Digital Reproduction: Cubist Head

Made by klxia

Attempted to create a work of sound that maintains the aura and emotion of the original Cubist Head

Created: September 6th, 2016

media project 1

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Alberto Giacometti began as a Surrealist in the 1930s, when he primarily made sculptures that were often described as child-like or toy-like. He was also interested in Freudian psychology and his worked involved ideas like sexuality and trauma. He also was one of the first to create physically interactive works.

City Square, 1948

After the Second World War, he was influenced by the newfound interest in anxiety and isolation, and his work turned more Existentialist.He is best-known for popularizing a suffering human as a symbol of the lasting horrors of war.

Suspended Bal, 1931



The original work is Cubist Head, pictured in the main image of this page because I created audio for this project and wasn't sure what to put there. This work initially drew my attention because of how, despite looking haphazardly drawn, I nevertheless saw some order and deliberation involved in the piece. I also looked specifically for existentialist artists because I was interested in the movement, and Giacometti is one of its greatest influencers.

The work itself is an engraving on a copperplate. He gouged  the plate to create mostly straight lines and sharp angles, but the effect in the photo looks similar to a pencil on canvas. As an etching, the work is monochromatic and emphasis remains on the lines themselves.



I didn't go in with a clear plan: I've never used Audacity before and have no audio editing experience, so my primary goal was to learn a useful tool. I vaguely knew that I wanted something chaotic in the background with something cleaner and sharper at the forefront to represent the blemished background and gouges, but that's as far as my planning went. I knew I'd spend a lot of time trying to work with Audacity (I spent 15 minutes stuck with no buttons available: you have to press stop before you edit anything, who knew), so I thought I should probably go in without crazy expectations.



The base static is created using a tool Almeda demonstrated during lab, with a lower line consisting of the same track, but slowed and pitched lower. I used Audacity's built-in tone generators to make a bunch of noises and layered them on top.I originally planned to have the chirps move around spatially, but I unfortunately could not obtain a binaural recording device. Instead, I manually played with the left/right and volume of all the noises. I also split up the static into multiple sections to change the left-right of different parts.



I don't think that I preserved the style, but I got familiar with Audacity and I value that a lot more. I think if I did this again, I would start with a wider assortment of noises and a binaural microphone. I would probably also experiment with the effects of Audacity, or maybe even use a tool with more options. Alternately, I could have explored the plugins available for Audacity more: I was trying to keep things simple for my first foray.

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Attempted to create a work of sound that maintains the aura and emotion of the original Cubist Head