Join 3,556 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)


Soundville
October 12, 2009 10:54 AM   Subscribe

Juan Cabral, the commercial maker behind the Sony Bravia bouncing ball ad has completed a new piece: this time, he and collaborators, including Múm, Richard Fearless (of Death In Vegas) and the people behind Sigur Rós' live concerts, transformed the Icelandic town of Sey∂isfjör∂ur into an ambient sound installation, placing speakers throughout the town, playing music (from folk to electronica to ambient orchestral) and filming the reactions of the locals as they went about their lives.

The resulting short film, Soundville, is ostensibly an advertisement for Sony's audio products, but can stand on its own as an art installation.
posted by acb (17 comments total) 9 users marked this as a favorite

 
You’re using the wrong characters in the town’s name. You want ð (eth), not (“dé” from calculus). It’s Seyðisfjörður, as the Wikipedia entry you linked to correctly shows.
posted by joeclark at 11:03 AM on October 12, 2009 [1 favorite]


I've never seen that Bravia ad. That's awesome and then some.
posted by xmutex at 11:27 AM on October 12, 2009


The sheep were the best part.
posted by desjardins at 11:45 AM on October 12, 2009


I think I would start shooting out speakers the very first day. Right *before* I went crazy.
posted by freebird at 12:00 PM on October 12, 2009


While it's certainly artful and beautifully shot -- I can't help but think of it as a bit mean in a way. The ball campaign, while similarly disrupting to a neighborhood or more for the few days they were shooting it, and certainly very beautiful, didn't capture the... well... inconvenience to the residents, that this piece shows. This isn't just beautiful soundscapes panning over a scenic countryside. It looks and feels like speakers playing any random collection of audio (as evident by the person being startled walking down the stairs) against an unwitting audience.

It would have been one thing if the speakers were sort of set up in a standalone sort of installation that people voluntarily went in to be startled by. I don't know -- that startled person on the stairs made me feel the installation was ugly and thrust upon them -- not beautiful balls falling down the streets of San Francisco.
posted by cavalier at 12:07 PM on October 12, 2009


that startled person on the stairs made me feel the installation was ugly and thrust upon them

"They spoke with the mayor of Seyðisfjörður and everyone in the village accepted." (from the transformed link)
posted by desjardins at 12:14 PM on October 12, 2009


Well, yes, so they say. Still, it's their homes, what have you. Not saying that all the residents got out of the ball ad with free ice cream and puppies, but at least their coping with it wasn't part of the story.
posted by cavalier at 12:18 PM on October 12, 2009


They spoke with the mayor of Seyðisfjörður and everyone in the village accepted.
...the large check for their participation.
posted by Thorzdad at 12:28 PM on October 12, 2009


the Sony Bravia bouncing ball ad

You can imagine my disappointment when I realized that I had misread that as "the Sonia Braga bouncing ball ad."
posted by Forktine at 12:32 PM on October 12, 2009


Weird, I love the previous ball ad (I have a 500Mb high def .mkv version on my AppleTV) the concept for this sounded great, but even in the long form commercial, you can see several shots of people looking annoyed and unhappy about the ubiquitous music.

The last shot in the ad is the best -- low tones playing with the sound of children playing and laughing over it. It's the only time in the entire 3 minute ad that the music isn't intrusive and seems to be actually improving a day. All the other shots it seems like it is decreasing the happiness for everyone around except a few young people.
posted by mathowie at 1:46 PM on October 12, 2009 [1 favorite]


You’re using the wrong characters in the town’s name. You want ð (eth), not ∂ (“dé” from calculus).

Well, OBVIOUSLY.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 2:53 PM on October 12, 2009 [1 favorite]


Reminds me of my time in China, except the music is a lot more beautiful than the cacaphony of awful Western pop songs blasting out of the 8 or so shops on every block.
posted by cerulgalactus at 2:56 PM on October 12, 2009


Maybe this is the kind of stuff people will agree to when the debt collectors have repossessed their personal gizmos and summer is several months away?

The whole approach reminded me a little FBI's siege of the Branch Davidian's compound in Waco - to name one prominent example - where people were subjected to music as torture. More details on that particular technique if you are interested.
posted by rongorongo at 4:28 PM on October 12, 2009


(I'd be interested in any accounts of what a small Icelandic village like this normally sounds like. If my experiences of villages in the extreme north of Scotland is anything to go by then I would imagine "very quiet" would be a broad description. A sound experiment which somehow recreated the (striking) near silence of such a place in a normally noisy urban environment would be much more interesting than this in my book).
posted by rongorongo at 4:39 PM on October 12, 2009


I'm surprised that for a piece essentially selling the sound quality of Sony gear, the sound design is so arbitrary, so accidental (and not in a good way). This could have been brilliant, the concept is interesting, the setting is visually stunning (although this doesn't seem to be properly exploited in a lot of the shots) but the sound design is incredibly disappointing. Too bad really.
posted by tighttrousers at 6:18 PM on October 12, 2009


I spent most of a summer on a farm just outside the town of Seyðisfjörður herding cows when I was twelve. My grandfather was born on a farm in the fjord and grew up there. His ashes were scattered in the fjord (both the town and the fjord are named Seyðisfjörður).

Every summer there's an art festival in the town so they're used to all kinds of craziness. My friend Elvar, better known as sound artist Auxpan, moved out to Seyðisfjörður this summer. He's been there off and on the last few years, taking part in all kinds of odd art happenings. So the people there are probably fairly used to it.
posted by Kattullus at 7:46 PM on October 12, 2009


obnoxious sounds inconveniencing residents?

Yep, that's Sony alright.
posted by DreamerFi at 10:57 PM on October 12, 2009


« Older One Fast Move or I'm Gone...  |  uPlaya uses algorithms to dete... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments