Ad-versarial audio

experiment⁄Ad-versarial audio

Ad-versarial audio


In the world of online advertising - which is to say, primarily on or via YouTube - Machine Listening has a definite soundtrack. It sounds like bright major pianochords and circling arpeggios. It sounds like a cheeky bassline and groovy drums. It sounds like synthetic xylophones, chimes and glockenspiels. It sounds like an ad for Oxfam, or for Big Tech itself. It sounds American and extremely white. It sounds like a fingerpicked acoustic guitar. It sounds like people talking through bleached teeth. It sounds like dogs barking, glass shattering, and synthetic speech, always feminised.

www⁄Listen for yourself

This sonic identity does important political work. It lubricates and normalises. It makes machine listening sound like www⁄a tap or www⁄a toothbrush, just another expression of capital, and so maybe, in a certain way, inevitable.

This experiment invites participants to play with machine listening’s corporate identity - to work with and against what Michel Chion refers to as the ‘audio-visual contract’ - and produce a collection of ad-versarials: re-soundtracked advertisements for machine listening that we will collect online.