Tagged: Readings

Readings: Sound Design

Alten, S 1994, Sound design, Audio in media, pp5-11, Belmont: Wadsworth

– Mainly useful for understanding the different elements of sound and how to achieve the desired effect you wish to communicate. 

In sound, the emotion communicates the idea, which is more direct and therefore more powerful. All sound possesses a quality which communicates a specific emotion or idea to the listener.

Sound crew select and operate microphones, operate the production consol, production recording, producing and recording sound effects, producing music, recording and re-recording dialogue, editing, and mixing.


Microphones can affect the tonal quality of a sound source.

If a mic is situated close to people speaking it can create an intimate, warm sound. Father away could create a sense of distance and, perhaps, coolness.



-highness or lowness of a sound

– high pitched sound often suggests something delicate, bright, or elevated.

– low pitched sound may indicate something sinister, strong, or peaceful.


Loudness or softness.

Loudness- closeness, strength, importance.

Softness- distance, weakness, tranquility


the charactersitic tonal quality of a sound.

Identifies sound source- reedy, brassy, tympanic

Identified sonic qualities – rich, this, edgy, metallic.


The speed of a sound – fast tempos can agitate, excite or accelerate; slow tempos may suggest monotony, dignity, or control.


sonic time pattern – can be simple, constant, complex, or changing.

simple rhythm can convey deliberateness, regularity, or a lack of complication.

Constant can convey dullness, depression, or uniformity.


the way sound begins – hard, soft, crips, or gradual.


How long a song lasts


how fast a sound fades from a certain loudness.


Sound design represents the overall artistic styling of the sonic fabric in an audio production.” pp5

“If you are not listening, sound remains part of the environment; it does not become part of your consciousness.” pp7

“The more significant elements common to all sounds include pitch, volume, timbre, tempo, rhythm, duration, attack, and decay.” pp10

Readings: The Lens of Fear

Altheide, D 2002, ‘The Lens of Fear’, in Creating Fear: News and the Construction of Crisis’, Aldine De Gruyter, New York, pp. 175-198

Altheide argues the pervasive nature of Fear through Media in modern day society. Using an analogy of the Lighthouse which once gave sailors exactly as much information as they needed for safety, in the modern era we have so much access to information that we are ‘blinded’ by it so as not to be able to recognise what is actually required for us to conduct our individual lives in a reasonable manner.

Altheide explores Danger, Risk and Fear. Danger is a qualitative element – it is or it isn’t dangerous. Risk is a quantitative element – How dangerous is it? Both Danger and Risk are elements of general interest

Fear is an orientation to the world.  It is atmosphere and emotion. Fear is a private interest which is cultivated by mass media.

Fear’s evolution from Religion offering salvation, to governments offering security. There has also been the increase in information communicated which has coincided with the reduction in real threats.


“…the focus of media attention has taken a toll on our ability to see our way clearly.” pp 175

Fear is an orientation to the world. God and organized religion provided salvation from fear in a sacred society. The state and formal social control promise salvation from fear in our secular society.” pp 176

“…popular culture has been the key element in promoting the discourse of fear.” pp 177

“However, it is not just “fear of crime” or a particular thing, but rather a sense or an identity that we are all actual or potential victims held in common by many people.”

“… identity, social context, perceptions, and social definitions are very relevant for how safe people feel.” (Farral et al. 2000; Ven der Wurff, Van Stallduinen, and Stringer 1989)

“… the techniques and exclusions by which which those objects are constituted a danger persists.” (Campbell 1998,13)

“It is the fear of the “other” that we anticipate; we see numerous reports about very atypical occurrences, but we see them night after night.” pp178

“Cultural and political contexts contributed to the emergence of fear as a perspective that pervades everyday life. A massive expansion of electronic media outlets overlapped historically with unprecendented consumer growth and Gross National Product, te decline of “real” international threats, and conservative political agendas that used crime and especially drug-related issues to gain political legitimacy.” pp179

“…as audiences were transformed into markets. Involvement in the public realm increasingly shifted to mass-mediated information emphasizing fear and crises.” pp179

