Experimental Sonic Art in Flash


This blog has been set up as a space for exploration, discussion and reporting progress on my MA project, involving finding new, exciting ways of using sound on the Web.

Sound Experiments

I have completed the first two sound prototypes demonstrating what can be done with Action Script in Flash…

I have created a buzzing fly which shows how you can control an object’s position on the screen and dynamic panning as well as the object’s size and volume.

Another experiment, SoundMap of Emotions illustrates how the concept of an image map can be translated into a ’sound map’.

The third prototype that I have created , A Sonic Map of Battersea Park V.0, was to be a starting point of the main project. Its purpose is to explore the idea of a virtual soundscape as used on the Web which is based on the open space of Battersea Park in South West London. My prototype aims to investigate the quantity of sounds that are required to create a sense of presence in a sonic virtual world. I would also like to examine users’ response to removing visual feedback and replacing the element of expectation with surprise. Will it aggravate the user or intrigue him or her to explore the interface further? A Sonic Map of Battersea Park is a simplified version of my final project, demonstrating movement of the “Walker” and his interaction with sound hotspots. Left and right arrow keys turn the Walker around, and backward and forward arrows move him ahead. A few sonic areas are specified (by use of x and y coordinates on the screen), which are activated when the Walker approaches them. The sounds which are attached to the hotspots fade in and out depending on the Walker’s distance. Additionally, the stereo-pan of the sound is continually adjusted depending on the direction that the Walker is facing relative to the location of the hotspot. In this prototype, I decided to abandon the graphical representation of the map, and instead use simple shapes representing the visited areas, which appear only when the Walker is within a specified distance. I am thus challenging the user’s reliance on visual feedback aided by expectation. Also, all the sounds used in this prototype are real sounds which I have recorded in Battersea Park using professional recording equipment. I have then edited the sounds, cutting them into short audio loops, before compressing them and attaching them to the relevant sound hotspots.

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