Project Proposal

Taking elements from my research in these blog posts (1 & 2), I have come to the conclusion that playing with the elements of natural vs man-made and the idea of these being put in places they arent from would be an interesting concept to explore.

When discussing and brainstorming my ideas with my group some ideas and examples were pitched. Ideas that were suggested included showing the physicality of sound, so working with waveforms and the differences that are found between them in environments by using spectrograms (like Bernie Krause explored in his TEDTalk) or even using elements like water or rice to highlight these.

 

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I like these ideas and think that they can be achievable and interesting to explore further. However, I think that I would like to use these ideas as inspiration and not something that I would be imitating.

These brainstorming ideas with my group coupled with my research have inspired me to create something regarding the themes of natural vs manmade. I believe these ideas that have been brought up in the group are achievable and will be interesting to further explore in practice. While being careful not to imitate these works and ideas, I plan to use these selected artists as a means of inspiration when thinking about my project for this subject.

So what are my ideas for this project?

My first ideas are spurred by Leah Barclay who I spoke about previously in my last blog post. Her project ‘Rainforest Listening‘ has inspired me to do something somewhat similar with the theme of natural vs manmade. In my first idea, I was thinking about playing with the idea of the sound being performed by working with two audio clips – urban sounds and natural sound – by either:

  • Placing them in some kind of hallway. On one end, the sound would be natural and the other manmade. And while these sounds play, the audience would move between them and work with the shift between the two.
  • Placing a phone or recording device in a natural space to pick up the ambient sounds. Showcasing this through a device and headphones that the audience has to pick up and put on to experience.
  • Using both sounds and spectrograms together to illustrate the differences in sounds that are heard through the headphones.
  • Projecting scenes of busy urban manmade structures on the walls, but also providing the natural sounds through a device that the audience can put on. The audience is submerged in the busy scenes while also listening to the calm, natural sounds.
  • Playing with the idea of sound becoming physical by taking advantage of the numerous items that can be manipulated by sound waves. This could be interesting and turn into a science like project which could be cool to document and experiment with.

My ideas are not limited to the ideas listed above, these are just a starting point. When brainstorming concepts with my group other themes and ideas to do with sound were talked about.  My group have some really fantastic ideas, which could mean that we could take all our intersecting themes, bring them together and create something exceptional. That’s if all members choose to of course. I guess time will tell.

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II. Students Maintaining Uni, Work and a Social Life – A Game in the Making

Our new game idea is a play on ‘Monopoly Deal‘ and will allow players to interact and be strategic more while playing the mechanics of the game. In our Game (which has yet to be named) you play as a student, and the game aims to keep their university, work and social life balanced throughout the game while completing classes to win. Our new game is in the form of a card game and does not have an accompanying board.

The card deck contains four different cards – action, relaxation, assessment and wildcards which will encourage players to play strategically and even haggle with each other. Encouraging this type of play and communication between players will allow for them to become more involved in the game and hopefully bring out the competitive side of some players.

The card deck is comprised of four different cards – Actions, Relaxation, Assessments and Wild Cards. Descriptions of each are below:

  • Relaxation cards work as denominations and they counteraact the stress brought on by the action cards. 
  • Assessment cards are subcategorised into subjects (eg. English) and there may be three assessment cards that need to be collected before you pass a subject 
  • Action Cards hold a variety of moves including stealing other peoples assessment cards, removing their stress and taking bonus cards from the deck
  • Other cards like wild cards, force-swap assessment cards and payment cards demanding relaxation points from other plays are also included

We have already played around with styles and have made prototypes for the cards. Examples of the designs are included below:

 

 

How to play:

BeginningThe introduction of characters and the setting. Exposition of rules and how the story will operate.

  • Players recommended: 2 – 6
  • Players are to shuffle the cards then deal five cards to each person. These cards are to face the player and are not to be shown to others.
  • The rest of the cards are to be placed in the center of the plaeyrs table face down to become the deck. 

 

MiddleBegins as soon as the game is set up and rules an mechanics are established. The actions in the game that we have created allow players to make interesting choices about what they want to do and express themselves in play. This pushes players to compete with each other throughout gameplay. 

Gameplay loop:

  • Each player takes their turn to put down cards from their hand in front of them.
  • Players have the choice to play a single card or mutliple cards but only one card from each category can be played per turn.
  • The aim is to balance the relaxation and assessment cards to cobmat the action cards that can be played 
  • Player strategically plays a card in front of them from a category. Players don’t have to play all three categories each loop.

