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This version was saved 12 years, 7 months ago View current version     Page history
Saved by PBworks
on April 19, 2008 at 9:10:42 pm

Ian McCall




An audio/video piece about memory, nostalgia and modem handshakes.


I would like YOU to record two vocal imitations of the sounds made by dialup modems during the 'handshake' between the users computer and the ISP's server.  The first recording should be done cold, from memory, while the second will be made with the you listening to the recording and mimicing what you hear. I only need the two different versions from each person, but if you do different takes please send all of them, the more the better! Lo-Fi is okay, using your computer's built-in mic is fine!

This project is about your subjective perception and memory; there is no right or wrong way to do it.


Play this recording on headphones while making your 'listening' recording:

powered by ODEO


Direct link to Dialup Sample.mp3 (if flash player does not load correctly

In accordance with the CC attribution condition this sample is authored by 'Jlew' and hosted at:




To Record:

Download Audacity http://audacity.sourceforge.net/ a good, free audio editor, or use an audio program of your choice.

Record yourself, save the files as WAVs mp3s or AIFFs and then email the files to metaphorever@gmail.com


Name your files "Name-Memory" and "Name-Listen"



Here are some of the recordings made by others, please record your own before listening so that your recollection is not colored by what you hear others doing.


If you have trouble loading or using the flash player, or if you would like to see all of the recordings that have been made you can view the mp3 files directly at:





I have been listening to the recordings I have collected so far and I am amazed at how beautifully musical some of them are, I am definitely going to take these samples into garageband or some other sample based composition program and see what kind of music it can make.


I am interested in the sounds, but not in terms of machine language. Rather I am interested in the way people perceive>remember>reproduce these sounds which are so removed from our natural range of sound reproduction. I want to record interviews with various people recreating the handshake. Relating to semantics, again I am interested in the call/response relationship of the sounds, but not in terms of machines. I would be very interested in having two people performing the handshake together trying to recreate the call/response system of the host/client. I am unsure about whether I want to keep the piece strictly audio or have video elements (showing the participants faces, people shaking hands) and whether I should keep it just the handshake noises or incorporate other interview elements like asking people to talk about their first internet experiences and other internet nostalgia things.



















The audio from this piece will be played through modem speakers for maximum authenticity. I was lucky enough to find out about a going-out-of-business sale at Globaleyes, the DSL ISP in Murphysboro. I aquired a box of 25 33.6k modems.



The speaker is fairly easy to get hooked up  to an external line in. The main challenges will be amplification and trying to get the LEDs  which are integrated onto the board to light up. My dream is to feed all the audio through the  RJ45, but that may take experimentation beyond the time remaining, so  my goal now is to focus on getting a clean looking audio line in and hopefully getting an amplification circuit (either battery powered or powered from the 9v AC adaptor for the modem)


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