Souvenir brighton

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SouvenirCaroline Ward @noveltyshoe#shortcircuitHi im carolineIm a visual artistIm going to talk to you about SOUVENIR that I made with Anja, a sound artist whos here (point out) and dave, a programmerIll tell you about the concept, give an insight into the collaborative process and show the prototype which is a work in progress and then muse on whats next.

1what kind of pleasure, freedom and meaning are pursued at different timesby different kinds of walks and walkers. That imagination has both shaped and beenshaped by the spaces it passes through on two feet

Rebecca Solnit Wanderlust: A History of Walking

Watch the video here: I am interested in walking as a mode of art practice. As part of the short circuit workshop in June I worked with animator, Gemma Burditt.

We wandered along Trafalgar street and used stop motion and walking to capture that experience.

Heres a snapshot from that video.


Whilst in Brighton for short circuit, one evening I was walking through Kemptown and was suddenly struck by the sight of the Big Wheel the proportion in comparison to the street seemed odd it wasnt here when I was a fine art student and catching sight of it reminded me of a travelling circus a spectacle of entertainment - this was a novelty to me. I wondered how I could capture it as a souvenir.


Shot in black and white, the film describes the aimlessness of a small town on the Hungarian plain that falls under the influence of a sinister travelling circus lugging the immense body of a whale in its tow.

Bela Tarr Werckmeister HarmoniesSuddenly seeing the wheel, it reminded me of Bela Tarrs film, Werckmeister Harmonies

The film features a sinister travelling circus that lugs the immense body of a whale in its tow. The whale is out of context and far from the sea. A souvenir.


Ultimately the idea was to create a Modern day magic lantern or penny machine, both of which have been popular ways to create souvenirs in Brighton and other seaside towns. But today, you take a film a scene, maybe on your phone, and put it into a slot out comes a video souvenir with a specially composed soundtrack unique to that film.5

I am deaf and lip-read, and when I see for example, a match being struck, it triggers the memory of that sound in my head. I wanted to use this in creating the souvenir to use the image and the movement to compose the sound. A bit like lip-reading the material world.

The starting point was how can I get sound to be composed or informed by the moving image?

I envisaged I could use the colour spectrum and translate into a soundscale.

I went out on the wheel and filmed several revolutions around the wheel (and switched off the sound of Steve Coogan)6

Anya Ustaszewski Composer / Sound Artist

Sampled sounds on, around & inspired by Big WheelSampled sounds from everyday objectsTo create an original piece of musicDave Mee Programmer @davemee

Used an algorithm in Maxmsp Synthesised the soundtrack in response to my videoUsed Anyas original piece of music & my videoCould be any video or any piece of musicMore here: I worked with Anya, sound artist & composer- and Dave a programmer - to realise the concept and to produce a working prototype in maxmsp.

Maxmsp is a graphical programming envrionment with emphasis on sound

Dave had little experience of working with music or composing sound so he liked the idea of structurally composing sound and working with a sound artist.

Anya sampled sounds on and around Brightons big wheel, and also used sounds from everyday objects inspired by the wheel (teaspoons, guitars, saucepans), to create an original piece of music that Dave used to synthesise a soundtrack in response to a video. Anja stayed close to the colour scale concept.

But Anja can say a bit more about sampling the sound..

Originally Dave was going to use the Markov chain algorithm to generate individual notes based on changes in the image. But this would have required him to work alongside Anya Dave was in Manchester, and Anya in Brighton.

He wanted to use the markov chain because it doesnt create anything new just shuffles things around creates a matrix of possibility

After talking to Anya who had composed music, Dave used a breakbeat model which takes a footprint of the markov chain to change tempo and mix between points in time of the composed sample.


The video is essentially data. There are different sets of data that can be looked at to influence the sound.

This could be time based, change from frame to frame, elements within the image such as colour and luminescence.

Briefly this just shows some of the changes in the data. This was interesting to me because when I edit movies that have sound, I look at the waveforms.

Ill just switch over to maxmsp and show you the working prototype. World premiere at Brighton Digital Festival.8

This shows how things are put together in maxmsp and how they relate to one another and what factors from the video influence the sound.9

Thank you

What would your souvenir be?

Caroline @noveltyshoe

What next?

Im interested in how as an editor I could be editing videos to compose soundtracks dave described this as the computer as co-author

Develop it so that people can process their own videos the souvenir machine maybe it could take the place of the wheel if it moves on or it could maybe be found at the back of Snoopers Paradise second hand shop on the laines.

Just wanted to say thanks to Jo and Sarah at Short Circuit and Jon at the Arts Council for opening up the possibility of the hacking digital perspective to my practice. And thank you to Erinma who helped produce this work and went around the wheel 5 times! We now know what it feels like to be hamsters.

Huge thanks to Dave & Anya.