Final Project: Adoll

ADOLLS Dolls for Adults

Do you ever just want/need your own time and space? Do you look attractive and non-threatening? Do you always find yourself in situations where people insist on invading your personal space? Whether it’s on public transportation or in public restrooms, the library, movie theaters etc., we want to help you solve this problem. Introducing ADOLLS: Dolls for Adults to help you get out of awkward and uncomfortable situations. This portable and collapsible mannequin will deter those who choose to ignore social norms and courtesies by sitting/standing next to someone when there are clearly other options available to them.

Credits:

CAST:
Studious Woman: Mary Notari
Strange Man: Alden Jones

Directed by Hau Yuan, Sandy Hsieh
Screenplay by Hau Yuan, Sandy Hsieh
Produced by Hau Yuan, Sandy Hsieh

Session 3: Storyboards

Sound Work Debrief

First, what I learned the most from this project is user testing. In this project, we wanted to create the perspective from a cockroach. As a result, we didn’t put any dialogue into the soundtrack. However, this led to a negative effect. Based on my observation, listeners didn’t know when to have next step even if we create a map for users. The connections between sound and environment weren’t enough to allow listeners to understand what’s happening in the sound. Secondly, even though we recorded the soundtracks from a very low angle, we didn’t really create the effect from a little creature’s perspective. We should have added more distorted effect to differentiate the audio sensor of human beings and insect.

Storyboards
ADOLLS Dolls for Adults

Do you ever just want/need your own time and space? Do you look attractive and non-threatening? Do you always find yourself in situations where people insist on invading your personal space? Whether it’s on public transportation or in public restrooms, the library, movie theaters etc., we want to help you solve this problem. Introducing ADOLLS: Dolls for Adults to help you get out of awkward and uncomfortable situations. This portable and collapsible mannequin will deter those who choose to ignore social norms and courtesies by sitting/standing next to someone when there are clearly other options available to them.

1 (Medium Shot)
2 (Zoom Out)
3 (Medium Shot)
4 (Medium shot)
5 (Over-The-Shoulder Shot)
6 (Medium Shot)
7 (Long Shot)
8 (Medium Shot)
9 (Close Up)
10 (Medium Shot)
11 (Medium Shot)
12 (POV Shot)
13 (Close Up)
14 (POV Shot)
15 (Close Up)
16 (Medium Shot)
17 (Tilt)
18 (Tilt)
19 (Zoom In and Pan)
20 (Medium Shot)
21 (Medium Shot)
22 (Medium Shot)
23 (Medium Shot)
24 (Zoom In)
25 (Medium Shot)
26 (Close Up)
27 (Medium Shot)
28 (Zoom In)

 

Session 2: A sonic journey throughout ITP’s 4th floor from a cockroach’s perspective

Team Members: Yuan Hau & Martin Calvino

The sonic journey described here narrates ITP’s 4th floor from a cockroach’s perspective.

The conceptual aspect of the narrative in our sound walk addressed the commonality of space and time among two different classes of organisms: insects and mammals.

Because of the disproportionate difference in the scale of their body sizes, cockroaches and humans have a different relationship with the objects that compose their environment. 

Throughout history, artists have used changes in scale as means to explore the difference in how we perceive the relationship among elements within a single artwork. Similarly, we questioned how our perception of ITP’s floor (and building in general) was affected by approaching it from the worldview of a cockroach.

Although cockroaches have been inhabiting our planet even before the time of dinosaurs (since the Carboniferous period about 320 million years ago), they are negatively perceived by us primarily because of their appearance, their nocturnal behavior and their association with careless or messy human habitats. It is estimated that about 30 species of cockroaches (from 4,600 taxonomically identified) co-inhabit spaces with humans.

Because ‘the image’ of a cockroach is intentionally excluded from the art piece, and because we focused instead on the sound of its journey through the building, the negative perception associated with this insect is not present, and thus its behavior becomes the sole narrative for the exploration of the building through sound. 

Interestingly, cockroaches are social insects and they also exhibit parental care and collective decision-making behavior. They are also omnivorous. This means that the exploration of ITP space from a reduction in size/scale from humans relative to cockroaches does not necessarily mean the obliteration of behaviors common to both species. Thus, the sound walk can be considered to have a humanized sentiment to it. 

Questions that emerge from the sound piece are:

Is the cockroach alone? Is its journey on his way to meet another member of its group and is suddenly interrupted by the daily activities of humans? Does the feeding and behavior of the cockroach as we imagine for humans to be? If this is so, why do we start from the kitchen, where food is located? There are inherent assumptions that are indeed humanized even though we focus on a cockroach as the focus for the sound piece.

The intended character for the work of sound presented here is intrigue and adventure. The narrative arc is described as follows:

1. Exposition: 

The cockroach is feeding inside the garbage can next to the sink and refrigerator. It gets to the top of the can and then drops to the ground.

