Online Work: "Bicycle Built For Two Thousand" by Aaron Koblin and Daniel Massey

Creative Work
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Description (in English): 

"Bicycle Built For Two Thousand" (2009) is an online work by Aaron Koblin and Daniel Massey.

The work is the product of 2000 people around the globe working together, although none of them knew about it.

The project includes 2,088 voice recordings collected through Amazon's Mechanical Turk web service.

Hired workers were prompted to listen to a short sound clip and then they had to record themselves imitating with their own voice what they heard. 

Put together, these thousands of samples recreate “Daisy Bell”, a popular song from late 1800s.

Why this song?

The song "Daisy Bell" originally written by Harry Dacre in 1892, was made famous in 1962 by John Kelly, Max Mathews, and Carol Lockbaum as the first example of musical speech synthesis.

In contrast to the 1962 version, "Bicycle Built For Two Thousand" was synthesized with a distributed system of human voices from all over the world.

The aim was to use countless human voices to create something digital.

How did it work? The workers involved completed their task in a web browser, through a custom audio recording tool created with Processing.

They were not given any information about the project.

The pay rate for each recording was $0.06 USD.

In total, people from 71 countries participated. The top ten were the United States, India, Canada, United Kingdom, Macedonia, Philippines, Germany, Romania, Italy, and Pakistan.



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Chiara Agostinelli