A Fraction of a Second explores the extremes of time perception by attempting to unfold and transform what a person might experience in a fraction of a second into an audience experience of vastly different duration. The data used in creating this piece were captured in two separate very short time intervals. The piece is made from a segment of the sound of a train braking in New London, CT (93 milliseconds), and a photograph of the light of the sun reflecting off the Providence River in Providence, RI (2 millisecond exposure). Time in the original audio recording is effectively frozen while space in the still photograph is coerced into determining the time and frequency characteristics of the piece.
The sound you hear is the photograph being played left to right, using 3456 wavetable oscillators (the pixel height of the image) each playing the train braking sample at different pitches, with white reflections sonified as a map of pitches present (bottom to top) at any given time (left to right). The video frame moves from left to right through the image, in sync with the sonification of the photograph. As a result of this process, A Fraction of a Second also draws its visual and musical patterns from the patterns of the natural wave phenomena acting on the surface of the river, allowing for reinterpretation of a very familiar but still unpredictable and chaotic natural process.
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