This workshop is part of a project that attempts to rethink our relationship with social media by conceiving of mediated social relations in terms of sound and music. It takes off from the assertion that social media continues to display a profoundly visual bias, and that exploring our mediated interactions with others (and ourselves) through sound can expand our understanding of social media. In the workshop we aim to explore a central theme of this work: the notion of the ‘musical selfie’. We see the selfie’s ‘fame’ as an outcome of the visual bias of social media, and seek to challenge some of the presumptions that underlie it by rethinking the selfie sonically.
In keeping with the ‘noise contra signal’ theme of the festival, this workshop will use the concept of ‘feedback’ to explore the translations between ‘visual’ and ‘musical’ selfies. In a sense, the selfie already is a type of feedback loop. We see ourselves on a handheld display, then adjust our position and facial gestures to improve our self-image, then capture the image that we want to present to the world, and then share it on social media. In this way, the act of taking a selfie can be seen as a kind of ‘self-regulating system’. What happens when we introduce a sound signal or noise into this process? Can the pursuit of interesting sonic effects override the primacy of the self-image, or will there emerge a tension between the two?
The workshop organisers welcome anyone with an interest in media art, creative technologies, music technologies or social media to take part in this workshop. Prior experience with audio/music is welcome but not necessary and participants are encouraged to bring any sound/noise making apps/gadgets/synths/toys along to the workshop to help aid the lo-fi prototyping and design explorations.
Details on how the participants should prepare and what to bring
Workshop participants will be encouraged to create a 10-second audio recording that documents an aspect of their journey to the workshop. We will then use these as the starting point for thinking through the workshop concepts of feedback, self-regulation and self-reflection. For the purposes of this short exercise, we suggest that musical selfies be conceived as micro-compositions that reflect a person’s identity, a place, and a mood, and that can be easily communicated at the workshop. During the workshop we will discuss aspects of creating and sharing musical selfies, reflecting on how musical selfies represent the individual in sound, and how they are transmitted and transformed. We will introduce Echo-Snap (www.echo-snap.com), a series of apps we have designed for exploring musical selfies. We will further explore Hong Kong as a site for taking musical selfies. Finally, we propose to share our findings both at the conference and on a related Website gallery.
Participant background/profession/prior knowledge/age
The workshop organisers welcome anyone with an interest in media art, creative technologies, music technologies or social media to take part in this workshop. Prior experience with audio/music is welcome but not necessary.
- Peter Bennett, University of Bristol, UK, is a researcher and designer of new human-computer interactions, working both at Bristol University and the Pervasive Media Studio. His research is driven by the vision of giving tangible form to digital bits, bringing virtual information out of the computer into the physical world.