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Human memory vs. Computer memory

brain2

I found the lecture on memory storage from the start of the semester very interesting, and I have been thinking about it quite a lot. Recently I lost about a week’s worth of data from my laptop and it got me thinking about memory more.
One of the things I had lost was the project file for a new track I’d been working on. The track was sort of finished, but I hadn’t been happy with the ending and there were some touchups I would have liked to make. However, I was now unable (at least without a lot of work) not able to do so. Fortunately for me, I had exported and uploaded the unfinished track on Soundcloud (privately), so I still had what I’d made. Instead of ditching the track (as I sometimes would in this case), I decided to work around the context of the lost project file.
The track is musically very simple, revolving around a piano loop and a breakbeat and some speech samples. The main speech sample says “Take this mild drug, and you will have a nice sleep without any nightmares.” So I thought about how when I don’t sleep well (as is often the case), it usually revolves around some uncomfortable memory, and the ingestion of a drug would be to effectively ‘repress’ these memories. Perhaps my laptop needed to repress some memories and that was the problem?
I thought this fit weirdly well with the structure of the song as well. The repetitive nature of it, accompanied with growing distortion and a sudden cut at the end mimics (at least for me) the process of trying to sleep and the stress involved (sometimes), followed by the sudden unconsciousness. The track can be found here:

 

I made some artwork to reflect this as well. I started with an MRI Brain scan, that I distorted using a ‘pinch’ tool (I changed the colours too). This was to mimic shrinkage in the brain (associated with memory loss), but also happened to make a nice pattern (pictured right). This aesthetically pleasing result of my ‘damaged’ brain reminded me of ‘Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind”, which provides some interesting insight into human memory (as well as just being a great film).
Anyway, I wasn‘t totally satisfied with this as a final artwork, so I went in search of a damaged polaroid filter (I guess to make my point more obvious). The one I settled on has the appearance of the top half being burned away, which when overlaid with the MRI scan, removes most of the brain (pictured left).

 

 

I guess my thoughts at the end of this have been about how we like to intervene with memory. A perfect memory is often seen as a virtue, and yet I’m sure most people have things they would rather forget. Preservation of memory is perhaps easier, particularly in this age where you can record almost anything you do. The removal of human memories is something that people perhaps fantasise about, and is actually the basis of the afore-mentioned ‘Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind’. There would of course be problems surrounding this (which is explored in the film), as often our negative experiences shape us, and the removal of them would make us ‘less human’. As I don’t want to babble (I may have already), I’ll finish on a Nietzsche quote:

“Blessed are the forgetful, for they get the better even of their blunders.”

New Music – Possible Direction for Final Performance

I’ve been toying with the idea of creating ‘Metal’ music through purely electronic means in my head for a while now. This came about when thinking about my final performance in August. As much of the music I have made over the last few years has gone between Electronic Dance Music and Metal I think this would be an interesting way to subvert both practices. As I would be making electronic music, but not for a club context as I normally would; and I would be making metal music but not in a band context. How I would perform this is not clear to me yet, but I feel I’ve made progress towards a stylistic direction this week.

This was actually unintentional, and just started from me messing around with ‘dream2’ from the new Code Orange album when on a long train journey. I didn’t really have an intended outcome with this

(which is often how I like to create). This resulted in a lo-fi mash of genres from Trap to Gabber. Drawing from Gabber brought me to an interesting realisation actually. It is not a style of music I like,

however I found that using the style outside of a Dance-Music context gave me a different perspective (it’s basically an electronic blast-beat).
Anyway, here’s the track:

I’ll be starting work on some original (and performable) songs like this pretty soon…

Final Post-Truth Post

manifesto final i think

Thought I’d post a little summary of my work on here now that it’s all done.

First of all, my manifesto. As explained in a previous post, my manifesto has taken a somewhat motivational approach (however this could be interpreted as ironic). I wanted to play on the simultaneous importance and meaningless of opinion. So the large text in the forefront conveys the importance, whilst the background is all opinionated YouTube comments (a mixture of positive and negative) which have almost no meaning 99% of the time (perhaps unless it is supporting an up and comer who actually sees/reads the comments).

