Pack Away the White Noise (Consumerism in the Digital Age)
The title, Pack Away the White Noise, was based upon the idea that we all should be able to take the overbearing sounds of consumerism and put them away in a box, however we are constantly stuck with at least a low rumbling. No matter how many boxes I attempt to pack these sounds away with, they constantly bleed through. Almost like a sound proofing exercise in a way. showing that consumerism is inescapable, but maybe it can be reduced in some way.
The seven minute audio composition I created for this installation utilized advertisements from many different advertisements, commercials, and jingles. I overlaid them over each other at different intervals so that at some point the audio would be a complete blur while at other times there would be solo parts to represent the mind picking apart all of these sounds, and so that the audio wouldn’t be too complex the entire way through. I distorted the mix of some of the commercials at times to either push them further back or forward, using reverb and distortion in Audacity, a program I used once in high school for a school project. Some of the sounds are pitched up or down throughout as well to bring more dynamics to the sound, so it wouldn’t sound the same the entire way through.
The actual installation/video of the project was the packing and subsequent unpacking of the recording from the phone speakers. Boxes collected from online purchases, logos making themselves seen in the video, although unwarranted, show how inescapable consumerism is while also being distorted themselves, folded and distressed. The video recording of said installation starts with the packing of the boxes but then transitions to the unpacking of the boxes. I wanted to unbox the sounds I created to see the differences within each layer of box to understand how the sound was changed through each new box.
In the end, I’ve gained a higher understanding of sound, especially in an installation context. I set out to create an audio composition without really thinking about the installation, so, in thinking about ways to present my work, I problem solved and recontextualized the way in which the sounds would be perceived. If I were to do this project again, with more materials, I would have used a different device that wasn’t just my phone to play the audio and use way more boxes. Where the project let me down (or I let the project down) a little bit was in the filming of the video as I couldn’t figure out a productive way to shoot the video, for optimal presentation and camera angles as I shot it by myself. In a perfect world the video would have been an overhead shot of the packing, but maybe next time.