Reading Response #3 to Artful Design • Chapter 3: “Visual Design”

Aaron H.
Music 256A / CS476a, Stanford University

One thing I wonder about the ‘Converge’ composition is how the interaction with the piece could have affected some of the behavior of the pictures. Currently, the year of when the picture was taken causes a counter to appear showing how long ago the image was taken. However, would there be any significance added for how many times certain pictures were accessed? If you typed in a key word or knew a specific date, could that affect the likelihood of getting a certain picture? Maybe this would make the work feel less poignant, considering the moment is further away the longer time goes by. Accessing the memory itself brings the memory to the forefront, possibly reminding us of a moment to cherish. This however, doesn’t change how the images converge into nothing at the end. I’m curious why this was the choice of the piece if not to evoke a sense of fading memory. I could imagine another take of the piece where all of the images form back together and spread out over the entire screen. In this scenario, there could be something like a rolling credit screen of pictures, with the option to exit whenever you like. On the other hand, I think choosing to end the composition as described in Artful design is very intentional. There is something real about time and fading memory

Additionally, I really found ‘The Search for Strange Design Loops’ inspiring for my milestone this week. I was particularly interested in the shepard tones and the auditory illusion created by them. As talked about earlier in the chapter, a combination of small ideas can have pretty cool results. In a way, the shepard tone illusion is an example of this. It’s really elegant to see a combination of tones that forever makes it seem like a pitch is increasing or decreasing. For my piece, I wanted to somehow emulate waves through a sound source. I find the shepard tone a great way to emulate this behavior as the constant rise or fall of waves in the ocean. I also took a little bit of time to see the effect of a shepard tone of my audio visualizer. I was really cool to see the spectrum response shift gradually through the different frequencies and eventually repeat again. I hope to have a working combination of different shepard tones to showcase for my final milestone.