Week 1

Intro to Storytelling / Sound and Space : Listening and Recording

#Hypercinema #Sound_Art

Pauline Oliveros TED Talk

To hear is the physical means that enables perception, to listen is to give attention to what is perceived both acoustically and psychologically.

The level of awareness of soundscape brought about by deep listening can lead to the possibility of shaping the chaotic sounds of Technology and of urban environments and machinery. Deep listening designers, engineers and city planners could enhance the quality of life along with artists, sound artists, composers, musicians and all people who care about sound.

Sound Design: Haley Shaw

Approach to new projects

Start with the big picture, create a macro concept for overall tone, then inform decision-making from macro to micro, adapt and refine ideas along the way. Haley proposes 3 questions to address at the beginning of a project:

  1. What is the sonic identity of the project? Who is it? What is its overall character? Is it earnest? Adorable? Nightmarish? Contemporary? Heavy? Is it listener-friendly, or is it trying to catch the audience off guard? If it is branded content, what is the brand?
  2. How should the intended audience feel about the project as a whole (not from moment to moment)? Who is the intended audience? How do they feel coming away from the project? How would they describe the tone of the project to someone else? How does the project sit with them?
  3. What is the intended effect of my music and sound design within the project? Subtle and nuanced addition to the narrative? Splashy showstopper? Billboarding or propping up the form of the piece? Invisible smoothing and cleanup work? What is the point of my work?


Tropes, while straightforward, can come across as emotionally manipulative to audiences. So to acknowledge the trope but avoid using it directly, there are two strategies:

  1. Go "left of center" by using fringe ideas related to the trope.
  2. Utilize the trope but make it unusual by altering its context, applying unconventional effects, or adjusting its length.


Techniques for World Building: Stacking Many Sounds, Putting a Bunch of Effects on Them, Moving Them Around the Stereo Field, Signposting (using specific sounds strategically to provide context)

Techniques for Realistic Sound Design: Background, Middle Distance, Close or Scene-Specific, Energy (refers to non-identifiable elements added to enhance and control the overall feel)

Assignment 1 : Sound Vacation

In teams, collect sounds for a sound vacation. This could be informational, fictional, sensual, spoken-word, musical. It could be about infrastructure, architecture, people, or something completely different.  Be specific, and transport us to another location through a 1-2 minute journey crafted through sound. No longer than 2 minutes please!

Team: Ellen, Diana, Shun

I proposed an experimental electronic music experience that delves into cyborg bodies, creating a fusion of human elements such as heartbeat and breath with the mechanical symphony of whirring and beeping machinery.

Following team discussions, we believe that Diana's rooftop sound vacation concept holds greater storytelling potential. Moreover, it enables us to record sounds in diverse environments, offering more practice in sound processing techniques.

During the recording testing, I attempted to access the roof of 370 Jay but ended up in an equipment room with air conditioners, making it impossible to capture external sounds.

I moved to the 13th floor balcony instead and recorded siren, car, construction, and children's play sounds.

Click here to listen.