 

End: Who wins, who loses? 

  • The game finishes when a player has successfully completed three ‘assessment’ card subjects by collecting three cards per subject.

 

Cost of production:

After researching the cost and production of this game we have found that some local shops like Officeworks prints card sized pictures for 10c each. So roughly for 52 cards in the deck, it should cost $5.20 to make and may have some kind of bulk producing discounts to add to the final price. Advertisements for the game would be primarily through social media would also cut the costs for distribution.

 

Target Audience and Distribution:

The Target Audience for this game is specifically for university students rather than just UOW students to sell to a broader audience. Distribution starts small and through online shops, yet advertised through Facebook and sights that students would regularly visit.

The Past, Present and Future of the IoT

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The Internet of Things (IoT) stands for the connection of usually trivial material objects to the internet which can include toothbrushes, toasters, thermostats, smart watches and fridges. These sociable objects are not simply there to record the expanding human subjectivity, but to become an active participant and mediator who co-constructs social environments. The introduction of these devices into our environments is more about the use of personal augmentation, meanings it’s less about the individual devices and more about the living services that people program and connect smart devices to, however, they feel.

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The representations and reality of these types of IoT technologies and their place in social and personal environments are what I am most interested in researching. These technologies ultimately modify the way in which we are connected in time and space through altering the mediums that which we engage with on the internet, other technologies and the people around us. We have seen the representations and ideas of these types of technologies communicated in the world of cinema, television and fiction in both utopian and dystopian viewpoints. These viewpoints would be interesting to look further into to see the way in which the future has been imagined in both the past and present.

 

Research Plan:

For this research project, I plan on looking into these topics and ideas:

  • The IoT and it’s place in social and personal environments.
  • Looking into the current technologies on the market that makes the IoT’s a reality.
  • The representations and ideas of these technologies through utopian and dystopian mediums like cinema, television and fiction. – Are we close to this viewpoint? How are these technologies being represented/sold by marketing to us now?
  • Privacy of the IoT and the way in which these sociable objects collect and store data and how it could potentially be used.
  • How are these IoT technologies being currently presented? are there fears, tensions or anxieties towards the technology and their capabilities?

I have previously dabbled in the subject of the IoT and have found that what I know about the topic is just the tip of the iceberg. Because of this, I am planning on building on my foundation of knowledge and delving more into the issues that I am interested in above. I will be doing this by finally reading the readings that were set on the topic from previous classes and finding academic and other sources that I can use to answer my questions. I have already found a number of references to use in the posts so far, including scholarly sources, some sources from news sites and podcasts discussing the issue.

 

DA Presentation:

I plan for my research project to come together on the WordPress platform in the form of a blog post series. I believe that blog posts would be the most useful and ideal medium for me to use for this assessment as it will allow me to express myself and the topics that I will be looking at in a way that I know will flow and make sense to a reader. The blog posts will try and answer the questions I have above while also including relevant materials like videos, podcasts, links etc.

My plan is to take the ideas and topics I have mentioned above and make them into their own posts as subtopics of my research topic on the internet of things. So, in the end, there will be multiple blog posts on my own blog that will be made for this research project which I hope will end up answering my own personal questions towards the internet of things and its place in our environments.

Working Proccesses

While researching the field of sound, I have come across a few of artists who have peaked my interest and had me thinking about my up and coming project for this semester.  Artists who work in the field of sound have come up with a variety of different ways to showcase their talents and allow what they hear – be it minuscule or outright loud – to be explored in a way that engages audiences and encourages sounds to be head in a different light.

While researching artists and their practices I came across Leah Barclay who is an Australian sound artist, composer and researcher. She specialises in electroacoustic music, acoustic ecology and emerging fields of biology exploring environmental patterns and changes through sound.

A project that caught my attention by Leah Barclay is ‘Rainforest Listening‘ which is an augmented reality project that layers rainforest soundscapes in urban environments to inspire ecological engagement. Listeners access the sounds through their mobile and sculpt their own experiences by triggering geolocated soundscapes as they walk. This type of work allows for the audience to engage with one of the most critical environments on earth – the Amazon Rainforest.

I love the idea of Leah Barclay’s work as it is something that I find interesting – the merging of natural and man-made locations. By making this work, Barclay has allowed the medium of sound to become something much more exciting and engaging while calling for questions to be made about natures role in our man-made, concrete jungle life.