“… In this way, the state project of security replicates the church project of salvation. The state grounds it legitimacy by offering salvation to its followers who, it says, would otherwise be destined to an unredeemed death.” (Campbell 1998, 50)

“There can be no fear without actual victims or potential victims. In the post-modern age, victim is a status and represntation and not merely a person or someone who has suffered as a result of some personal, social, or physical calamity.” pp 180

[Discussing religion] “… an ambiguous situation arose in which there was (and is) a demand for external guarantees inside a culture that has erased the ontological preconditions for them.” (Ashley 1989, 303)

“… conservative political agendas have benefited from joining fear and victim with crime control agendas, the issue is much bigger, particularly the relationship between fear and every-day life culture.” pp 182

“group sense” … “These boundaries occur through institutional processes that are grounded in everyday situations and encounters, including language, discourse, accounts, and conversation” pp 182

“…the mass media, social control, and surveilance are connected is that common perspectives and communication styles are involved. They are coproducers, and if the images that they are promoting are inaccurate and individually or socialy destructive, then they are involved in mass-mediated terrorism, which was defined earlier as “the purposeful act or threat of violence to create fear and/or complaint behaviour in a victim and or audience of the act or threat” (Lopez and Stohl 1984) pp185

“…our risk society is a feature of people having more information about risks and then acting on this information by either seeking more information, avoiding activities, or demanding protection.” pp187

“All must recognise their constitutive weakness or, better, recognise that by their very existence they are a risk to others. Each individual must bed to the imperatives of group solidarity.” pp188

“The term prevention does not indicate simply a practice based on the maxim than an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, but also the assumption that if prevention is necessary it is because danger exists.” pp 188

“… the problem frame which promotes risk and danger as fear.” pp188

fear is a fundamentally different psychological experience than perceived risk. While risk entails a cognitive judgement, fear is far more emotive in character. Fear activates a series of complex bodily changes aletting the actor to the possibility of danger. (Ferraro 1995. 95) (pp188)

“Fear produces victims and reinforces the notion that everyone is actually or potentially a victim.” pp189

“Fear, after all, is a perspective that is learned from others. Except for exceptional and pathological instances, we become what our salient “others” model and affirm for us.” pp191

“stereotypes are easy to accept even when they are false” pp 195

“When it comes to violence, media stories may unintentionally form public images of right and wrong… …formatting of violent accounts may be constructing social opinion rather than reflecting it.” pp195

“Social fears are related to personal fears in complex ways. Unraveling the reltaionships for specific fears is an avowedly psychoanalytical task that has been largely neglected, thus opening up another opportunity for social researchers. For example. fear of crime may be connected to certain compulsive behaviours, paranoia, and so forth, but these are now sanctioned by public officials as reasonable prudent, responsible, and even intelligent activities.” pp195


Design Fiction Readings

This week’s readings discussed the conceptual approach to design known as design fiction. My takings from the interview with Bruce Sterling and the article “Design Fiction as Pedagogic Practice” by Matthew Ward, was that our design space should not be limited by the technology that exists in reality. That development relies on us speculating what could exist in the future in order to close the gap between the imagined and reality.

By removing the constraints of reality from the design process we can explore a full range of possibilities for whatever we are designing. While it may not be possible to create the end point of your ideas, by exploring unhindered we can create a pathway of invention to make it possible in the future.

Chris Argyris Reading

Argyris’ theories of action, double-loop learning and organizational learning definitely challenged my assumptions about my own learning and interaction with people in both professional and personal life.

It seems simple in hindsight to assume that my impression of the world is completely formed around my own assumptions. However that wasn’t as clearly obvious as it should have been. I am a TED talk (www.ted.com) addict and always find myself watching talks based on education or organisational behaviour, so Argyris’ theories sparked a natural interest for me. I enjoy the concept of organisations functioning with a healthy double-loop approach to thinking.

Argyris states that “human reasoning, not just behaviour, can become the basis for diagnosis and action” and I am becoming increasingly aware of how reasoning and behaviour are rarely both considered when reacting to actions. It was also interesting to me that Argyris defined supervision’s role as straddling the gap between theory-in-use and espoused theory amongst employees. It was a very succinct definition and reframed my impression of the role of the supervisor.