THE SOUND OF CONTAGION
What does a pandemic sound like?
How have pandemics been described in literature?
What if we input pandemic novels as data into an AI algorithm?
How about we set those results to music?
The Sound of Contagion is a creative collaboration between researchers at the University of Oxford, the Royal Northern College of Music, and the Universität der Künste Berlin.
The project explores how AI, music composition, and narrative theory intersect to help us think in more innovative ways about how creativity and technology can be used to mutual benefit.
Using the pandemic as a springboard, we've input over a dozen novels and plays from Oedipus Rex to Afterland into our algorithm and mined the output for narrative probes. These have then been collated into a multi-layered short story which is at times comprehensible and literary, at others confusing nonsense.
We like it that way, we learn from the nonsense.
Using the narrative and nonsense as inspiration, we've then composed sound bites using another algorithm which contextualises the aural experience of the narrative's context: contagion.