Continuing this rabbit hole research, I also found Bernie Krause who did a TED Talk about the voices of the natural world. Bernie Krause breaks down the elements of soundscapes while also showing his research into changes environments go through when they are altered by humans.

Returning to researching the field of sound art, I have also found some interesting installations from artists who play with the perception of sound. Installation artist Vanta Lambrecht Ward and sound artist Rachel Ní Chuinn have collaborated to create a playful sound installation.

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SOURCE: http://www.rachelnichuinn.com/installation-gallery/

From the works of triggering geolocated soundscapes to art installations, both kinds of practices call for a unique audience experience.  The piece above works well to create an intimate space that holds soundscapes for audiences to listen to. The work approaches the idea of exploring perceptions while also working to alter the way that visual and audible waves resonate with the participant. The addition of ‘Head Spaces’ is quite a unique an interesting way to present this work and is somewhat inspiring me to think about the way in which sound can be presented to audiences.

These creative artists and artworks have opened up some avenues that my project can go down and explore. While being careful not to imitate these works, I plan to use these selected artists as a means of inspiration and a starting point when thinking about what I would like to create for this subject. The theme of nature/natural vs manmade is an interesting concept, one that has been done before but has plenty of avenues to explore. So with these creative artists and their artworks in mind, there are a few ideas of projects that I could create and concepts I could explore which I will delve into in the next blog post instalment.

I. Students Maintaining Uni, Work and a Social Life – A Game in the Making

The game that was prototyped in my group works with the concept of students struggling with balancing university, work and relationships while being a student at university or even school. This theme/idea is one that we have all experienced at some point being students and is something that we hope will make it relatable to future players.

Originally, our idea was to create a game called ‘Battle of the HECS‘ which borrowed elements from and was very similar to the game Game of Life‘. This game design was way too complicated for a very simple game with an almost dull game loop. Battle of the HECS didn’t allow for any kind of strategic thinking as the game loop was restrictive and to simple. So as feedback from our tutor wasn’t what we were expecting we all thought that we could make something that still plays on the themes we highlighted but in another form.

This is where our new idea comes in. Our new game idea is a play on ‘Monopoly Deal‘ and will allow players to interact and be strategic more while playing the mechanics of the game. In our Game (which has yet to be named) you play as a student, and the aim of the game is to keep their university, work and social life balanced throughout the game while completing classes to win. Our new game is in the form of a card game and does not have an accompanying board.

The card deck contains four different cards – action, relaxation, assessment and wildcards which will encourage players to play strategically and even haggle with each other. Encouraging this type of play and communication between players will allow for them to become more involved in the game and hopefully bring out the competitive side of some players.

Battle of the HECS

The group game that was prototyped in our tutorial worked with the concept of students struggling with balancing uni, work, life and relationships. Our prototyped game borrows elements from the game Game of Life‘ and has been created with UOW students in mind. We plan on making this a dark comedy type of game that will somewhat reflect the life of a university student with a lot of HECS debt (so basically everyone).

Our game starts off with the players picking a ‘Character Card‘ from the deck where there are quite a few characters to choose from. The character cards will hold those stereotypical uni students that you find at UOW or other universities, and they will have information on them based on the stereotypes. Each character will start off with their estimated amount of debt for their university course and a description of their persona.

Characters Cards:

  • Arts Student
  • Law Student
  • Buisness Student
  • Mature age student 
  • Exchange student 
  • Lives at home student (with parents)
  • Lives on Campus Student 
  • Hipster Student
  • Vegan Student

So each character will hold characteristics which are shaped by their stereotype, and this will shape the way that the game is played and develops over the course of the time played. For the players to move around the board, each person will need to pick up an ‘Action Card‘ card that will give them a rundown of their situation. This will affect the way that the character will move on the board – either forward ‘x’ spaces, back ‘x’ spaces, stay until ‘x’ amount of turns, add ‘x’ amount to your HECS debt or start again. By using action cards, we aim to remove the need for dice to be used in the game to move around the board.

