Sense of Sight – Chola Bronze Sculpture

The Chola Period in history was a time when art and architecture flourished. This period kept seeing improvements in these two fields through the years. The Chola’s were a very large community in South India for quite some time. In their field of art, this dynasty is specifically known for its sculptures. Sculptures from this period are in various museums all over the world. Their sculptures primarily depicted Gods such as Krishna, Ganesha, Vishnu, Shiva, Lakshmi etc.

The Chola’s were known for their sculptures as they had mastered the process of making them. These are considered as one of the best sculptures in world history. They had a very specific way of creating these sculptures commonly known as ‘the lost-wax technique’ and this method provided them with the finesse for their sculptures. They started this process by making the sculpture in wax, which allowed them to give it fine details. After that, they covered the entire sculpture with clay and then heated it in an oven. This made the clay hard and at the same time the wax melted away, thus creating a mould for the sculpture. These moulds were single-use mould which were broken after they used a metal alloy of bronze to cast it.


Krishna Dancing on Kaliya (Kaliyahimarddaka Krishna)

India, Tamil Nadu; Chola period (880-1279), late 10th – early 11th century
Copper alloy
H. 34 1/2 in. (87.6 cm)

This sculpture from the Chola Dynasty, depicts Lord Krishna overcoming Kaliya, a snake king who had been poisoning the waters of the sacred Yamuna River and terrifying the local population. This sculpture does have some ornamentation on it, however when compared to other bronze sculptures which were created by other dynasties these have almost no ornamentation. Inspite of that, what defines this sculpture and and makes it elegant is it’s body form. The form of Krishna is so graceful and elegant although and the little bit of ornamentation completes it. It’s also very interesting to see the way they have depicted the snake eventually turning into a devotee. If you zoom into the snake, we see a figure lying down with folded hands facing Krishna. This shows the transformation of the snake after Krishna defeats him. These kind of details and postures are what make the Chola bronze sculptures elegant.


Sense of Sight – 2


This photograph manages to bring about a feeling of sympathy in the viewer but at the same time makes him feel very mysterious. Visually, there is little contrast in this photograph because of the sky being really dull and gloomy. The patches of smoke in the background play a very important role in this photograph. As mentioned earlier, they add to the feeling of mystery. This is because of not knowing the context of the photograph, as we do not get to know whether this is because of a tragedy or just another practice that the people follow. This also brings about a feeling of loneliness and hopelessness because of the fact that there are such few people over such a large area of land. This might not even be true, however because of the way the smoke and people have been shot, this is what the photograph suggests. Amidst all of this sympathy and dullness, the expression on the boy’s face projects a sense of strength or rather resistance. Overall, in terms of the only the colours in the photograph it does not showcase much contrast however, in terms of the emotions that the photograph projects it has a great amount of contrast.

Sense of Sight – 1

Educate Females

‘Educate Females!’

The brief we received for making this poster was ‘communicating the desired message without the use of the latin script’. Therefore, the visuals are what communicate the message to the viewer, thus being apt for discussion under this section. This poster is minimal and yet has the required symbols and motifs to communicate the issue here. Primarily, this poster has only 2 symbols, the pen and the female gender symbol. As the quote by Edward Lytton goes “the pen is mightier than the sword”, it’s symbol represents empowerment and education in this poster. Along with this, the gender symbol very clearly states that this poster is directed in the favour of females. Thus, having the minimum amount of possible elements, this poster clearly states its purpose.

Sense of Sound – Music Video Ideas

The mood of the track is quite gloomy because of the heavy bass, it also makes you feel tired. However at the same time the song is fast paced and has a lot of noise. We could easily relate this contrast to our feeling on a jury day. The day begins with gloominess because of the sleep-less night and at the same time requires rapid work as soon as we turn up. So through the music video, we show quick ECU’s of a person’s activities on a jury morning. We do not reveal that this is a jury day until we reach the climax of the song which is when the track slows down drastically. And post this we continue the quick cuts however this time with wide-angled shots.

