Headphones recommend: some excerpts are quite loud, lower volumes encouraged if sensitive.
Symphony No. 01010011 01111001 01101101 01110000 01101000 01101111 01101110 01111001 is a collection of fragmentary artifacts concerning the ubiquitous circulation of Ludwig van Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony. I translated multiple file types (.pdf, .png, .wav, etc.) into sound using Audacity’s ability to import both audio and non-audio files as raw data, converting them into sound. These objects included scans of the copyist’s manuscript, YouTube performances of the work, screengrab’s of my computer, among others. The comments below are a document of my editing process exploring this function, with sources included when available (unless otherwise stated, all files were downloaded from IMSLP, a free library of classical music currently existing in the public domain). All artifacts are either direct translations of the symphony’s data, or data attached to it by the web’s algorithmic shuffling (YouTube advertisements, freesound.com, etc.)The excerpts presented are themselves excerpts of these transfers, some of which yielded durations over three times the length of the actual symphony. In a way, the data required to make the digital versions of this work is more extensive than the work itself - a focus on scale: the high degree of circulation (all of these files were either created or downloaded using free software and websites), the cultural impact/history of this piece, or the data required for even one of its transmissions? This file, itself uploaded freely to a free platform on a free account, attempts to highlight the dynamic sub-currents of sound that such a work has gained through its circulation, to view the layers of patina and rust accrued through its mediation.
“The poor image embodies the afterlife of many former masterpieces of cinema and video art. It has been expelled from the sheltered paradise that cinema seems to have once been.18 After being kicked out of the protected and often protectionist arena of national culture, discarded from commercial circulation, these works have become travelers in a digital no-man’s land, constantly shifting their resolution and format, speed and media, sometimes even losing names and credits along the way….now many of these works are back—as poor images, I admit. One could of course argue that this is not the real thing, but then—please, anybody—show me this real thing.
The poor image is no longer about the real thing—the originary original. Instead, it is about its own real conditions of existence: about swarm circulation, digital dispersion, fractured and flexible temporalities. It is about defiance and appropriation just as it is about conformism and exploitation.”
- Hito Steyerl, “In Defense of the Poor Image”
"Instead we need to do the seemingly impossible: any real move beyond our situatedness in the Beethovenian paradigm requres that we transcend ourselves, that we somehow rise above the very foundations of our discourse. Making such an effort gains a special poignancy, because the heroic stle continues to tell us things we want, and probably need, to hear. And yet, one of the things it has been heard to relate is the effort of overcoming oneself. Thus making the struggle to hear beyond the heroic style may even seem...heroic."
- Scott Burnham, "Beethoven Hero". ISBN 0-691-05058-9. Princeton University Press