Action Cards:

  • You received a High Destinction! – Move forward x spaces
  • Your car has broken down at UNI and you miss class. – Move back x spaces 
  • You need to buy a textbook for your class. – Add x amount to you HECS debt
  • A duck has stolen your lunch when you weren’t looking. – Move back x spaces
  • You have found a car parking space! – Move forward x spaces
  • You are lost in building 19. – Please start over again
  • Grab a coffee before the lecture. – Speed forward x spaces
  • Subway is out of bread again and you go hungry. – Skip your turn
  • Your degree is no longer valid. – Pick up another ‘Character Card’ and start again
  • Centerlink has stopped making payment to your account. – Go back x spaces 
  • You have just lost your job and can’t make rent. Move back in with your parents. – Please Move back x spaces.
  • The ducks have chased you to the Duck Pond and you have fallen in. – Move back x spaces

The aim is for players to play as their character and be resilient when the typical university experiences happen to them. There is only one winner which is determined by who makes it to the end of the game with the least amount of HECS debt to their name. Battle of the HECS can be played by up to 2 – 8 players at one time. The game will be created to be focused towards university students, but particularly current students at the University of Wollongong.

Field Opportunities

Opportunity – A occasion or situation that makes it possible to do something that you want to do or have to do or the possibility of doing something. 

 

There are a number of opportunities for people who are interested in pursuing the art of a sound/audio engineer. Someone who wants to work in the audio production industry has the chance to work in a highly technical or unusual industry. From film scores to virtual reality, sound production careers cross a wide variety of areas in the industry that rests at the heart of art, audience and it’s ever-changing technologies.

Audio Engineer – Audio Engineers make sure that recordings are created in the right fashion with the correct equipment. Designing recording rooms or large facilities and mapping out the workflow are also jobs within this career opportunity.

Virtual Reality Audio Producer – Audio Design is critical to creating an immersive virtual world. VR audio producers will have the skills to use ambisonic microphones, directional microphones and other specialised equipment to create a sense engaging virtual world.

Film Recordist – Learning the work of audio production can lead to a career on film sets. From recording vocals and background noises, film recordists focus on the synchronisation with the camera to enable the highest quality engaging sounds to use with the medium of film.

Sound System Designer – There are opportunities to catch a unique role in this specialisation, especially in large shows and festivals. Sound System designers work closely with venues to provide audio support for live acts, reinforcing spoken words and making systems clear. Designers work to balance tone changes, dynamic manipulation and frequent shifting to deliver the best live experience possible for an audience.

A lot of these opportunities are available to those who work towards these career paths by going to university or having the knowledge and hands-on experience in the field. Sound engineering is a unique craft that can offer the opportunity for individuals pursuing the career to work in a number of work environments and be creative with their art.

How can you make your opportunities? I guess the right way to start is to immerse yourself in work relating to the field and gain as much knowledge as you can. Workplaces want someone who is capable of not only doing the job but also thinking outside the box. By experimenting with your field beforehand, you’ll figure out what works for you, your style and capabilities. Get creative, try new things and you might just impress your future boss and snag yourself a place in an extraordinary workplace.

“CHIN MUSIC”

20180302_133451Chin Music is a short and fast memory game that tests first of all your memory (Duh!) but also your ability to bluff and improvise your way through a game. The game “Chin Music” was created by Talen Lee who is a part of the Invincible Ink community where individuals work to design both analog and digital games.

The game is a play on those classic memory games that you would play as a kid and calls for players to memorise the deck of cards being placed in front of them by other players while putting their own down and reading out loud the order that they were placed.

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This may seem like all fun and games. However, the phrases on the cards make it somewhat difficult to remember and read out loud due to their tongue-twisting nature.

These tongue-twisting phrases “Biff, Bash, Boffo, Whallop Whack and What For!” or ‘Olde-Timey Fightey Sound Effectse’ as Talen Lee calls them are a funky and quirky feature of the game and definitely make it challenging and entertaining (seriously, try and say them ten times really fast).

The rules are quite simple to follow in this game and the rulebook can be found at this URL or on the QR Code on the box.

Play a card face up on top of the stack, if you can.

Recite aloud, starting with the bottom card, all the cards in the stack, including the card you addedd to it.

If another player thinks you made a mistake, they can call you out.

If a player makes a mistake, the round ends and you start again. But the player who lost must pick up the deck of cards in the middle.

If your memory fails you it is the perfect opportunity to test out your poker face by bluffing and improvising your way through your turn. This is definitely a loophole that the game allows for players to experience and I  think it definitely adds another layer of interest to the game. Where not only do you have to memorise each card placed on the deck, but also be extra careful and listen to the other players as they play. The game ends when a player has zero cards, where the player (hypothetically) goes outside and shows the gathering ruffians What for! by plowing into the crowds outside with your knuckles out and your braggadocio ready to go!

