Partyline Transforms Phone Calls into Sound Collages for Art Hack

Partyline, a new experiment which rooted from and the winner of  Art Hack Weekend SF, combines ambient noises and involuntary participation, transforms phones into sound collages. Consisting of two parts–Voyeur, which dials participants and records their inputs and a Sequencer, which is a responsive view into voices going on at the time.

Casey Rodarmor is self-described as just a guy, you know? Casey teamed up with Brandon Liu, Elle Sakamoto and Angelo Hizon to create Partyline. We caught up with Casey for the full scoop below.

Twilio: How did you get involved with Art Hack and then The Creators Project?

Casey Rodarmor: Elle told me about it, and I went on a whim. My friend Brandon, in a moment of weakness, thought it was a good idea, and came on board. At the end of the hackathon, somehow they confused us for legitimate art, and we got to install it at TCP SF :)

T: What was your inspiration for Party Line?

CR: I once wrote a program called assbot. It’s dark purpose can only be hinted at, but among other things it scraped craigslist for email addresses. After seeing a lot of ads with phone numbers, I had this vision of a program, churning away in the darkness, calling up unwitting humans and connecting them in conference calls.

T: How did you build it and what technologies did you use?

CR: From the top of the stack to the bottom:

three.js -> webgl -> javascript -> websockets -> apache -> python -> twilio, plus the usual goop that makes the world go round (unix, cron, regexes, terrible hacks, etc)

T: What’s next for Party Line?

CR: It is Dead with a capital D. (And “D.” also looks like an unhappy face that’s missing an eye, which is appropriate.) It’s a pile of hacks on top of more hacks. The design is *extremely* poorly thought out (all my fault), so if I wanted to extend it I would probably start by scrapping the whole thing. That being said, telephone calls are amazing ways to generate meaning, and I’d like to explore it more in the future. In particular, I’d like to work on creating interesting dialog between the participants.

Here’s a video of the team showing off the app, the thing to note is what you’re hearing – that is the sound collage of Partyline.

Art Hack Weekend SF is a collaboration between Gray Area Foundation For The Arts (GAFFTA) and The Creators Project. You can get all the details about Art Hack Weekend SF here: