Consider the following list of spoken words. Where does that voice come from? Could you locate it within a virtual 3D* space surrounding your own body?
[*Please note: use your usual ear/headphones in order to access 3D sound. Not intended for loudspeakers. Set a mid volume, never too loud. And set the video quality to HD-1080p.]
Monday or Tuesday | example | 105
Once we start listening to words-in-space, we might also start listening to speech as a sort of ‘music’, exposing our attention to a waterfall of timings and rhythms that, actually, had always been there…
Now consider the following “word-shower”, a string of word-lists. Pay close attention to things like the time distance between consecutive words within a list, the changing rhythms and slight overlap produced by different speeds and speech timings.
You can either open or close your eyes:
Monday or Tuesday | example | 116_107
Throughout the word-shower above, it is possible to feel a certain relaxation ‘curve’ as the so-called “cognitive load” decreases. The cognitive load could be defined as the amount of mental effort we need in order to process (understand, digest, even enjoy) the total audio/visual/verbal information received within a specific time length. In this example, the ratio between the amount of words and the length of a given time unit (list) would provide an acceptable measure of “cognitive load” in a very basic way.
From the centre of the word-shower onwards, you will probably start perceiving the meaning of individual, somewhat disconnected words while the sense of different word streams (set of lists) lingers. On the very last list, the distance between words is such that you have a lot of ‘spare time’ to fill in between. That could provoke different kinds of on-the-fly perceptions: thoughts, short memories or… perhaps a sense of emptiness, nothing at all.
meaning, density & cognitive load
Monday or Tuesday | example | 102_602
We could even move further, to a somewhat ‘advanced level’. Let’s call it the “super-fluent” state. By progressively increasing word density and text complexity in parallel, we can boost training quality both in listening and reading. The top state would be pointing towards the art of memory, the type of artistic skill required for professionals such as play actors.
Monday or Tuesday | example | 116_616
Speakers, listeners, readers, language learners, academics, lecturers, creative readers, actors, all of them according to specific needs, are equally suitable for ‘growing’ whichever texts –in space and time– out of single word-lists spreading out across a virtual 3D audio/visual space.
This sort of walk-through, peppered with some 3D-audio and multiscreen visuals, was intended to draw your attention to spoken words as powerful sound objects in the real world with significant cognitive implications (attention, perception, memory, aesthetics). Some of these ideas are currently being turned into highly innovative tools for e-learning and aesthetic enjoyment: Augmented Reality applied to arts and education content...
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