Proposal, Project #2: What does it sound like to not be human?

I propose for my project to create a collage/composition of sounds, whether using pre-made sounds or creating my own, to represent what the “organs” of an android or cybernetic human would sound like to us. It will be no more than 1 minute long, in the interest that I will be presenting this in class and would not want to take up too much time. I will be using my expertise from what I have learned in my major, Entertainment Technology, to create this collage/composition. This is to explore a topic from our class on what it means to be human, the conflict of authenticity. In general, this will be a sound design of the innards of an android.

Sound design begins with research and analysis. I will be taking a specific excerpt from Philip K. Dick’s: “Do Androids Dream Of Electric sheep”, and I will pick something that expresses what the innards of an android sounds like and analyze it in order to get an idea of a sound that I will be creating. I will also be researching articles on the school’s catalog and other sources for prosthesis, human augmentation, and A.I. to understands how the mechanics work, to get an idea of what it would sound like. Also a very important part of sound design is visual analysis, which is to search pictures that relate to the topic in order to help imagine what your sound design concept will be like.

With all the research I can find for my project I will then look for sounds online on and search for specific items to represent what I want for my project. If I can’t find exactly what I want I will also create it on a DAW, Digital Audio Workspace, or simply a software to create sounds. In it I will use certain instruments but especially synthesizers. A synthesizer is just like an android, the android imitates life and a synthesizer imitates other instruments. The point is to make the sounds very industrial and inorganic.



2 thoughts on “Proposal, Project #2: What does it sound like to not be human?

  1. Leo, this is a fascinating project. I love the “creative” aspect of it, and that you are bringing research in to inform this creative process. One question I have is, why the (motivating/main) question of “what the “organs” of an android or cybernetic human would sound like to us”?

    Do you know what human “organs” sound like? This could be something interesting to research too (John Cage, when he went into a chamber and expected to hear silence, famously still heard two sounds: that of his nervous and circulatory systems;

    I would also encourage you to create a longer composition (your “product” can be much longer–some people are writing stories), and then you can choose to play an “excerpt” for the class for the presentation part (and post the full composition on our OpenLab site).

    There was this event back in March at City Tech that explored the human/machine “divide” in terms of sound, and I thought it might be relevant to think about

  2. The reason behind the question is because androids, like in Blade Runner and the Novel by Phillip K. Dick, are to replicate a human and everything that makes a human what they are. So in order to replicate a human it must also replicate some or all of the human organs, it cant be all cogs and wires. To me, it is basically a balance between human and robot. Which in my sound design I will make it balanced as well, seeming human yet synthetic.
    Also I can definitely make it longer, maybe no more than 5 minutes for the final product and a 1-2 minute excerpt for the presentation. And I developed my idea more in that I will still creating sounds of android organs and it will be a sound exploration for what some of the artificial organs would sound like juxtaposed human organs.
    For the paper portion of the assignment I’m not sure on how to go about it, should I write on what human organs sound and work and then what artificial organs sound like and how they work? This makes it harder to decide on what I should research and how I will make 6-8 pages of this information.

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