Second of all, my project which was also explained in another post. For this I took inspiration from ‘The X-Files’ as the show focuses so much on concealing/discovering the truth. I have written an application that displays the iconic ‘THE TRUTH IS OUT THERE’ section from the opening credits of The X-Files in a loop in the background, with two more image loops on top. For these other loops I’m playing on the phrase ‘illegal alien’, as I find immigration has been somewhat of a hot-topic in Post-Truth politics, and aliens are obviously a focus in The X-Files. One of these loops flicks between various headlines (from the Daily Mail and The Sun) that are either about immigration/refugees or UFO sightings/alien conspiracies. The other loops uses images from such headlines. These two loops select images randomly so they go between mismatched (aliens alongside immigrants) and matched sets. For me, this is a commentary on how immigrants and refugees have been often portrayed as ‘alien invaders’ of sorts in the media and by people such as Donald Trump and Nigel Farage. There is also some heavy glitching going on over all this, which I feel adds to the theme of ‘distorting the truth’.
For the soundtrack, I have a sci-fi style ‘space rumble’ atmosphere as the basis. I then layered a variety of different quotes from both The X-Files and real political speeches (from people such as Tony Blair, Donald Trump and Nigel Farage). The X-Files quotes all circle around lies, secrets and the pursuit of the truth. I like this play on how uncovering government lies is exciting in The X-Files, and yet could be argued as common practice in our ‘Post-Truth Society’.

Lastly, my presentation… I’d rather not give much away for this, but I will say that I’ve chosen a surreal, satirical style that gets pretty weird.

Sources:

http://trademark1013.tripod.com/epindex.htm

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/home/index.html

https://www.thesun.co.uk/

https://www.youtube.com/

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p04m7zrs

http://www.dazeddigital.com/artsandculture/article/33496/1/adam-curtis-hypernormalization-bbc-film-power

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-38557838

More Progresses

Truth 1

My project is taking form now! I have written a program that displays two random image loops of headlines and photographs that play on the phrase ‘illegal alien’. I have some glitching on over this as well, which adds to the theme of ‘distorting the truth’ (and it looks pretty cool). The audio element is also getting there. I had originally thought of doing something musical, but it’s more electroacoustic sounding, with some quotes laid over and loads of wacky effects. I don’t want to give away too much just now…

CDP Post-Truth Progress

My head has been sort of trapped in a whirlwind of post-truth possibilities lately and as things are materialising, I feel I should make a blog post.
For my Manifesto, I wanted to focus on the opinionated element of Post-Truth politics and transfer this to art. As art criticism is very subjective and personal, this is quite a direct link. As much as it can be meaningless, an opinion can be sort of empowering (it defines who you are). So I’ve gone for a (potentially ironic) motivational message, on a backdrop of opinionated YouTube comments… This will most likely develop some more before the deadline.

A radio show I listened to mentioned how when people are ideologically or emotionally invested in a claim, they react hostilely to contrary information and sometimes reinforce the claim more in their minds. I find this concept interesting and think it would be fun to play with.

For my project I’m leaning in a musical/sound-based direction, but probably with a visual element too. I’ve been watching lots of X-Files recently and I find the show quite relevant to Post-Truth, as much of the conflict revolves around the concealment of the truth and government lies (‘The Truth is Out There’ being the iconic line in the opening credits and throughout the series).

 

Documentation

For this task I chose my GIF for Jade’s activity which showed a relaxed setting with a stressed guy emerging and distortion growing (http://giphy.com/gifs/l2JhwETvUrhUnw5bi).
So I wanted to focus on the contrast of relaxation and stress as a documentation of stress, as that was my inspiration for this part of the project.
I did this by getting quite drunk and listening to relaxing music, and then trying to complete Dead Space 2 with virtually no ammo and health and filming it in a timelapse…

 

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