I went into the Audio Intertextual Collaboration project with the hopes of creating something powerful and meaningful. My vision was to explore how we connect sounds to emotional experiences – Bach, for instance, reminds me of happy times dancing, while the MRI noise takes me to a darker place.
I found the gathering and layering of sounds to be the part I enjoyed most. I liked that Stravinsky and Reich matched up with the MRI sounds, that tap dancing and John Cage blended so well. Even if they were emotionally discordant, they made for a compelling sound. Layering was a way of producing a new piece without starting from scratch.
My own thoughts were harder to put into words. I want to think that I stuck to the spirit of the assignment but I’m not sure. I felt that my voice should have been one element among many, and not the dominant one. But after hearing others’ work, I wonder whether I should have spoken more.
When it came time for Phase II, my approach then shifted to include more spoken parts. I found that the fear in Shonda’s voice was palpable, while Jason’s story provided a vivid sound effect to juxtapose against hers. Jessica and Taylor both talked about emotion in storytelling, which combined seamlessly with my parts about emotion. I made a conscious effort not to take too many just sound effects or music from others’ works, and if I did, I wanted to layer them with something else if I could.
What I learned about collaboration was a lot about discovery. I listened to all of the works with a vague sense of what I was seeking to complement my own piece. I found so much joy in listening, first for pure pleasure, and then subsequent times were deep, attentive listening to find patterns that resonated with me.
I found that while stylistic choices were different among the four cohorts I chose, they worked together wonderfully.