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Metropolis raised her voice: Live digital-foley & multimedia accompaniment

Dean, R and Challis, B (2013) Metropolis raised her voice: Live digital-foley & multimedia accompaniment. In: Inputs-Outputs An Interdisciplinary Conference on Engagement in HCI and Performance.

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Abstract

Since sound was first recorded on a cylinder wrapped in tin foil by Edison in 1877, technology has steadily evolved to allow an ever increasing level of sonic mutability. Gradually, pre-recorded sounds (or 'inputs') which where once fixed could be increasingly manipulated both before and during playback. While early gramophones and tape players afforded the operator very few parameters to experiment within, the development of digital technology transformed sound into a fully plastic medium. As such, sound in the age of digital reproduction has achieved a level of playability more commonly associated with the performance of live music. The sound-operator is now able to react to events unfolding in a live environment and adjust both subtle and prominent aspects of the sound in many of the same ways a musician can. Through a series of theatrical productions and collaborations Challis & Dean have explored the sonic and dramatic possibilities created by the utilization of digital technology in a live performance context. Their current project is a multimedia adaptation of the novel and film Metropolis (Harbou & Lang, 1927). The aural accompaniment for this project will be performed live using a range of adapted and purpose built sonic triggers (such as accelerometers, gyroscopes, tilt switches, and proximity sensors). This paper will outline the processes and techniques adopted in this production and consider how this way of working has altered the interactional relationship between those that perform sound and those that receive it.

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