32-bit Noir – Michael Trommer’s Transmissions from the Technological Sublime

Transmissions from the Technological Sublime is a panoramic multimedia installation that depicts a nocturnal landscape of non-place populated by infrastructure rather than people. Hatched as a MFA thesis project within OCAD University’s integrated media program by Toronto’s Michael Trommer, the audiovisual piece renders highways, shipping channels, airports, and office parks as uncanny interstitial zones of contemplation. Slow rumbling drones coalesce with long static shots and the viewer is left to soak up the atmospherics. With animations that are decidedly un-photorealistic, the piece capitalizes on a tension between ‘the everyday’ and a somewhat ominous and foreboding reproduction of it.

Taking an unconventional ‘audio first’ approach to crafting this piece, each of Transmissions from the Technological Sublime’s cinematic vignettes emerge from individual field recordings. Over email Trommer describes the majority of his recording sites as “open urban or exurban areas in which the ambient sound level was comparatively quiet,” and how he “auditioned” sounds and soundscapes that were recorded from significant distances (across bodies of water or parking lots, etc.). “Harmonic factory hums reflecting off of open water and filtered by forests, for example can become these euphonious modulated textures,” he concludes, describing his search for soundscapes to “resynthesize,” 3D model, and animate in Blender.

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