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Sonic Wargame, war of sounds

By jo

sonicwargame.jpgClub Transmediale (the venue that traditionally hosts musical and audio-visual performances during the Transmediale festival), this year will be transformed, for some days, in an arena where valiant performers will fight using scratches, samples and effects. The battlefield will be Sonic Wargame, a quadraphonic installation made by the Dutch musician Xavier Van Wersch which allows four single players (or two teams of two players each) to compete under the supervision of a referee and the participation of the audience. The players, positioned at the corners of this installation, will be able to use a console and a speaker and, through a switch, to vote for the other players. Each time one of the players reaches two or three votes, the system will begin playing that player’s sounds. The transition between the sounds of a player and the next one will be very fast, but some colored light bulbs will tell, by lighting up, who is voting for who and whose sounds are played at that moment. At the same time, a video signal projected on a wall will give the audience additional informations (such as each player’s score). One of the most interesting aspects of this installation is that the players are interconnected so that they receive the other players’ sounds and can interact with them. The result is a continuously regenerating quadraphonic sound mix. Sonic Wargame is a new way to make collective audio performances where the border between collaboration and competition is blurred, and the cross-voting element determines a situation of continuous passage from the absolute control of sound to anarchistic drifts where sound defies any pretension of ownership. On the background, an election system whose results are always uncertain, almost a metaphor of modern democratic systems. Do the last elections in the U.S.A., Germany, Spain and Italy tell you something? - Vito Campanelli, Neural.

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