Sense of Sight – Dance Form


Theyyam, more commonly known as Kaliyattam in South India, is one of the most significant and elaborately performed folk dance in Kerala. As the name suggests, this is a dance performed to praise and glorify goodess Kali. The word Kali also means ‘safety’ and thus suggesting that the dance is performed in order to bring about well-being and family safety for everyone in the village. This dance form is very popular in North Kerala particularly in Kannur and Kasargod districts. 

There are said to be over 350 different types of Theyyams performed in different villages in Kerala. This dance basically represents a mythological character. This dance ritual is only performed by men, and if needed they are only the ones that enact female characters with the help of costumes and makeup. This dance form heavily relies on the make up and costume design as it plays a very important role in depicting certain mythological characters.

In a manner, the costumes and make up is what defines this dance form. A lot of their costumes are made using natural things such as tender coconut leaves. The dancer is covered from top to bottom with costumes like headresses, breast plates, ornaments on the arms, garlands and a lot more. Since these costumes are some times made of natural things, they can only be used once and they have to be discarded. All this make up and designing the costumes requires a great amount of skill and craftsmanship. The face painting is done using only primary and secondary colours. This entire process takes hours of preparation and also requires professionals to execute them effectively. 

This entire dance performance is split up into 3 parts. The first part is known as ‘Thottam’ which is the invocation of the goddess. This is performed at night and doesn’t require proper make-up and costume. The second part is performing certain rituals and ceremonies before the final act of the dance. The third part is the most important which involves all the make up and costume work and this is when the elaborate dance is performed. This is the part when that they believe helps in the manifestation of the goddess. This ceremony finally comes to end with the dancers throwing rice on everyone and giving them turmeric powder as a symbol of blessings.

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Sense of Sound: Assignment 2

“Films are 50 percent visual and 50 percent sound. Sometimes sound even overplays the visual.”

-David Lynch (Film Director)

Films were once devoid of sound. Who knew that something that never existed in films would eventually become an integral part of completing a film. Today we see how films give utmost importance to sound designing and yet, sometimes people do not seem to notice sound as one of the most important elements of a film. Every sound in a film is very carefully and intentionally placed in its specific position in order to express an emotion or depict a certain thing.

Every kind of film has a major role of sound playing in it, however they are designed in different manners for different kinds of films. For example in an animated movie, every sound is designed from scratch from different points of inspirations and this also includes the most faint ambient sounds. On the other hand, when movies are shot in public spaces or rather in any spaces, the existing ambient sounds come into play automatically. In this manner the degrees of sound designing differ in different movies.

The role of sound design also differs based on the genre of the movie. The genre of the film plays an important role in determining the kind of sounds and the amount of sound designing that is required. In certain series of films, sounds become important identifying characteristics. For example, just the voice of a certain person would establish his presence even if he wasn’t visible on the screen at a particular time. In a similar manner, in fantasy films, a certain sound could define a certain creature in the manner in which we identify animals in real life. Sound could also help in establishing the mood of a certain scene in a movie or even a complete movie.

As we learn from the essay by Bela Balazs, sound in reality is everything you hear. An untrained ear might call it noise, whereas a trained ear might just make music out of the sounds around. The essay also suggests that we live in an acoustic world, which includes the minutest sounds from the creaking of a door to the humming of bee at a distance. Another very important concept that the essay is covers is that of ‘silence’. Silence itself is a sound which also plays a very important role in films. It adds it own kind of drama and suspense, or maybe a sense of peace depending on the context of the movie. But silence isn’t just hearing nothing. In that case a deaf person would know what silence is. “We feel the silence when we can hear the most distant sound or the slightest rustle near us. The silence is greatest when we can hear very distant sounds in a very large space.” Silence can be used in a number of ways depending on the context of the movie.

The first movie that I would like to state as an example would be the horror film, ‘The Conjuring’. Every horror film scary only because of the manner in which we relate the sound effects to the visuals in front of us. Ever thought of a ‘creaking’ door without the ‘creak’? Nothing could define the fact that the door was creaking other than the sound itself. In this manner there are certain things that only the sound design can execute. Silence also plays a very important role in horror movies. I believe that no horror movie can be complete without the effective use of silence. Again, silence is used in a different context in these movies. Silence is used to build suspense, create tension and fear in this movie. This silence is used in contrast with sudden loud sounds immediately after, and this is what makes the particular scene scary. For example, in ‘The Conjuring’, when the mother goes down into the basement and gets locked, silence is used to build the tension in the scene, which is immediately contrasted with the loud clap right beside her ear. Then the scream right after, adds to the fear and tension. Bela Balazs, in her essay, also suggests that we relate certain sounds to certain expressions. Therefore, the scream is more effective when we see her face full of fear along with the sound.

