The music we make is an interactivity between the human—their history, emotions, past experiences, soul, intention and skill—with a physicality: themselves, an instrument, or just about any material or device utilized for the sake of producing a particular sound. Despite its medium being an audible one, our music does not exist in that sole vacuum. Whereas the visual can exist without sound, sound cannot exist without the visual—or, more precisely—its physical manifestation. In practice, distributed music is distributed with its visuals: if not the album art—a mere visual interpretation ideated by someone else—the fact that the artist’s name and titled song and album can be represented into the written word.
But what does it mean to choose music based on how the actual sound looks like from a visual standpoint, divorced away from their subjective or contextual graphics or any of their historical contextual standpoints?
The waveform of 114 different covers of the Jazz standard “The way you look tonight” were generated. Inside those waveform circles, algorithmically generated pixel portraits were created from the artist(s) name combined with the year the song was covered. An exhibit was designed to set these visuals onto a large space to encourage multiple persons to interact with it and turning the act of choosing music into a social affair. A large table was set up with a 111.76cm × 64.77cm sheet containing the full visuals and a trackpad, and a projector was setup in which visitors could select a song to play. The actual artist name was completely hidden until the moment the song played.
In reflection, I wished I could have have pushed it further and improved the actual setup. The digital component should have shown the year to improve accessibility, and a custom music player would have been more ideal.