Blog #3 (4/18/16)

Peter Krapp’s “Noise Floor Between Tinnitus and Raw Data” attempts to create a solid distinction between “noise” and “sound.” Krapp takes multiple approaches in order to evaluate what exactly constitutes noise and sound but uses sound glitching as an example to highlight his insights. Of these approaches is an issue that last week’s readings touched on: intent. Krapp writes, “A noise is a signal that the sender does not want to transmit” (55). Such a statement assumes that simple tinnitus (ringing or buzzing in the ears) becomes sound, potentially worthy of the distinction of art, based solely on the intention of the sound artist to create art. While I defended such a statement when applied to visual art using the works of Jackson Pollock as an example, I’d contend that the same is not true for sound art. The nature of sound frequencies is such that there are noises that exist that can be physically painful or even un-hearable to the human ear. Though, not everyone may enjoy Pollock’s paintings, I doubt anyone is physically pained by gazing upon them.

Krapp goes on to incorporate sound glitch more centrally to his argument. He observes that technology has interestingly advanced from CDs to DVDs and now to Blu-Ray discs in an attempt to “repress or eliminate jitter, latency and other artifacts of the digital as well as the analog realm,” yet is constantly glitched and manipulated in order to create new sounds (56). One example of this is the scratching of records traditionally by hip-hop DJs in order to create an effect that has been cliched and accepted as a convention of the genre. Just as visual glitching allows for the exploration of new modes of observation, so too does sound glitching provide an opportunity for fresh perspectives in listening to emerge.



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