Clinton Van Arnam

Variations on Noise

Variations on Noise is a three-part collection: an index, a set of interviews, and a perspective on a working practice in graphic design and sound.

If noise is ubiquitous in our everyday lives, how do we define it and use it as a catalyst for dissonance and change? As a designer, I use noise algorithms to generate pseudo randomness and break up repetitive textures. As a musician, I use noise to create scores and performances that challenge our perception of what is comfortable and uncomfortable.

Seven interviews with designers, artists, musicians, and a Tibetan monk offer ways to approach the world through noise and to better understand humanity.

An index offers a consolidated tool for anyone interested in noise and how it shapes science, audio, culture, and other disciplines.


Variations on Noise

Variations on Noise is a video essay which explores the notion of noise and it’s relationship to the human body. The piece explores simple typographic forms, while the human body is driving custom software to score the work. Variations on Noise is heavily influenced by texts such as Micah Silver’s Figures of Air , Damon Kruoski’s Ways of Hearing, and Jacques Attali’s book Noise: The Political Economy of Music.

On Noise

On Noise is a video essay which explores the aesthetics of noise and its relationship to mass-production. The project uses custom software to drive typography based on incoming synthesizer data. Through this technique, the project uses noise and rhythm to tell a narrative. 


A video essay which explores Elvis Presley and machine learning in the modern age. uses facial recognition technology to monitor the user’s eye movements using their computer’s camera. Each time the user blinks, the system not only generates a new daily headline from the New York Times, but also initiates a timer to measure the duration the user spends reading this headline. The time taken to read the headline influences the next interaction: the longer the reading time, the more intense and noisy the sound generated upon the user's subsequent blink. The use of consumer-grade equipment to track involuntary body movements raises questions about vulnerability, privacy, hyper stimulation, and surveillance in our heavily media-influenced world. 


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