College of Charleston SCHOOL OF THE ARTS

Computing in the Arts Exhibition: Visual Soundscapes

The collection of projects, entitled “Visual Soundscapes,” is an exploration and synthesis of 21st-century media: the merging of the visual, the aural, and the algorithmic.  

The free exhibition opens Friday, April 6 and closes Monday, May 7, in the rotunda of the College of Charleston Marlene and Nathan Addlestone Library, 205 Calhoun St. These works are sonifications of digital images through computer programming. Students enrolled in two Computing in the Arts (CITA) courses selected beautiful or compelling images and then designed a set of musical parameters through which these images could be realized in sound. Musical parameters included pitch and scale, dynamics, timbre, and instrumentation. Inspiration and models were drawn from musical traditions such as Minimalism, Jazz, Rock, Serialism, and Aleatory Music. Students were free to select different parts of the image for specific musical functions.  Not all parts of the images were necessarily sonified, yet most of the sound comes from numeric data (pixels) inside these images. Changes in sound reflect a scanning of the image from left-to-right, up-to-down, center-to-corners, or diagonally. Sometimes sound comes from averaged regions of the image, and at other times complex sequencing rules are used, like those found in Living Systems.

In the end, visual, musical, and algorithmic processes become intimately intertwined.  None is subservient to another. Through these works, the visual, aural, and algorithmic become one.

Student artists were part of the Fall 2011 “Computer Music and the Quest for Beauty” Freshman Learning Community.

Caroline Bowman
Daniel Anderson
Marissa Croop
Jordan Freeman
Sam McCants
Forrest Hammond
Kenneth Hanson
Hudson Jones
Elizabeth Koury
Katherine May
Stephen Rainey
John Thevos
Dylan Walsh

Bill Manaris, Computer Science
Blake Stevens, Music
Jarod Charzewski, Studio Art (Exhibition Coordinator)

Thanks To:
Claire Fund, Administrative Coordinator, Addlestone Library
Susan Kattwinkel, Director of the First-Year-Experience (Fall 2011)
James Williams, Associate Dean, Addlestone Library

This work has been funded in part by the National Science Foundation (DUE #1044861)

Computing in the Arts (CITA): Computing in the Arts (CITA) is an integrated program in the sciences and the arts at the College of Charleston. The program is an inter-disciplinary B.A. degree offered by the Department of Computer Science in the School of Science and Mathematics along with the Departments of Art History, Music, Studio Art, and Theatre in the School of the Arts.