Could you come up with a definition of "soundtoys"
Sound toys are interactive audio visual computer based installations, the images and sounds can be projected or exist solely on a computer as a web site or stand alone application. The purpose of soundtoys is to explore the relationship between user and sounds organised by their graphics.
What is you project and your work about?
My explores the methods of describing sounds with colour and graphical motion in random and user controlled environment.
A key factor in this field is the phenomena of syneasthesia, where an individual experiences a mixture of the senses, leaving visual patterns layered over their field of vision when they hear sound. To my knowledge the type of visualisation of sound is related more closely to timbre(the texture of a sound) than pitch. Yet all syneasthites differ in there experiences with certain sound textures.
"The unity of colour and tone is a very special gift of computer technology."
John Whitney's experimental films have been an inspiration, for several years now, his methods of describing sound with graphics focused on the pitch of the sound using the chromatic scale. I wanted to explore the timbral characteristics of sound and working from a white noise = white light base proceeded to break the spectrum of light into its seven components matching them with a suitable sound from a timbral spectrum I developed myself. The work on the timbral spectrum was put into use in my first soundtoy Synthesite1. For Sonic Sweet Shop the level of graphical motion was amplified to give the user more control over the intensity and frequency of sound events.
How long have you been working in this area?
I first became interested in putting sound on the web at the end of my first year at middlesex university where I have just completed my Sonic Arts Degree achieving a first honours degree.
Were you an artist/ musician first who got into using computers/the net or did you respond to the net in an artistic way?
I believe it was both.
What/ who has influenced you in your work? (themes, other artists etc)
The most influencial artist for my has been James Tidnal, the creator of www.thesquarerootof-1.com. For me this is still the most compelling piece of web based art. Other influential web sound innovators include the creators of the chocolate sandwich www.chocsani.f2s.com and Peter Traube'''''s Bits and Pieces http://raven.dartmouth.edu/%7Epeter/pmt/.
Are there any other artists covering the same field as you?
I'm always finding little bits of work here and there like web graffiti it is however very rair to find work which is as dedicated a sonically as those artists I just mentioned.
Do you see this work as art?
With regard to 'soundtoys' especially, why do you think the audio-visual metaphor is so key to the net?
This is because the work is visible and audible from any location across the globe.
What defines the aesthetics of new interactive music.?
Interactive music breaks away from the constraints of melody and rhythm as every user imposes their own chaos on the system making the work theirs as well as the artists. The interactive artists work invites a reply from the user in the musical and graphical language of the piece.
How important is the visual aspect in the new relationship of the audio-visual?
I am continually sanded by people's lack of desire to listen, in my opinion the visual aspect is essential to guide the user into the phenomenal world of listening.
Does the net promote visual awareness that is unique to it?
The net is quickly forming a visual language, which sets it apart from any other medium in terms of layout. In terms of the visual aesthetic the dominance of macromedia software, Director and Flash has in my opinion created a genre in itself.
How novel do you feel generative music and interactivity is?
Without computers, which are intrinsic to generative music and interactivity without which it is extremely limited. The endless possibilities and years of experimentation needed for this medium to excel to the levels of classical or pop music make it an extremely exciting and novel.
Do you think there is a history to audio visual work?
Audio visual art work begins with cave painting where the scenes depicted relate to the acoustic characteristics of the cave. In net is in my opinion a vast metaphorical cave of the thoughts ideas and experiences of human beings.
Would you describe yourself as a multimedia artist, a net.artist, programmer, or none of the above?
Multimedia artist suits me fine
Digital or sound artist are also good.
What software do you use most and why?
Flash because it was quicker to learn.
On a more personal level why do you make this work?
I have an idea, the technology exists to create it, I can't stop until it's complete.
Can you recommend three urls to soundtoys?
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