Composition for Anxiety

Composition for Anxiety is an abstraction of a soundscape from my apartment while working from home. Over the summer I noticed that the sounds of grinding mortar from a restoration project across the street immediately put my body into a state of anxious panic. I could not concentrate, and I could not escape the noise. After recording this sound and I pulled the frequency data into Max in order to program an abstracted randomized composition. Was it the sound in the context of the sound object and working from home that piqued my anxiety, or was this particular set of frequencies causing me distress?

The frequencies are arranged in six sets to play across six channels at varying speeds and settings. The accompanying graphic notation both visualizes the spectral frequency of the composition and provides an additional source for anxiety: the stories headlining the news. The notation is a large newsprint scroll on which headlines, stories, and images from the New York Times is collaged.