Noise Re(in)Duction

Sonic Intervention on the possibilities of noise reduction algorithms for Sound Art.

NOISE RE(IN)DUCTION is an artistic research project that that explores the possibilities of noise reduction technologies as sonic material for music composition and sound art installations. The aim is to reappropriate noise reduction algorithms such as those found in videoconference applications and commercial headsets in order to question the prescriptive listening practices imposed by tech corporations.

Through a spectral analysis of field recordings from Berlin NOISE RE(IN)DUCTION addresses often overlooked listening practices that are involved in our everyday life, putting in question the algorithms’ inherent biases of race, gender, ability, and class. Sound sources of such as AC fans, radiators, home electronics, ambient noise, unwanted reverb and echo, wind, traffic, and conversations, are transformed into with clicks, pops, crackles, distortion, and other forms of digital “waste.” By deconstructing the different processes of sonic transformations, the project negotiates the boundaries of different understanding of what noise is and what is not.

NOISE RE(IN)DUCTION is particularly interested in mobile technologies that use noise reduction algorithms such as noise canceling headphones and mobile videoconference software. These technologies present and affront to the ways that we perceive and relate with our sonic surroundings, thus creating an implicitly sonic augmented reality that alienates further from unmediated sensible experiences.

The modification and combination of environmental sources, together with the physical isolation of headphones, provide an ideal situation to question the ways in which we perceive sound and noise mediated by audio technology and musical aesthetics. When noise becomes an aesthetic criterion for music, what is left to be reduced or cancelled?

In a world of hyper-mediation and overconsumption which induces a “Mental State of Noise,” paying close attention to noise sources and refocusing our listening habits provides a new perspective on noise and media oversaturation facilitated by tech corporations.