Holly Herndon Is Building a Crowd-Sourced Database of Sound Based on the Internet

The project is now live, and awaiting your contributions.

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Dec 1 2015, 10:09am

Photo by Bennet Perez

Few contemporary musicians are taking on the subject of the internet with as much critical incisiveness as San Francisco-based artist Holly Herndon. Over the course of her relatively short career she has already dealt with the interrelated themes of government transparency online, the NSA (particularly in the song and video for "Home"), questions of the decentralized internet (relating to her partner Mat Dryhurst's project SAGA), digital fuedalism, the ASMR community, and more.

Now, Herndon is working with the topic of the online archive. This morning, she tweeted that she was collaborating with Jennifer Walshe—and hopefully you!—to build a crowd-sourced database of sound work that explicitly engages with the internet, which you can find in its nascent form here.

The duo published a statement with the announcement of the project: "Artists have been working with the internet for decades," they write. "As we see archives and critical writing about this work emerge, we noticed that there is a strong focus on visual work. In an effort to promote more critical writing, vocabulary development and analysis in our field, we are attempting to put together an archive of sound and music works dealing with the internet since its inception. We would like this to be a resource everyone can draw on."

The goal is to support "the sound and music community in understanding how the internet is shaping our field and how artists have been and are currently responding to this integral part of our lives."

Herndon and Walshe leave the parameters relatively open for inclusions to the database, explaining, "We define sound work as work where sound is a key component to the work, if not the focus. We define music to include fixed and non-fixed media, academic and non-academic. The work does not necessarily need to live online."

You can read their statement in full here, and contribute to the project here.

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