PB2 Screening

I love the concept of a class screening. It motivates us to up our game. More importantly, it allows space to give and take inspiration from fellow peers.

Ceyda used a helium balloon as a motif in her film. I think this symbol, a floating object that is forcefully tied down and deliberately set-up in various frames, successfully portrays a sense of yearning and melancholia. At the same time, the balloon also expresses a contrasting child-like playfulness, a trait it is usually associated with. This multi-faceted symbol helps to create a more dynamic tone and its repetition creates a sense of unity.

Tasha’s bold personality shines through her portrait. She is not afraid to use her own voice and lyrics. I feel her genuine sincerity and the work carries an interesting vintage style. 

The screening raises the stakes to produce more creative and engaging content. I look forward to the next presentation!

Intimate Sound

This week’s reading about  “‘Perspective’ in Speech, music, sound” explains the importance of creating sonic “layers” to enrich our listening experience. By choosing between lo-fi or hi-fi sounds and adjusting their amplification, the artiste is able to mix multiple sounds together and direct their order of importance: figure, ground or field.

I remember, my acting teacher had said that our sense of smell is the most powerful tool for actors to drop into character. From the audience’s perspective though, we hardly engage our nasal glands. In a conventional theatre/cinema setting, I think the viewer’s sense of hearing becomes the most powerful tool to empathise with characters in the story, especially having watched The Illustrated Auschwitz (Jackie Farkas,1992) during our Cinema Screening (Contextual Strand).

The Illustrated Auschwitz utilises an audio recount of a survivor from the infamous concentration camp, accompanied by visuals of objects and snippets from Wizard of Oz. Even though we never see the protagonist’s facial expression and body language, her speaking voice is enough to paint a colourful picture of her experiences, successfully evoking sympathy from the audience.

There is also an intimacy and connection viewers have with the character. Jackie Farkas and Liam Egan achieve this by amplifying her soft and hoarse speaking voice to close the social distance between speaker and listener. We are drawn to feel as though we are in an enclosed space where she is physically within our grasp, vulnerable and generously sharing her story.

This technique is effective in drawing listeners in. I hope to incorporate this in PB3. Similar to The Illustrated Auschwitz, the project is a recount of someone’s experience.


Rachel shared a short documentary with us titled, “The Beat I Was Born Without” by JC Leger.

It is interesting to learn how deaf people perceive sounds through feeling vibrations and understanding them through other senses. Sencity the “deaf rave” introduced in the documentary, allows participants to smell, see and feel sounds using aromatherapy, digital panels and vibrating dance floors. In this way, participants are constantly engaging all senses and associating scents, colours, movements and vibrations with each other. It is as though they are practising Synesthesia.

Synesthesia literally means joined perception“. It is an umbrella term that includes a myriad of neurological conditions which allow a multi-sensory experience. For example, one with Chromesthesia can see sounds while one with Grapheme-Colour Synethesia literally see specific colours associated with each number and alphabet, etc. Statistically, people with such abilities tend to have average and above average intelligence.

This makes it amusing how some hearing people may think the deaf stupid or disabled when in fact, the latter group would comparably engage more parts of the brain to understand sounds. It also makes me feel guilty because I used to see the deaf as “handicapped”. Their inability to hear has given them the ability to associate sounds with other senses. Even though a deaf person may not be clinically diagnosed with Synesthesia, it is no doubt that they perceive and associate with sounds much differently from an average hearing person.

I am thankful to Rachel for inspiring me to explore how films can visually (no 4D theatres, please) ignite and engage the audience’s bodily senses. Researchers and scientists have also identified other senses excluding our primary five! What a vast world of possibilities we live in!

How Fashionable is your Media?

The trillion-dollar fashion industry is about following trends, setting trends and predicting trends. And what faster way to do all those things than through the media! Hashtag the hashtag.

Watching “The Future of Fashion” series hosted by model/entrepreneur Alexa Chung and produced by British Vogue, I realise that the word “industry” can be misleading. I’m not sure why, but I used to see it as a sole, independent corporation that does not overlap with or depend on, other industries. Now, I know that such an idea does not make sense. Each industry is actually made up of other industries. For example, under the fashion, there are sectors in business, design, entertainment, health, law, etc.

So where does media come in?

Well media comes from the latin words “membrana” and “medium”. The former means “membrane”, “vessel”, or “middle layer” while the latter means “in the middle”. Both give a connotation of a process and path to bring two or more items together. So media is our middleman, connecting all the industries together.

The MICA bracelet would not be on the market without emails and calls between Intel and Opening Ceremony. Fashion shows would not have attendants without advertisements. Brooke Wall would not have started her successful businesses, had she not predicted how social networks would bring fame to make up artists and others behind the scenes. Through the utility and understanding of media, Brooke has popularised occupations that were once under represented.

The media a a global environment and immersive network that opens our eyes to the unseen, bringing up new trends each day.

Traffic in a Media Classroom and Refreshed Directions

When Brian asked who David Gauntlett‘s book’s target audience is, media students or practitioners, I thought it was a trick question.

At that point in time, the answer seemed blatantly obvious. Gauntlett is a professor in the faculty of media at the University of Westminster (UK). His book in question is titled, “Making Media Studies”. So it was apparent that the answer is “media students”.

However, by the end of our workshop, my opinion has changed. Media is an ever-evolving landscape so practitioners are always learning, just like students. Gauntlett emphasises that to understand media, we need to actively participate and make things; “it’s about learning with media, rather than learning about media“. Hence, in this way, media students are also practioners!

So it’s still a trick question. But I’m not as quick to reply now. It’s an open-ended answer albeit a simple one.

This notion of active participation in media studies makes me think about “traffic” in the classroom. The classroom no longer represents a physical, passive setting where students absorb all information that a teacher gives. Instead, the classroom now represents an organisation.

To have a successful class, communication between teachers and students must be a two-way street. The student body and teaching staff depend on each other like how different sectors in a company/organisation do. We bounce off questions and ideas from each other. This way, both student body and teaching staff are learning, even expanding and exploring ideas beyond the physical boundaries of a room.

Therefore, to take full advantage of a learning session, students should be happy about exchanging thoughts and feelings while teachers ensure a safe and guided environment free of judgement. A class is a time for open conversations and guided experiments.

With this new-found meaning about the students’ role, I am more motivated to fearlessly share and receive ideas, and am very excited to experience how our classes and processes will continue to evolve.

What Gauntlett wrote, “our aims are primarily transformational has also reminded me and further inspired me about why I am learning media. He explains that we create media to better lives. He was also posed a question, “what kinds of knowledge do we need now?” To which, in ascending order of importance, he gave three points:
→ How things work (technical and economic knowledge)
→ How things feel and fit (emotional and embodied knowledge)
→ How to make a difference (creative and political knowledge)

I do not understand the second point well. I assume “how things feel and fit” refers to ethical responsibility that creators should hold; that we should be aware of how our products can be received/perceived the audience.

The last point sent me thinking: What do I want to do to make our world a positive place? How can I use media to achieve them? It may sound corny and dramatic but I do want to live a purposeful life. I want to study media because advance technology allows us to affect more people in a shorter time. So to affect others positively, media will be an efficient method.

To make a difference, we would require knowledge – and that’s why I am where I am in this moment.

Even though Gauntlett said that his three points are in order, I see it as a cycle. Like he has mentioned, all three points affect each other. Reading his blog has given me renewed energy to continue this path and be open to knowledge and possibilities.