Contagion is an experiment in context. Laughs taken from ‘fail’ videos on the Web are given a new purpose in the two sound and visual collages, ‘contaminate’ or ‘exterminate’. While the sounds are strictly identical, the visuals offer two different listening contexts, like a reverse approach to changing the music of a movie. And the questions asked of the listener are: How do the visuals influence your perception of the laughs? What emotions do these different visuals evoke?
The interactivity of the piece emphasises the listener’s involvement. They are given the choice to shape their sonic experience so that the usual passivity of art (which is still possible) must now be a conscious choice instead of default behaviour.
The piece is influenced by minimalist music, in particular the early tape works of Steve Reich. It also follows my vow of minimalism. The 400 different laughs can overlap, respond, echo and even turn into a dissonant barrage of sound, depending on the actions or inactions of the listener.