New Disquietude podcast episode: music by Lesley Flanigan, Dave Seidel, KMRU, Celia Hollander, and John Hooper; interview with Flanigan; commentary; short essay on reading waveforms. • Disquiet.com F.A.Q.Key Tags: #saw2for33third, #field-recording, #classical, #juntoElsewhere: Twitter, SoundCloud, Instagram

Listening to art. Playing with audio. Sounding out technology. Composing in code. Rewinding the soundscape.

Batman’s Listening Cave?

Holy new-media installation, Batman — is Christopher Nolan, director of the recent film The Dark Knight, a fan of artists Mark Hansen and Ben Rubin?

Without going into too much detail about The Dark Knight, there’s a sequence toward the climax (well, the most lengthy of its several climaxes — this is a summer blockbuster) that features a room-spanning grid of small screens that will be familiar to anyone who has ever experienced Hansen and Rubin’s work titled “Listening Post” (I’ve mentioned it on several occasions here at disquiet.com).

The following description of “Listening Post” will certainly sound familiar to anyone who’s seen The Dark Knight. The Hansen/Rubin work is a matrix of small rectangular screens, connected to each other by a two-dimensional matrix of small wires to form a wall, or skrim, of choreographed data. That data is all pulled from the Internet and filtered through various algorithms, such as searching for four-letter words or for phrases that begin with the words “I am” or “I love.” Here’s a picture, courtesy of Rubin’s Earstudio (earstudio.com):

In The Dark Knight, Batman employs a similar if hyper-realized version, several times the size of the Hansen/Rubin contraption and tapped into a narrower but more data-intensive realm of realtime information. (I’d say more, but might spoil the movie, and Dark Knight is really worth seeing, even if its truest act of super-heroism is to threaten Titanic‘s record for highest-grossing motion picture.)

It’s especially surprising that Manhola Dargis of the New York Times didn’t mention this information-overload similarity in her movie review, since Rubin and Hansen devised a “Listening Post”-like installation, titled “Moveable Type,” for the lobby of the newspaper’s building in midtown Manhattan (more at disquiet.com). Also, just a handful of days before Dark Knight debuted, the Times ran a story by Mia Fineman about awkward resemblances between advertising and contemporary art, including an Apple ad that looks a lot like a Christian Marclay piece (nytimes.com). Director Nolan is certainly not shy about homage; he’s told entertainment reporters that the opening sequence to The Dark Knight is a conscious nod to Michael Mann‘s Heat.

As for the Dark Knight/”Listening Post” comparison, I’m not the first to ask: mikearauz.com, joshspear.com, flickr.com/photos/fenchurch, subjunctive.net.

By Marc Weidenbaum

Tags: , , , / Leave a comment ]

Post a Comment

Your email is never published nor shared. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

*
*

Subscribe without commenting

  • about

  • Marc Weidenbaum founded the website Disquiet.com in 1996 at the intersection of sound, art, and technology, and since 2012 has moderated the Disquiet Junto, an active online community of weekly music/sonic projects. He has written for Nature, Boing Boing, The Wire, Pitchfork, and NewMusicBox, among other periodicals. He is the author of the 33 1⁄3 book on Aphex Twin’s classic album Selected Ambient Works Volume II. Read more about his sonic consultancy, teaching, sound art, and work in film, comics, and other media

  • Field Notes

    News, essays, surveillance

  • Interviews

    Conversations with musicians/artists/coders

  • Studio Journal

    Video, audio, patch notes

  • Projects

    Select collaborations and commissions

  • Subscribe



  • Current Activities

  • Upcoming
    • December 13, 2022: This day marks the 26th anniversary of the founding of Disquiet.com.
    • January 6, 2023: This day marked the 11th anniversary of the start of the Disquiet Junto music community.

  • Recent
    • April 16, 2022: I participated in an online "talk show" by The Big Conversation Space (Niki Korth and Clémence de Montgolfier).
    • March 11, 2022: I hosted a panel discussion between Mark Fell, Rian Treanor and James Bradbury in San Francisco as part of the Algorithmic Art Assembly (aaassembly.org) at Gray Area (grayarea.org).
    • December 28, 2021: This day marked the 10th (!) anniversary of the Instagr/am/bient compilation.
    • January 6, 2021: This day marked the 10th (!) anniversary of the start of the Disquiet Junto music community.
    • December 13, 2021: This day marked the 25th (!) anniversary of the start of the Disquiet Junto music community.
    • There are entries on the Disquiet Junto in the book The Music Production Cookbook: Ready-made Recipes for the Classroom (Oxford University Press), edited by Adam Patrick Bell. Ethan Hein wrote one, and I did, too.
    • A chapter on the Disquiet Junto ("The Disquiet Junto as an Online Community of Practice," by Ethan Hein) appears in the book The Oxford Handbook of Social Media and Music Learning (Oxford University Press), edited by Stephanie Horsley, Janice Waldron, and Kari Veblen. (Details at oup.com.)

  • My book on Aphex Twin's landmark 1994 album, Selected Ambient Works Vol. II, was published as part of the 33 1/3 series, an imprint of Bloomsbury. It has been translated into Japanese (2019) and Spanish (2018).

  • disquiet junto

  • Background
    Since January 2012, the Disquiet Junto has been an ongoing weekly collaborative music-making community that employs creative constraints as a springboard for creativity. Subscribe to the announcement list (each Thursday), listen to tracks by participants from around the world, read the FAQ, and join in.

    Recent Projects

  • 0544 / Feedback Loop / The Assignment: Share music-in-progress for input from others.
    0543 / Technique Check / The Assignment: Share a tip from your method toolbox.
    0542 / 2600 Club / The Assignment: Make some phreaking music.
    0541 / 10BPM Techno / The Assignment: Make some snail-paced beats.
    0540 / 5ive 4our / The Assignment: Take back 5/4 for Jedi time masters Dave Brubeck and Paul Desmond.

  • Full Index
    And there is a complete list of past projects, 544 consecutive weeks to date.

  • Archives

    By month and by topic

  • [email protected]

    [email protected]

  • Downstream

    Recommended listening each weekday

  • Recent Posts