The University of Melbourne
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Vancouver Filter Study

posted on 2023-12-29, 01:54 authored by Dylan van der SchyffDylan van der Schyff

Presented as part of The Dada Sound project (February 2016) - see more at

This ‘study’ began with a one-minute excerpt of a field recording made at a downtown Vancouver street corner on January 30, 2016. The original audio document was made with a zoom H6 with the microphones in an x/y configuration; the audio was then manipulated using the TIAALS software. The TIAALS software was originally developed by researchers at the University of Huddersfield and Durham University to analyze electro-acoustic compositions. It allows the user to select areas of the recorded soundscape––represented on a spectrogram as a combination of time, frequency and amplitude––that may be either filtered or passed over. These areas may also be categorized and played back individually, affording some very interesting possibilities for sonic montage, collage etc. A visual analogy of the filter study presented here might involve taking an image of the street corner and cutting out certain frequencies of light (color, intensity etc.) so that the remaining information is 'abstracted' from the original and becomes something 'new', while still retaining key features of the original document. And indeed, one can still discern the sounds of the buses, voices, street crossing signals and the busker playing the erhu on the left of the audio image (as well as the small patch of distortion caused by a sudden gust of wind). However, thanks to the filtering process, these everyday sounds may now be engaged with in a radically new way. In this way an audio ‘filter study’ resonates with Duchamp’s notion of a ‘ready made’. Nothing has been ‘added’ to the resulting audio. However, like Duchamp’s urinal, bicycle wheel or bottle rack, sonic objects found in mundane experience are detached (filtered) from their normal contexts (e.g. urinal/men’s restroom) and manipulated in various ways in order to aestheticize them."


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