2. Rising action:

The cockroach finds itself on the ground, staring at people feet’s imposing presence walk by making scary noises (footsteps and chairs moving). It turns attaches itself to a women’s clothes and travel along from the trash can towards the elevator. Just before entering the elevator, the women notice the cockroach on her pants.

3. Climax:

The women start shouting and tried to kill the cockroach

4. Falling Action:

Scared, the cockroach flies away to the ventilation system just next to the elevator and above Dan O’Sullivan’s office. There is a moment of relief and reflection as to what to do next to keep itself alive

5. Resolution

As the cockroach notices a human opening the window right behind Anna’s desk in the elevator lobby, she flies out of the building and into the outer world. The piece ends with an adventurous feeling of what might come next

Materials & Methods

Sound samples were collected and recorded using H4n Zoom audio recorder with built-in microphones and the addition of two condenser microphones. Thus, we could record 4 channel audio samples for this experiment. We used the settings and guidelines suggested in class when using the H4n recorder. Audio samples were imported into Adobe Audition CC to create an audio composition that was ultimately exported as a single piece. For the sound that emulated the flapping of cockroaches wings, we use the resource freesound.org.


Soundwalk Map

Figure 1. Schematic diagram of ITP’s 4th floor in which the starting point in the sound walk is the trash can located next to the sink and refrigerator (A.1). From there the walks continue into the corridor towards the elevator (B.2). At the entrance of the elevators, a women notice the presence of the cockroach and tries to kill it (C.3). The cockroach flies into the ventilation system right next to Dan O’Sullivan’s office (D.4), and from there into the outer world through the window (D.5).

Final thoughts

When we started the project our original idea for sampling sounds was to explore transitional spaces within the building. Our draft did not incorporate at the time a narrative that would ‘transform’ the building into a different thing through sound, as Marina Zurkow had suggested us at the time. Based on this, we explored the approximation of the building from the perspective of a cockroach as our second idea (originated from Yuan Hau). That’s how this work came to be. 

Next steps

We need to include a process by which we can synchronize the behavior of the listener to certain sound triggering events in the pieces as to ensure that each segment of audio listens at the proper location.

Session 1: My Soundwalk experience

Soundwalk: Her Long Black Hair @ Central Park

It was my first time to experience soundwalk in my life. I was impressed by Janet Cardiff’s Her Long Black Hair which set in Central Park. I completely dissolved into the Cardiff’s guidance and the sound remix that blurred the border line of the soundtrack and outside noise. Although the artist and I exist in the same space at different times, this soundwalk made me feel that I live then. Even if I can’t see anything from the soundtrack, the soundtrack made my brain to generate scenes. In my view, I think there are two reasons made the whole experience so vicarious. First of all, the binaural technology precisely demonstrated the perception of three-dimensional space. The speaker’s footsteps sounded so realistic that made my footsteps synchronize with her’s. More importantly, the sound balance among every object was perfectly integrated. Although the ambient noise, music, poetry were all merged, I can easily recognize every object’s sound and what the speaker wanted to emphasize at that time. Secondly, the speaker interacted with listeners. Not only did she give the route guidance, but also pause and pull out of the storyline to let the listeners get involved in the physical surroundings. By doing so, this arrangement made the rhythm smoothly and made the experience more like wandering around in the Central Park. All in all, It was an incredible sound walk journey which was beyond my imagination.

Brief Response: Jonathan Lethem’s The Ecstasy of Influence: A Plagiarism

Jonathan Lethem’s article gave me an introspection of intellectual property and originality. What is the real purpose of copyright? Ideally, it should be a method to protect the creators. However, it could also be mean to monopolize the market. The Walt Disney Company utilized common culture and fairy tale, which are all the work of others. Disney used them to create animation, toys, and Disneyland. They moved all these common cultures into their protected territory and trademarked them, labeled them copyright symbols to claim that these common culture and fairy tales are all their private property. Ironically, if someone wants to use the image of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, it is very likely to be rejected or asked for a high premium by the company. Does the law of intellectual property protect the originality in this case? In my view, No. What’s more, this circumstance could also be the impediment when others want to use these common cultures to create.

Brief Response: Kirby Ferguson’s Embrace the Remix

Kirby’s talk gave me a new definition of  “Invention” and “originality”, which are both the word deified by media because deification could lead to significant marketing and business triumph. Take iPhone for instance, all the technology the first iPhone used had already existed before it launched in 2007. The origins of multi-touch began at many prestigious technology institutes and universities, and it was in use as early as 1985. Before Apple popularized the term “smartphone”, PDA(Personal Digital Assistant), also known as handheld PC, had already include most of the smartphone features like web browsing, touchscreen, portable media player and so on. In my perspective, iPhone is a significant landmark in human technology history, but I disagreed with people called Apple an inventor of the smartphone. I think Apple only “remixed” the current technology at a perfect time. As Henry Ford said, ”Progress happens when all the factors that make for it are ready, and then it is inevitable.” However, Apple asserted that other competitors were all followers who stole their idea but neglected the truth that iPhone is also a collage from others’ discoveries.