oral communication and the possibilities

Imagine you could create an oral communication your audience could experience three dimensionally in real time.

… a hologram1 is a photographic recording of a light field, rather than of an image formed by a lens, and it is used to display a fully three-dimensional image of the holographed subject, which is seen without the aid of special glasses or other intermediate optics. The hologram itself is not an image and it is usually unintelligible when viewed under diffuse ambient light. It is an encoding of the light field as an interference pattern of seemingly random variations in the opacity, density, or surface profile of the photographic medium. When suitably lit, the interference pattern diffracts the light into a reproduction of the original light field and the objects that were in it appear to still be there, exhibiting visual depth cues such as parallax and perspective that change realistically with any change in the relative position of the observer.2

Communicating ideas orally can be described in the same way. Where a hologram is the performance of a light3 field in a white space4, oral communication is the performance of a sound field. It is the appearance of an image in sound.

An oral performance or installation, is the capturing of a sound field, the oral expression of a thought or idea that is displayed three dimensionally5 and heard without the aid of any special or intermediate6 device, in a form that can be experienced by the observer.

When suitably expressed, the ‘interference pattern diffracts’7 the sound into a reproduction of the original sound field and the objects that were in it appear to still be there exhibiting cues that change realistically with any change in the relative position of the observer or listener.

When you move around a sound field your relationship with the thoughts and ideas being uttered alters.

Oral communication as performance.

If communicated or performed well, the observer or audience, can walk around the thoughts and ideas being communicated as sound,8, as you would walk around a contemporary art installation9 or hologram. The work itself is suspended in the (audio) space between the performer and the audience; between the device creating the hologram and the observer. The work itself or oral performance enables a ‘change in the relative position of the observer’ perspectively10 11

As the observer you can clearly see the relationship between the device and the hologram; as the audience to an oral performance you can clearly see the relationship between the performer and the thoughts and ideas being uttered or expressed orally.

Thoughts and ideas delivered orally (as sound) enable, in the same way, the audience or observer to alter their perspective or relationship with the object being communicated – the thoughts and ideas.

Where the hologram is a ‘photographic recording of a light field’, the idea being communicated as light exists for the duration of the light (field), ‘the hologram itself is not an image and it is usually unintelligible when viewed under diffuse ambient light’. In the same way oral thoughts & ideas can be unintelligible when expressed in an alternative communication media; when written.

Light and sound have similar qualities for the observer. They are imaginary, immediate and transient. When the light stops what you could see disappears. When the sound stops what you could hear vanishes.

The image being depicted or captured by light or sound has limited or no physicality.

A hologram is a uniquely treated light field. An oral performance is a uniquely treated sound field.

© 2015 Pamela Neil all rights reserved. Unauthorised use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Pamela Neil with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.
  1. hologram – noun. Physics. A pattern produced by interference between light reflected (or diffracted or transmitted) by an object and other light with the same or a related phase; a photograph of such a pattern, which can be illuminated so as to produce a spatial image of the object used.
  2. holography – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Holography
  3. light – 1. b) an individual appearance of brightness as an object of perception. 1.c the quantity or quality of illumination in a place; a person’s fair or usual share of this
  4. white space – space that is empty; that on a page or in a document not covered by print or graphic matter; a space, that is empty of sound.
  5. three-dimensional – adjective. having or appearing to have length, breadth, and depth – perspective.
  6. intermediate – A. adjective. 1. Coming or occurring between two things in time, place, order, character, etc. LME. verb interns. E17. 1. Act as an intermediary, mediate. E17. 2. interfere. E17-18.
  7. diffraction – noun. the breaking up of a beam of light into a transverse series of dark and light bands of coloured spectra by the edge of an opaque body or narrow aperture; an analogous phenomenon with other waves; the spreading of waves of any kind by the edge of an obstacle.

    The impact objects have on light; the relationship light has with its surrounding. In sound, as distinct from light, this would be the relationship the audience or observer has with the thoughts and ideas being expressed or uttered and any interference in this relationship, i.e. what they (the audience/observer) hear.

    Interference pattern (distracts) – the way the sounded thoughts and ideas are understood to have been expressed – i.e. meaning. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Interference_(wave_propagation)

  8. sound – noun. 1. The sensation produced in the ear or other organ of hearing by the vibration of the surrounding air or other medium; that which is or may be heard; the phenomenon of vibration by which this is produced. Also, pressure waves outside the range of audible frequencies, as infrasound, ultrasound. ME. Physics. any of various kinds of wave motion predicated or observed to occur in superfluid helium and propagated in a way analogous to ordinary sound. M20. M. Tippett My sharpest sense is that of sound.
  9. performance installation – The term installation art is used to describe mixed-media constructions or assemblages usually designed for a specific place and for a temporary period of time – http://www.tate.org.uk/learn/online-resources/glossary/i/installation-art
  10. perspective – adjective. relating to sight; optical. L15-E17.
  11. perspectivism – (German: Perspektivismus) is the term coined by Friedrich Nietzsche in developing the philosophical view (touched upon as far back as Plato’s rendition of Protagoras) that all ideations take place from particular perspectives. This means that there are many possible conceptual schemes, or perspectives in which judgment of truth or value can be made. This is often taken to imply that no way of seeing the world can be taken as definitively “true”, but does not necessarily entail that all perspectives are equally valid. (Wikipedia)

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