I went to an event the other night as part of a prelude to Experimenta, which is happening in September. It was called Soundwwwalk, yes, three Ws, but apparently not pronounced with a staggering soundwuh-wuh-walk style I was hilariously using. Online, it was described as a performance of the “emerging genre of live browser-based sound performances”, which to be honest, I haven’t heard of before, and my guess is you haven’t either, probably because it’s a bit shit. I had Soundwwwalk built up in my head as something else. I pictured a big space with dark lights and projections, of some advanced geek level mixing of different sounds with some equally as intriguing images to match it. How very wrong one person can be. At West Space on Bourke St, we went up to the first level and into the room that would be holding the performance. Yes, there was a projection, but that was about the only thing that matched my totally incorrect preconceived idea of what it would be. The room was bright, a computer home screen was projected on to the screen, and everyone chose a spot in the seats that were organised in a way that made us feel like we were about to get a presentation on a time share offer. So began this “sonic detour through the World Wide Web” we had been promised, and I don’t think I will be returning. Essentially, it was a “performance” of having tabs open in the browser, all with some sort of YouTube or some other online sound-playing site. So we sat there and watched as the “performer” clicked play on one sound bite, then would click play on the next few, then go back and fade out the first couple, and so on and so forth. There is actually some potential to turn what this is into something interesting. However, when it was simply a collection of Buddhist chanting, shamanic drumming, rain (yes, the most clichéd sound of them all), and some drone metal, leaving early didn’t seem like such a loss. Soundwwwalk – more like soundwuh-wuh-wank, I want my $5 back.

Pia Salvatore

The author Pia Salvatore

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