Lucreccia and Suvani: Your reflections on how you might like to »amplify the »noise« that surrounds you, or your own vocal flaws« makes me think of the work of someone like Jacob Kirkegaard, whose practice is centered on making the indiscernible or the unnoticed conditions around more palpable through sound. It also makes me think of how listening is a form of »embracing« the Möbius-strip nature of life and things around us, where the inside and the outside, the desirable and the undesirable, are intertwined and not static. The »sonic collision« in that sense, as you put it, is a compelling image. Are there other forms that »sonic collisions« could take, if not aural? I am curious to know how you think of representing sound or listening, in non-aural ways.
Bola: I’m still exploring that. I’m curious about haptic technology and the ways in which sound can activate experiences through the body – vibrations, goosebumps, shivers, tears, etc. I tried a haptic suit for the first time several years ago and it really opened my eyes to how sound can be experienced in more ways than one. For this project, the visuals became an extension of the sonic experience. I ended up incorporating spectrograms in a few of my illustrations to demonstrate visual representations of sound and how they can shift.
Visually, I wanted to create an environment that felt »chaotic,« »random,« and »tangled,« much like sound can be in a day-to-day context. I wanted it to feel like a reinterpretation of a playlist – where sounds (or »songs«) can play concurrently instead of one by one in a particular order. The sounds can shift, amplify, or wane, depending on the participant’s movement or stillness. I also visually and sonically left room for lots of negative space and emptiness. This way people can retreat and breathe for a bit – almost like hitting the pause button.
Lucreccia and Suvani: It’s also fascinating to me how you think about the patterns belonging to the natural worlds and rhythms as algorithmic. That also leaves room for the »unexpected,« the errancy to leak in. In your processes of data sonification, how do you design the algorithms to keep that room for uncertainty alive?
Bola: It just occurs on its own at times. Sometimes the software glitches, misinterprets, or overlaps sounds unintentionally. The variety and uncertainty in the sonification process comes from the features displayed within the data I use (which is generally an image – or visual data). Playing with colors, shapes, and sizes can alter the way an image sounds, but my recording devices, process, and environment also play a role in how the sounds are captured. Static and artifacts can peek through in the recording process and cause clicks or buzzes, which give new texture to the way an image sounds. There is also the reality of sounds eliciting different reactions and interpretations from people which for me is the most fascinating part of this process. I am now learning to let go and be open to the reality of certain elements of my work being misinterpreted or misunderstood and that leaves room for the unexpected to occur as well.