Web installation, 2020

an experimental 'space' that lives on a website and makes sound. Although #otherbeats is conceived primarily as a virtual installation piece, it may also be used as an ‘instrument’ and be played as a sound performance.

Made in 2020 as part of the larger dissertation project "Resisting the Grid – Performing Asynchrony" by Marcel Zaes at Brown University, Providence RI, USA.

Co-authored by contributors who have made all the location audio recordings and have provided images of their recording locations (those with an *):

Ian Antonio,
Annie Aries,*
Eli Backer,*
Philip Bartels,
Meghna Bhardwaj,*
Robert Black,
Sara Bouchard,
Darlene Castro,
Cindy Del Rio,
Jordan Dykstra,
Cenk Ergün,*
Carrie Frey,
Martim S. Galvão,
Lee Gilboa,
Russell Greenberg,
Jonas Gygax,
Lauren Sarah Hayes,*
Julie Herndon,
Brian House,
Will Johnson,
Simone Keller,
Mimi Kind,*
Cyrill Lim,*
Martin Lorenz,*
Wang Lu,
Enongo Lumumba-Kasongo,*
Sean Lynch,*
Ashley Macachor,*
Björn Meyer,
Miranda Moss,*
Alecia Neo,
Surjit Nongmeikapam Bon,*
Marianthi Papalexandri-Alexandri,
Mandeep Raikhy,
Mariana Roa Oliva,
Lia Sáile,
Arden Wren Sawyer,
Julia Schade,*
Pascal Schärli,*
Annette Schmucki,*
Zsolt Sőrés,
Poorna Swami,
Cathy van Eck,
Beat Vollenwyder,
Irene van Zeeland,*
Anna Xambó,

➭ Explore #otherbeats at otherbeats.net

For #otherbeats, Marcel Zaes prompted contributors across the world to send him homemade beats, ‘alternative’ metronomes and skewed pulses, recorded from their shelter-in-place locations during the pandemic with lo-fi gear. This archive of rhythm collected via social networks is displayed in a web arts project: an experimental ‘space’ that lives on a website and makes sound. 

The piece is involved with different notions of time grids. Using human data for an internet-driven sound project leaves the listener with an ambiguous sonic world that oscillates between periodicity, rhythmic deviance, and what might be called a defiant networked system of arbitrary connections. #otherbeats reflects on contemporary notions of ‘technological/techno’ and ‘organic,’ of ‘grids as resistance’ and ‘otherness,’ ‘broken’ and ‘failure.’ In particular it does so by referencing to the queer, African American musical undergrounds of the 1970s via its visual language. Thereby the piece acknowledges how deeply dance music rhythms are indebted to these scenes and pays tribute to them. Zaes, by way of designing ‘alternate’ systems of networked time grids, proposes an idiosyncratic mode of thinking ‘time grids’ in digital, networked electronic music performance. #otherbeats might be neither ‘techno’ nor ‘organic,’ but in fact, both.

The piece is made exclusively with Web Audio API/JavaScript under HTML5 and uses merely filtering, convolution reverb, synthesis, compression and live mixing as its techniques. #otherbeats takes on to democratize electronic music and sound art since it replaces expensive and specialized software at elite institutions with tools as cheap, ubiquitous and accessible as the web browser.

All photos (c) 2020 by Laura Gáti and Marcel Zaes