Soundbites – trust the unknown
I discovered this here us.uuuuuu.us the other day on Twitter. It’s a minimalist site that features sound recordings only. The tropical storm in the Bahamas and the all-you-can-eat buffet midis are my favourites. Personally, I am a lot more word-driven in what I consume and produce. I find our contemporary obsession with language can sometimes result in mind-numbing soundscapes of bubbles of noise. We miss the signals among all the noise, not just on Twitter where crap-detection* becomes increasingly the one key skill, but also in real life where it all started off. Sometimes it’s so bad, you need the personalised soundscape, that’s why you see all those folks in the London Underground on a Monday morning with their white or black earpieces. Too much talk, blather, genuine noise in its various disguises – decibel overload. It’s not just calming and inspiring to listen, to tune in into what a chance encounter while cross-country skiing in frozen Norway told me a few years ago: listen to the silence, it’s peace. The lady was right, there is a lot to hear when we just remain quiet. For a long moment or so. The one thing I love about audio is the narratives and visualisations it triggers. There is something fundamentally different in entering an audio-recording compared to reading a text, on the web. To me it has to do with trust. Even though I can exit either of them at any point, the audio experience seems to be a lot more intense, complexer, kind of faster than any text ever can be. I like what it does to me, it sort of abducts me, into another world, within seconds. It also seduces me.
Robb Willer’s podcasts, UC Berkeley, on Social Psychology turned the tables: I started falling in love with a world I was not so very fond of in the past. What I like about those lectures is that Robb is not just very entertaining and great in terms of throwing in bits of research that illustrate and again, that make me wander off in their respective eras and geographical areas, but he is also good in relating to the audience. The one that’s visible to him, so you hear faint questions and comments by those growing numbers who try to get into his class. Imagination runs high, the degree of engagement is considerable, yet, it offers me space to be creative in my own imagination and meaning-making processes. Sometimes, less is more.
*following Howard Rheingold who very recently gave a fascinating talk on 21st century literacies: [blip.tv ?posts_id=2393998&dest=-1]