Analysis – Audio Visualization

Based on my understanding of the space and its audience, and interactive displays, I have decided to focus on audio visualization, and synergy between audio and visual media, as the concept for my final piece.

As the space is in a university, the primary demographic moving through the Weymouth house foyer is media students, likely to take an interest in digital art and electronic music themes. My goal is to create a piece which will draw their attention and is not overly complex, but still allows users to have interaction with a visual output through audio.

Kosara (2008) describes key characteristics of visualization: “the visual must be the primary means of communication”, and “the most important criteria is that the visualization must provide a way to learn something about the data … there must be at least some relevant aspects of the data that can be read. The visualization must also be recognizable as one and not pretend to be something else”. These will be factors to consider when developing my project, a strong relationship between the audio and the visual elements of my piece, and that the interaction between the two is clearly recognizable to the user.

Music visualization is often made vivid and artistic in correlation to the audio input. Several examples gathered on the blog Visual Complexity (2010) are shown below:

“The Shape of Song” by Martin Wattenberg
“Narratives 2.0” by Matthias Dittrich

My work will likely not amount to the above level of complexity, however they are examples of the beautiful results that can be achieved through visualizing audio. With the correct setup and design, even a simple audio input such as speech should be able to produce a nice effect, made doubly satisfying by the synergy between audio and visual elements of the piece – audiovisual pieces of media are effective as the two different sensory outputs compliment and enhance each other. The video below is an example of a physical audiovisual installation by media group AntiVJ, and exemplifies why I am interested in this concept:

The key to making my project successful will be to combine this concept with interactivity, allowing users direct control over the audio input and therefore the visuals on the screen. Synergy between audible and visual elements is already satisfying, giving a user control over it too should amount to an engaging interactive display.

 

References

Kosara, R., 2008. What is Visualization? A definition. eagereyes [online]. Available from: https://eagereyes.org/criticism/definition-of-visualization

Lima, M., 2010. Music Visualization: Beautiful Tools to “See” Sound. Visual Complexity [online]. Available from: http://www.visualcomplexity.com/vc/blog/?p=811

Wattenberg, M., The Shape of Song [online]. Available from: http://www.turbulence.org/Works/song/

Dittrich, M., Narratives 2.0 [online]. Available from: http://www.matthiasdittrich.com/projekte/narratives/visualisation/index.html

AntiVJ, 2013. The Ark. AntiVJ [online]. Available from: http://antivj.com/theark/

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