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Common Sounds

In design and writing, negative space shapes positive object – one does not exist without the other. Common Sounds explores this symbiotic duality with interaction and remixing, presenting a environment that invites the user to both perform an audio-visual composition as well as write a non-linear narrative. Thus, the ‘listener’ also becomes a ‘performer’ and the reader becomes a writer.

Sounds were sampled from the public sphere, and range from a cat purring to running water to a radio broadcast played backwards. Using time as an additional medium, the interface invites the user/reader to compose and arrange, and no two 'performances' will be exactly the same. Remixing positive elements and negative space, the interface’s punchline is ‘white noise’— as sounds accumulate, visual information disappears.

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Barness, J. (2011). Common Sounds. Currents in Electronic Literacy journal. Austin, TX: Digital Writing and Research Lab.


2012. Common Sounds Negative Spaces. Exhibited at FILE RIO Electronic Language International Festival. Oi Futuro Art Gallery, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

2011. Common Sounds Negative Spaces. Exhibited at FILE Electronic Language International Festival. SESI Cultural Centre, São Paulo, Brazil.