“If I make a sound perfectly, it will be forgotten as soon as it comes on.”
Irv Teibel was the first to sell synthetic ocean wave sounds - intended to be listened to for relaxation, and better than the actual thing. the title of the first album was Environments 1: Psychologically Ultimate Seashore; that's from 1969.
According to Google trends, white noise has maintained a fairly steady, upward mobility for the last five years in search. The song “Office Air Conditioners” on Spotify has over four million plays. Almost everyone is a potential consumer of white noise - People sleep to noises now, work to noises, play noises in their headphones while they walk to work.
[Powell, M. (2016). Natural selection: How a new age hustler sold the sound of the world. ]
Wikipedia is an intensely hyperlinked space, with articles intersecting via reference to one another. we could talk about this amount of pure information in terms of an ocean, a flood, liquids.
(it’s not so pure, if you look at the battles fought in the revisions section, but that’s another story. or is it? )
poet Joshua Beckmann describes how he listens to poems - long, expansive poems, how he thinks he wasn’t listening well when he was trying to lock his door and get out of the house - but the rhythm of it is taken into the body and alters his way of moving and paying attention.
paying - reminds me of paywalls -
so here we see an example of language as environment and of tracing our movement in response to it.
synthetic oceans - I have another one on the water theme , Peter Mendelsund talking about rivers -
back to the matter at hand - one day, we decided to click through Wikipedia as quickly as we could. clicking on to the next reference before reading the article, purely trekking across the trail of what the eyes fell upon first and what the mouse chose. patterns emerged quickly - if i’d seen a word before, i was more likely to click on it again. words that i couldn’t pronounce i wouldn’t click on. and the mouse kept moving the same direction on the page after a click, in a futile attempt to ‘reset’ before the next page showed. (which didn’t really work. the internet connection was pretty fast.) lots of cross connections, of which I remember exactly none.
one of the dominant theories in hypertext was that it gives the reader or user agency, as the choice is all theirs what to click on - and it felt like it heralded a new era in literature - more like brave new world - the limitations of the hype around hypertext came with the realization that the reader/user can really only choose from the links that are scripted for them.
wikipedia one day is the result of tracing the movements of the mouse across the page - marking them - it aims to give you a sense of the state of attention (more than being a straightforward account of what we found).