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Seth Cooke - Architectural Model Making

Binaural field recording; feedback; pre-recording of a model of a model of a firearm

“The following... is an overview of the integrated Hillsboro Active Shooter Model. Officers respond to dispatched reports of an Active Shooter. As they arrive, they each park on the same side of the street and purposely leave space for the ingress-egress of fire equipment and ambulances. The first officers arriving make either solo or two-officer entries at their discretion. Multiple ingress points are employed, converging quickly on the suspect. If there are indicators of the suspect wounding people, the officers rapidly move to interrupt the killing. If there are no indicators, the officers rapidly begin to dominate key architectural features such as hallways, stairwell exits and elevator banks in multi-story buildings.”
George Williams, Maximizing Life-Saving in Active Shootings

A binaural recording was made of the reverberation caused by playing back a recording of the BBC Research & Development Internet Research & Future Services Web Audio API model of the BBC Radiophonic Workshop’s 1954 Gunfire Effects Generator into Bristol’s Cabot Circus shopping centre. The resulting impulse response model – contaminated by the subjectivity of microphone placement and innumerable uncontrollable synchronous sounding events – was convolved with a binaural recording of shoppers enjoying late opening in the same space on the evening of Thursday 5th December 2013. Both recordings were made with permission.


This instantiation of Architectural Model Making uses the score to modulate the number of times the recording was convolved through the impulse response, or the degree to which the idiosyncrasies of the aberrant model were allowed to reinforce themselves. Hughes’ dynamic notation was replaced by intensities of feedback, with “silence” replaced by “untreated.”

The images accompanying this piece are taken from Photosynth models of Cabot Circus. They include both the point cloud and details of photographic anomalies caused by inaccurate mapping in the point detection and matching algorithms. By coincidence, the pseudo-3D model from which the stitching errors were derived was created from digital photographs taken within a metre of the location at which the binaural recordings were made. Those with maladaptive worldviews might linger on such a synchronism, reprocessing it again and again until it signifies something else entirely.

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Return to Sarah Hughes graphic score project page