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(Anti)Voice Loop: the Sound of Propaganda

Posted in Installations Hardware Workshops

(Anti)Voice Loop is an interactive sound installation created by Philip Liu and Freddie Taewoo Hong, inspired by the aesthetic and functional aspects of propaganda speakers, what it means to have a voice, and noise.

Voice in the noise

This interactive installation consists of a transmitter tower in the centre of the space around which the audience freely roam with interactive wearable receivers on their heads. The installation uses a whole family of Bela boards with a standard Bela embedded in the transmitter tower and six Bela Minis used in the six wearable receivers.

The transmitter tower installed at Goldsmiths University, London.

Transmitting and Receiving

The tower has 4 speakers of two different types. On the lower half of the tower there are super-directional speakers which emit voices, while on the upper half semi-directional speakers generate different kinds of noise. These speakers rotate around the steel structure, continuously seeking members of the audience. The voices which are projected from the super-directional speakers are synthesised from half-random alphabets whose arrangement is determined by the environmental noise.

The head-worn receivers that each house a Bela Mini, ultrasonic sensor, microphone and speaker.

Projecting voice

The nature of the ultrasonic super-directional speakers allows the receivers worn by the audience to determine whether or not they are within the effected zone of the vocal sound beam. This is judged according to the signal caught by the ultrasonic sensor inside each receiver. If it is within the zone, the receiver starts to record the voice. The recorded voice then immediately starts to loop when the receiver is outside the boundary of the super-directional speaker, and as the audience walks around the space, the sound initially generated by the tower travels with them around the space being played through the speaker in the receiver itself. This way the audience becomes an extension of the tower.

Contrastingly the semi-directional speakers act as erasers. When they catch the audience they gradually attenuate the sound which is being looped in the receiver. As the audience moves around the space they displace the sound to different locations continuously re-configuring the soundscape of the space. Philip Liu is an electroacoustic composer, DSP engineer, and audiovisual artist currently based in Berlin. To see and hear more of his work visit https://www.procedural.cc/.

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