Cory Arcangel, On C, (2007-08)

Download OnC.pdf

A student of music composition and theory, Cory Arcangel has engaged with the concept of noise in many ways. Be it performing folk songs with the help of auto-tune or generating Schoenberg piano works out of found cat footage, assumptions about our aural environment are threads that runs through most of his work. In his essay On Compression, originally part of a larger publishing project designed in collaboration with artists Dexter Sinister, Arcangel takes on visual noise from a purely technical perspective. Although an invisible process to most of us, compression lies at the heart of digital technology, making it possible for example to have feature length films streamed over the web. Arcangel’s dry yet informative treatise on the subject (which includes a lot of math) calls into question the expectations and assumptions about what is or is not extraneous data.