Chin Music by Talen Lee is definitely a unique and quirky game that will test your memory. The game is quick and very easy to get the hang of with its well-designed rules and playing cards.

Field Research

Sound Art – Art which uses sound as both its medium (what it is made out of) and subject (what it is about).

 

Sound art has undergone a transformation since the introduction of digital technology, and one theme that unites the contemporary understanding of field recording is listening and how listening can be successfully transmitted. Doing some research into the practice of recording sound, specifically field recording and sounds in digital and analogue art forms many artists and individuals appear. Everyone in this art form has different takes of the artistic practice of sound which is definitely seen through their work.

The artist Ludwig Koch’s body of work ‘Common Sharma’ where the work was the first documented human recording, This lead to his body of work concerning sonic recordings of  ‘place’ becoming formally known as field recording.

The Museum of Contemporary Arts of Australia has an exhibit featuring artists who have explored the medium of sound through art practices like multi-media art, sculpture, experimental and new music, performance, sound poetry and sound design. These artworks work to challenge the audiences preconceived notions of what sound actually.

“Current practitioners concern themselves with the subjective position of the listener. What started as an interest in representing the exotic has matured into an art practice that concerns itself with the phenomena of listening.”

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A few artists that interested me instantly with their sound artwork installations and projects included Densil Cabrera and Robert Britton with ‘Pipes and Bells’ and Nigel Helyer with ‘Oracle’.

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Densil Cabrera and Robert Britton’s work ‘Pipes and Bells’ is an electroacoustic sound installation where pipes were used as resonators for low-frequency loudspeakers. Pre-recorded sounds were fed into the pipes and steel sheets as they hung from the ceiling and created a sound consisting of extremely deep bass to create a deep but quiet presence.

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Nigel Helyer works with multi channelled audio and video components, timber, audiovisual electronics, low-frequency audio drives to create a dynamic experience for the audience. This idea is quite intriguing and is something that would be interesting to look further into.

Overall I think that exploring the artistic practice medium of sound would be intriguing, and would allow me to explore something that I haven’t necessarily explored in depth before. Researching artists and individuals related to the practice have made me excited to play around with the medium and its structure and traditions.

Practice

Practice – “The actual application or use of an idea, belief or method as opposed to theories relating to it” or “The repeated exercise in or performance of an activity or skill to acquire or maintain proficiency in it”.

 

In MEDA301 this semester, I believe that both of these definitions will fittingly apply. The first seminar this week was an example of the first definition that I have listed of the word practice. In groups, we had to come up with a project that had to relate to Anthropocene and focus on one artistic practice, either video, sound, light, photographs or the internet and digital archive.

Each of these artistic practice mediums have traditions in their context and meaning, as well as a set structure to how the mediums are represented and what languages are used. In this exercise, we tested the concept of ideas becoming a reality and finding where the parameters exist in each artistic practice. I found that discussions and practice are essential in creating and should be sought out for as there are more learning opportunities and ideas in the act of practising rather than theorising. One could say that the goal for the course is to bring together the methods of theory and practice through experience.

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Figuring out your practice mindmap 

I have difficulty seeing myself at the end of this degree and in a particular field. What I mean by this is that I’m still not very sure where this is going to take me, all I know is that I’m having fun and doing really well on this journey. So the question “Do you see yourself or your learning situation in an existing field” is a big one.

I have always had an interest in photography, and have dabbled in other artistic mediums like video and sound and have found that I enjoy them all. I have also ventured into the arena of blogging and reviewing due to the communication and media aspect of my degree (thank you DA’s!).

Because of this, I have had the opportunity to start and maintain projects over the course of my degree and become familiar with the mediums of blogging, social media, photography and video. I found that important skills that I have needed to have or have gained from these experiences include the ability to think creatively, be able to experiment with mediums and different materials, have the enthusiasm to learn new skills and have the resilience to keep trying (FEFO anyone??).

In order to figure out the practice that I want to pursue in MEDA301, I will need to narrow down my ideas into a single artistic practice. Whilst the workshop helped me somewhat brainstorm and bring together my thoughts, interests and skills I’m still left a bit confused wondering what exactly my practice is. However, I would like to work with and further research the medium of soundscapes. I’m hoping to create experiences through the medium of sound and experiment with it further.