Liz Nelson Project 1.0

This is a project focused on deconstructing an experience of sound and image as we perceive it in our daily wanderings. Because there is so much sound around us in the U District, we forget to listen or do not even have the capacity to filter through all the sounds. As a result, I find myself in a constant state of tuning out distractions, but in the process I also tune out people.
My goal in this first project was to separate out the audible sounds, making a point to listen to the conversations around me. Even I was surprised by all the random (and sometimes disturbing) things I heard, so I kept track of them and wrote them into a sound poem. This project only represents a small percentage of the phrases I documented (stay tuned for project 2.0). I then took out any specific images (some for privacy's sake, some to keep the focus on the words themselves). This began creating a void or a space to actually become aware of the sounds in the environment. But how do you get people to notice? This is where I used text on top of the images to draw blatant attention to the words. It's pretty abrasive and choppy, but this is an attempt to pull you, as the observer, into a place of being acutely aware of the conversations, idiosyncrasies and bizarre ironies in the sounds around you. It's ridiculous, disconnected and confusing, but it opens up the black box of lives and personalities around us.
Interestingly enough, I had to take out the sound and most of the image to bring any attention to the meaning in the sound. If nothing else, hopefully you are inspired to do some eavesdropping of your own.

Overall, this project was full of frustrations, both with inspiration and technology. I bit off the challenge of learning photoshop and Premier video editing software, which made for a steep learning curve with minimal results. The listening section of the project came more naturally (fortunately) and I fully enjoyed spending time on the ave and on campus intentionally observing the environment around me. This project was a slight deviation from my original research question of culturally associated sounds and how our brains make sense of discordant sound and image combinations. Ultimately, my research focused on the question of how do sounds and images tend to crowd out meaning? If I were doing this project again (and I will be for next week), I would focus entirely on video taken in context with the text. Although I contemplated using voice and sound in the project, I think it draws more attention to the words themselves if I don't.

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