Behind the Scenes of Times in Sound

Over the years of pursuing the MET (Master of Educational Technology) degree, I have become very interested in the ways that technology, arts, and education intersect, with a special interest in participatory, interactive digital art projects.

Participants who volunteered to record fragments used many different recording settings and different recording equipment. Many used the voice memo app on their smartphones. These recordings were emailed to me or uploaded into the project Google Drive.

I gathered the over 700 recorded fragments and played with arranging them in an audio editing software, Logic. I simulated a binaural 360 plane soundscape through layering and placing each of the recorded fragments.

Here is a screencast showing the beginning of the composed sound work.

Over 700 recorded fragments of letters written by WWI soldiers and their families composed into a sound work where the text serves as both lyric and note.

The Shape of Sound

Working with both the, intimate fragments of the letters and working with voice as sound is an incredibly exciting creative task. I find the shape of breath, and word very powerful, stirring material with which to sculpt. I am so honoured to have had this opportunity.

Here are three different voices saying the text from the same fragment, describing the battle for Vimy Ridge.

“We sure will be glad to get out of this hole. If there is such a thing as hell on earth, this is it.”

William Lowrie Hill, May 29, 1916
waveform for voice recording of text from WWI letter fragment
Taylor Davis
waveform for voice recording of text from WWI letter fragment
Edd Edmondson
waveform for voice recording of text from WWI letter fragment
Stephen Davies

This is the shape of Flynn Cuthbert’s voice recording of a fragment from a letter written by young John Labatt Scatcherd, written on August 8, 1914.

“But I can not bear the thought of staying here, of seeing thousands of young men leave here, of only reading and hearing of things done when I might be in it all myself.”

John Labatt Scatcherd, August 8, 1914.
image of waveform of voice recording reading a fragment of a letter from WWI.
Flynn Cuthbert