Michela Magas, Rebecca Stewart, Benjamin Fields: decibel 151

  • ©2009, Michela Magas, Rebecca Stewart, and Benjamin Fields



    decibel 151


Creation Year:



Artist Statement:

    What happens if you become the search engine? If your participation creates the content? If by entering a space you become the entry?

    Inspired by Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451, decibel 151 uses spatial audio technology and ideas of social networking to turn individuals into “walking soundtracks.”

    decibel 151 creates a virtual reality environment where participants physically move around each other in a shared real space as they listen to a shared virtual space. The virtual space creates a community of listeners and an interactive way to explore a collection of music.Upon entering the physical/virtual space, each participant is assigned a specific music track in the virtual space; when they move, other participants hear their song move. Participants do not hear their own songs, but they can hear the other participants’s song moving in the space in surround sound. Each participant can move freely and explore the space and the songs representing other participants. As they move and explore, they are tracked, and their graphical “ghost images” are positioned within a projected interface with metadata attached, giving information about each musical track. The use of recordings of folk music collected by Alan Lomax in the southern United States geographically anchors the experience.

    The interface runs simultaneously on the internet, allowing participants to enter the space online and contribute to the virtual experience. The online interface can generate environments for music recommendations on social networking sites, where members enter the virtual space in order to hear what other participants are listening to at that moment and instantly capture the zeitgeist.