Maria Lantin | sound
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Epic Walk Diaries (January 6)

rovers range
in the land
  of range rovers
   tailgates
   how we morally suffer
     and laugh

delta seeking
  not quite there
    not yet
   we walk on role playing
      trails
  walking as mother
   as canadian not canadian
 loner

a hollowed trunk
  tunnels to fresh Starbucks
 car tire support
    surprise to one
  detail to another

miniature forests
  of primitive intruders
    horsetails
 primitive
   needs re-valuation

logs wounded
 colours of blood and fire
  the storm disrupted
    for us
    you need mostability
 "don't take the lower trail"
  we do
   treasures of lichen bullrushes
     tiny brown mushrooms
       mother lode
     skeletons of summer

? what is that ?
   an urban translucent orange
    slimed
      chewed gummy bear
  fungalien

buds on sideway trees
  mushroom forests
    a mostability of life
 everywhere

this time
  yes to geraniums

exit through disobedience
  water falls
    sounds to remove noise
   fractioned into our phones

 ---
[
  Start 2:11pm
  End 4:20pm
  Fraser lot to trail 6
  Wreck beach expanse with log jam
  through storm disrupted lands
  lower forbidden trails
  lots of mud
  to designated smoking area
  treasures of washed in sand
  perfect for sand castles
  through obstacle courses
  makeshift bridges
  to trail 7 and gushing waterfall
  up forbidden stairs
  onto forbidden road
  back to Lola (and 49th)
]
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I Am Afraid

For the last 5 months or so, I’ve been working on a new networked social VR application called I Am Afraid. This application brings together ideas that have been on my mind for over a year, perhaps longer. Ideas around voice, poetry, sculpture, and performance. Many people asked where the idea for IAA came from and I am surprised that I can’t remember the moment, or a moment, when I decided I wanted to see words and play with sounds in VR. I do know there have been lots of inspirations along the way, including the work I did with Greg Judelman in flowergarden, voice work with my friend Matthew Spears, clowning, theatre, friendly poets (Andrew Klobucar, Glen Lowry), sound artists (Simon Overstall, Julie Andreyev, prOphecy Sun), etc.

The basic idea is to build sound compositions and sculptures using textual and abstract objects that have embedded recorded sounds. When you are in the environment, you can speak words and have them appear as textual objects, and utter sounds that appear as abstract objects. Both kinds of objects contain the sound of your voice and can be replayed in a variety of ways. By intersecting with the objects, the sounds can be played back. The textual objects can be played in parts and at any speed/direction, using granular synthesis. The abstract sounds can be looped. Paths can be recorded through the objects and looped. In this way layered soundscapes can be created. The objects can also be interacted with in different ways like shaking and moving which alters the sound quality. Other actions are also planned, fleshing out a longstanding idea around a sonification engine based on the physicality of interaction with words.

I am often asked why the application is called I Am Afraid. As I was starting work on the application in January, I could sense an escalation of fear in the world, in my surroundings. I have been exploring fear for the last 17 years through different paths including meditation and art. One of the features of fear is that when we feel it, when it grips us, we start talking to ourselves. This is a bit a trap because we get more and more removed from what is actually going on. One of the goals of IAA is to externalize the discursiveness and be playful with the words and sounds. It can be a way to lighten up and see things more clearly, shift the internal dialogue. And it’s fun.

I used the application during my TEDxECUAD talk last March, which is about fear and technology. I’ve also used it in a performance at AR in Action, a conference at NYU at the beginning of June. It’s a great environment for performance (solo or group), exploration, and composition. I’ll be working on it for some time to come, adding features and (hopefully soon) porting it to Augmented Reality.

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