Soft Clouding: Curating a New Semantics of Sound Archiving


Session Title:

  • Museums, Archiving, and Interactivity

Presentation Title:

  • Soft Clouding: Curating a New Semantics of Sound Archiving




  • Soft clouding is a blended concept which describes the aim of a collaborative and transdisciplinary project. The concept is a metaphor implying a blend of cognitive, embodied interaction and semantic web. Furthermore, it is a metaphor describing our attempt of curating a new semantics of sound archiving.

    The Soft clouding Project is part of LARM – a major infrastructure combining research in and access to sound and radio archives in Denmark. In 2012 the LARM infrastructure will consist of more than 1 million hours of radio, combined with metadata who describes the content. The idea is to analyse the concept of ‘infrastructure’ and ‘interface’ on a creative play with the fundamentals of LARM (and any sound archive situation combining many kinds and layers of data and sources).

    This paper will present and discuss the Soft clouding project from the perspective of the three practices and competencies brought together in one transdisciplinary process of curating a semantics of sound: Technological, Humanistic /Curatorial, and Design / Action-based practice.

    Everything is tagged…

    One of the main obstacles of creating an interface for an infrastructure, which contains a combination of many already rather large archives, is the amount of information involved; the way it is structured and described – on all kinds of levels.

    In this regard, it is very near – but not similar – to the concept of ‘cloud computing’.  (Leadbeater, 2010)

    Cloud computing is a concept for next generation internet where data is organized in a different manner, than is the case in the current www setup. The speed and growth of the Internet means we are drifting away from taxonomy and the search-oriented architecture gives us new possibilities in crowd sourcing and collaboration. The innovative idea of Cloud computing is that everything on the future www is ‘miscellaneous’, yet traceable in tagged contexts (Weiser, 2008).

    Emergent technologies like Echonest and others, gives us a opportunity to ‘trace’ sequence and identify ‘hidden’ content in large amount of sound data. On the other hand, some of the mechanisms of emergence are organizational and collaborative, rather than purely technical. (McAfee, 2009)

    The next most likely stage of the web’s technical development – cloud computing – will act as a giant accelerator for cultural cloud formation. It will be like a giant machine for making clouds of culture. (Leadbeater, 201 [text truncated]

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