Art 412 Conceptual/ Information Arts - Intro to Art & Technology

Assignment 3:   Sound - Family Portrait - Text - Abstraction

1. Overview

Create a "portrait" of your family using sound. Find an interesting way of mapping sound to persons and/or situations. For example, you could pick a mapping that represents a each personís generic characteristics or you could pick a particular kind of situation and then map your family membersí reactions to that situation.

You are asked to focus on text as a visual component . Use the characteristics of text to map to members of your family while experimenting with qualities such as size, motion, font,  and  style.

Create an event in which sounds and image animation are related in some identifiable way - eg in synchronization or counterpoint.  The event does not have to be highly interactive but it should allow viewers to start and stop particular sounds.

2. Sound

Some analysts believe sound is a neglected element in contempoary western art;  we are a culture dominated by visuality  "if you see what I mean".  Also sound work is constrained by the historical conventions of music.  Digital sound technologies allow easy recording, manipulation, and dissemination of sound and have spurred much sound art exploration.  Researchers are interested in sonification - the use of sound to represent informaiton.

Read the articles

Stephen Wilson  - Excerpts from Information Arts focused on sound (5.2) (
Pick at least one other article from the artlinks text links (section on sound.)
(See main 412 page for sound resources)

3. Abstraction - Text

Abstraction is a key feature of current art and science.  Symbols are invoke to stand for complex elements of information.  Abstractions try to avoid direct visual representation and open of a rich world of imagination that can map image to idea/object.  Links to sites that explore text. Every feature of text can become something to be manipulated, something that carries symbolic meaning, something that takes on expressive power in relation to the other text.  Not everything needs to be absolutely readable.  Be careful with concrete mapping - for example, "father" for father.  Consider synonyms, character qualities, personal references, favorite objects, typical emotions, work, whatever can help stand for the person.  Treat the text as a graphic image.  For example, consider the following:  size, color, grey scale, transparency, rotation, clarity, font, movement, layering,   The links with sound can bring in new meaning - for example the sounds mimicing the words, standing against them, foreshadowing changes in text, looping, using effects that amplify things going on with the graphic text.

4. Design Constraints - Technical Requirements

  Information about CIA Program