contrasted with a full spectrum of sound and video can enhance the installation experience.

 

The Gallery Installation Questions Family Culture
My family members are not in touch with each and so recording and listening to sounds and capturing video in the home and immediate environment is a way to bring us together. I want to explore culturally distinct sounds, the home environment, language, disconnectedness, sound relationships and incongruities. Will the relationship and/or behavior of the participants be comfortable or self-conscious knowing they may be recorded? Does this transform into a piece about how the private can turn into the public? What kinds of sounds and visuals will be recorded? How will the various family cultures overlap? Will the mashing of sounds and videos create a new culture? What is family and can it be defined by an installation in a gallery where the public can witness it? Can the notion or concept of family be tied together through sound and photos? Can sound and visual information connect us?

 

Research Links

1) Create Digital Music

2) The Relocation of Ambient Sound: Urban Sound Sculpture

3) Parabolic speakers

4) Sound Sensors

5) Digital Repeaters

6) Adobe Flash Media Encoder

7) IP Video Server

8) IP Camera

9) Contact Mic Resource

10) Wireless Mic System

11) Piezo Buzzers