push me pull you

10 Dec


Apologies to Ian Bogost if you’ve already proposed this as an alien phenomenology —

Assume that our sense of regular time is based on the “evenness” of our gait, but that our gait is not inherently even. It just sounds that way to us by default because we have nothing else to base it on. After all, we don’t base our intuition that a metronome count is regular on the passage of the sun, right?

Now consider the gait of a trotting horse. We hear it as staggered. But maybe the horse hears it as evenly spaced. So:

Take a film of a trotting horse (in the grand tradition of Muybridge) and stretch and contract it until the horse’s gait seems even to us.

Apply those changes — those pushes and pulls — to a piece of music or any audio recording that is familiar to us. (Technically one would invert the ratios, because the translation is going in the other direction).

Is this what the horse hears?


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