Alex Braidwood


ACE [Artist Curated Events]

Mechanism for Actualizing Speculative Soundscapes (MASS) – Live NatureSound Experiments

Proposed work as accepted for soundpedro 2021:
Mechanism for Actualizing Speculative Soundscapes (MASS) – Live NatureSound Experiments
This live performance attempts to use the popular platform of the party DJ to explore ideas of nature sound in a new context within live events and streaming media culture. Using various synthesis and composition techniques, the overall arch of the performance is modeled after the vocalization energy and activity of a dawn chorus from the time of day before first-light to after the sunrise is complete. Nature sound specifically, and listening in general, is largely underappreciated in our culture that prioritizes nature as a resource to be extracted and time as something to be filled in the celebration of busy as a marker of success. Using the language of the party-DJ-as-shamanistic guide, MASS encourages people to slow down, to relax, to listen, to set aside worry, to melt into the moment, to be present, and to appreciate the interrelationships between nature, sound, texture, and in-the-moment inner selves. Drawing from field recordings, sample-based synthesis, self-improvement hypnosis records, spoken word poetry, and hi-fi test tones, this performance asks listeners to slow down and reflect on what’s important about nature, CULTure, and each other. This performance can be done live in-person or streamed digitally. 

Dis-located Listening: AR/AV compositions
For this installation, a series of small signs would be installed around the grounds. Listeners will be provided a map of the sign’s locations but will also be able to find them organically throughout the event. Each sign includes the AR marker and basic instructions on how to access the app and experience the sound. This experience is intended for individuals on their own devices using headphones or using the mobile device’s speakers for a collective listening experience at the site. This experience is accessible on both Android and iOS. For the audio, a series of field recording-based compositions will be developed to emphasize the importance of listening to the natural world while, at the same time, identifying the privilege currently associated with nature sound. The negative impacts of noise disproportionately affect underserved communities and communities of color. Dis-located Listening will interrogate the politics of place and the value of listening at the intersection of urban, nature, health, and well being. The outdoor locations around Angels Gate Cultural Center will be chosen for the specific purposes of engaging those local soundscapes with the audio compositions triggered by the AR experience.

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Alex Braidwood is a sound artist, media designer, and educator who maintains a practice exploring issues of sustainability at the intersection of art and science. He has been an artist in residence in an Australian mountain village, on an Iowa farm, at a mid-western biological field research station, and on Isle Royale National Park. He has exhibited art, led workshops, lectured on his work, and performed live at a variety of events and venues throughout the US, Europe, Asia, and Australia. Alex is currently Director of the Artist-in-Residence program at Iowa Lakeside Lab and Associate Professor at Iowa State University.

Artist Location: Ames, IA

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Posted in Artists 2021.