Machine Agency

Machine Agency
Sound Object
Sarah Loggie


How might machines be seen to perform agency in the production of sound objects? This work utilizes MaxMSP to explore the relationship between automation and sound production. The work consists of a MaxMSP patch, running simultaneously on two computers. The machines record sound at intervals spanning three minutes and five seconds in duration. These recordings are then output in both sound and text (.aif/.txt) format. Throughout this recording process, the machines playback the sound and text files which have been, or are being, recorded by the patch. The sound files are played back using the default audio output setting, while the text files are parsed through a script which converts ASCII characters to integers and employs a pulse oscillator to generate a sound wave. The result is a mimetic cacophony, a dialogue between machines. This sense of mimesis is compounded by the way the patch operates as a series of generative feedback loops; perpetually influencing one and other.(1) The reciprocal relationship set up between the two machines provides fertile ground for the production and analysis of sound objects. Drawing on the work of French composer Pierre Schaeffer, this piece begins to question how actors, both human and machine, might encounter the contemporary acousmatic experience.(2) Just as Schaeffer explored the sonic potentials of electro-acoustic technologies, this work seeks to consider the impact of digital signal processing techniques on the sound object.

(1) Allen S. Weiss, Varieties of Audio Mimesis: Musical Evocations of Landscape (Los Angeles, CA: Errant Bodies Press, 2008).
Seth Kim-Cohen, “In One Ear, Out the Other” in In the Blink of an Ear: Toward a Non-cochlear Sonic Art (New York: Continuum, 2009), 1-30.

Sarah Loggie’s practice interrogates relationships between the artist, the artefact and the audience. Driven by her interest in material and discursive processes, Loggie produces works which traverse the domains of social innovation, education, sonic art, painting, sculpture, ceramics, photography, net art and performance. Collective ideologies – notions of identity, materiality, ritual, encounter and the body inform the politic underpinning her work.

Sarah Loggie was born in Cape Town, South Africa (1989). Having immigrated to Aotearoa in 1997,  she spent her formative years in Te Tai Tokerau, New Zealand’s northern-most region. Following a stint grooming sport horses, Loggie pursued a course of study at Colab,  Auckland University of Technology, graduating with a Bachelor of Creative Technologies in 2014.  She is currently working towards a Master of Creative Technologies and will complete her thesis titled ‘Where’s the Criticality, Tracey? A Performative Stance Towards Contemporary Art Practice’ in 2017.

Sarah Loggie currently lives and works in Auckland, New Zealand.

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