Noise is Full of Words, cumulative inaccurancy in communication


Noise is Full of Words, a performance artwork by the Spanish based Void collective, investigates systems of interpretation and pattern recognition across disparate domains. The work uses the translation of information between musical, spoken and notational systems to create meaning from apparent randomness. As the title of the work implies human perception is hard-wired from an evolutionary point of view to try to make sense of randomness. This gives rise to many perceptual anomalies such as hearing the sound of voices and fragments of speech from abstract sound sources. Noise is Full Words intimates these perceptual phenomena by using voice recognition software to interpret noise made by an electric guitar. The software subsequently renders that interpretation into a nonsensical text, which in turn forms the basis for a new musical score. Each performance of the work results in the generation of a book that contains both the text and the musical score derived from it. The process, with its multiple layers of translation, also mimics the game “Chinese whispers” in which one person whispers a message through a line of people until the last player announces the message. Errors typically accumulate in the retelling so that the final message, like the score in Noise is Full of Words, is a meaningless stream (made meaningful) and becomes a metaphor for cumulative inaccuracy of interpretation and translation in communication. Paul Prudence