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Video and Sound · Week 1

The Danger of a Single Story

“Single story creates stereotypes. Not that they are untrue, but they are incomplete.”

— Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Watching Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s TEDX talk on The Danger of a Single Story, I was truly engaged by her vivid and energetic way of storytelling. She shared her personal experiences to emphasize how stereotypes and prejudice usually cause people to make different judgements based on their limited understanding of the thing, topic, or issue. However, people come from different places and grew up being exposed to different things, and all of these differences cause our “perceived images” anyone or any place’s story to be different.

At the beginning of the talk, Chimamanda questioned about what is “being authentic” and what truly represents a person or place’s “authenticity”. As stated, what you considered as true or the reality might not be to another person from a different place or background, and it is easy to form judgements through only getting a grasp of the stereotypical associations. I definitely agree with her point and believe that it is important to try to view things as holistically as possible and think from various points of view before making any comments or decisions. Connecting her point to my personal interests in the past as a designer, one thing I constantly keep in mind is to try to see things from various perspectives and notice the overlooked and mundane in everyday life instead of falling into the stereotypes. Throughout my design process, I am passionate about pushing boundaries and discovering the intersections between little things, which I feel also connects to the main idea that Chimamanda tried to get across to the audiences. Thus, being a writer, artist, designer, or no matter what other roles you consider yourself as, rejecting a “single story” is the key as this single story unconsciously makes people think that this one story is the only story, which is definitely untrue.

A History of Sound Art

After listening to The History of Sound Art’s accompanying audio track, I would like to specifically share my thoughts on the part roughly from 06:40-08:00 (Vess L. Ossman Dixie Medly, Leon Theremin Grechaninov Step, Futurist Noise Instruments (Italy), and Marinetti la battaglia di Adrianopoli-1926 (recorded 1935)).

First of all, the Vess L. Ossman Dixie Medly comes in with a fairly lively tempos, which creates a warm and energetic feel. Not long after, the Leon Theremin Grechaninov Step and the Futurist Noise Instruments enter, somewhat overlaying and then suddenly transitioning into a much slower pace. Creating a calmer feel and strong contrast from the prior track, this part really stood out to me as the mood of these later sound tracks instantly gave me a classy and elegant feel. The Marinetti la battaglia di Adrianopoli track also added on to this feeling after it entering and adding an additional layer to the audio.

I find this interesting as these later tracks are supposed to represent or give the feeling of “futuristic”. But instead, I feel that they somewhat took me back into time instead of exposing me to the future. I think one main reason is due to the fact that the idea of “future” is most likely very different in these people’s minds few hundreds of years ago as compared to now. Parts of their future is also already history to us, and thus causing me to feel more of a classy and elegant mood from these tracks. Also, another reason is that the transition from a lively tempo into a much slower paced instrumentational based audio usually slows people down instead of giving people the feeling of being exposed to anything new or exciting. And thus overall, I definitely think that listening to these audio tracts in different contexts, times, and with different backgrounds, the interpretation of sounds can become very different as well.

Short Sound Collage

For this first assignment, I crafted a sound collage of a person walking up to and opening his door, standing there enjoying the outside breeze with birds chipping and a bicyclist riding by ringing his bell.

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