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This Pop-Up Record Store Just Sells Noise

Artist Jeff Thompson has created 'White Noise Boutique,' a boutique that will sell algorithmically-generated white noise unique to each buyer.
Renderings courtesy of the artist

Jeff Thompson is an artist whose works deal in randomization and extremes. Computers on Law & Order was a project, commissioned by new media incubator Rhizome, where Thompson went through 456 episodes of the famous TV series to create a digital and physical archive of the 11,000 instances where computers were shown, a reflection on binge-watching culture and the oddities inherent in TV props. Every Possible Photograph, a slightly more ambitious project, consists of custom software designed by Thompson that will, over the course of approximately 46,138,562,195,008,110,600,774,753,760,087,749,172,181,189,607,929,628,058,548,517,099,604,563,033,706,075 years, produce every possible digital image within a certain color gamut. At this point, the project is a grand two years in, and still going strong.


Thompson’s latest artistic endeavor isn’t in the same vein of extremity, but still maintains his fascinations with probability and randomization. White Noise Boutique is a project and a pop-up store opening for a week this September as a part of the 2015 Brighton Digital Festival. The sole product of the pop-up shop is its namesake—white noise, sold as a digital file or a physical 7-inch vinyl record. The key point of interest lies in the specifics of the noise: each customer receives an entirely unique form of white noise that is dependent on a series of algorithmic choices they make.

As per the project description, visitors will “select from a variety of random ‘seeds’ and number generators” which will determine the white noise output. Atmospheric noise from un-tuned FM radio stations and a Type 1390-B tube powered noise generator are some of the many tools Thompson uses to develop the unique noise, but the specifics of the produced noise falls entirely on the customer.

In the rare chance that someone has made the same selections as you, Thompson has developed a “battery of tests” that ensure the uniqueness of your white noise. With guaranteed uniqueness, you can use your white noise for more than just background music of art; it can also be used as a cryptographic password, a complex and very secure form of password encryption that will either be incredibly useful or a minor side note depending on the buyer’s needs.


If you’re looking to buy some authentically unique white noise, or just want to see how the hell the white noise generating algorithmic processes work, White Noise Boutique will be open Tuesdays through Saturdays from September 11 to September 18th at 16 Brighton Square in Brighton, UK.

For more of Jeff Thompson’s technologically-driven explorations, continue here to his website.


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