This happens because we relate certain sounds to certain visuals. This has happened over time because of the references made to specific expressions in film over a period of time. So therefore, when we hear a scream we will expect to see that face full of fear. In case we do not, the overall effectiveness of the scream also reduces.

In the past couple of years, the animated movie ‘Wall-E’ has been noticed as an iconic movie when it comes to sound design. The sound design for this film is done by one of the most reputed sound designers, Benjamin Burt who has also designed the sounds for other famous films such as the Star Wars series and the Indiana Jones series. However, the amount of work he has done for the sound designing of ‘Wall-E’ is much more than what he has done for any other film. ‘Wall-E’ is an animated film that doesn’t have any dialogues but only uses sounds for everything. Its the story of a cleaning robot that is working alone after he is the last one left. For this film, Ben Burt has designed over 2500 sounds, all from scratch. He has used simple objects such as metal sheets and slinky toys to create the sounds for this movie. When asked in an interview, he recorded a tank moving and sped up the clip to depict the treads of Wall-E when he moved. Therefore, in animated movies, the process of making the visuals is separate and the process of creating the sounds in separate. However, both are equally important as I have been stating above. This movie also has a very effective use of silence. They portray the ambient sounds very well which help in establishing the locations of the scenes.

Lastly, I would talk about a short animated film by Disney which doesn’t have any dialogues either. ‘Paperman’ by John Kahrs is another example of the effective use of silence. This movie has no dialogues and still brings about a great number of emotions using simple sounds and visuals. In the very opening scene, we see the boy and girl separate from each other and this entire scene combines very well with the silence at that moment in the film. The silence and the face expressions, together, bring about the intimacy between the two people and also express the sadness of them being separated although they do not know each other. Even later in the film, the manner in which the builds up compliments the progression of the film before it reaches its climax.

Therefore, this is another example of the importance of sound design in a film.

Thus, through the above examples we see the role of sound design in films. We see how sound plays a significant role in expressing the film and how a film without any sound at all would seem incomplete today. The minutest of sounds in a film help in establishing a fact and therefore I would conclude by quoting Walter Murch;

“The ultimate metaphoric sound is silence. If you can get the film to a place with no sound where there should be sound, the audience will crowd that silence with sounds and feelings of their own making, and they will, individually, answer the question of, “Why is it quiet?” If the slope to silence is at the right angle, you will get the audience to a strange and wonderful place where the film becomes their own creation in a way that is deeper than any other.”

Sense of Sound: Assignment 1

I mean, the genuine roots of culture is folk music.

-John Lydon

John Lydon very accurately states the importance of traditional music the quote above. Traditional music has been an integral part of India’s rich culture for so many years now. This music has undergone various changes over the years and has come to point where it is valued by some and also abused by some.

Traditional music was a very important factor in defining societies. This happened because every region in India made their own kind of music which was mainly because of the different instruments they used in these different parts. These instruments were different because all the instruments were made from natural things that were available in these regions. Thus, explaining why the music was different in every region.

Traditional music was also always used in times of celebrations and festivities, thus playing an important role in defining the culture of different regions. Over time, this music has now evolved into something completely different. This change began in Goa when colonialism began and Westernisation prevailed over India.

Simultaneously, a completely different genre of music was building up in the Goan communities. This was due to multiple things happening simultaneously such as technological advancement, westernization, the hippie movement. The hippie movement started in the United States and these hippies migrated to Goa which influenced the music in Goa. This genre came up to be known as Goan Trance. This wasn’t only a change in music that took place but was part of a bigger movement.

Goan Trance brought about several changes in the society. Hippies rejected established institutions and rules. They believed that the dominant culture was already corrupt and there was a need to break free from these rules. This was where it all started. Trance became more and more popular and so did the ideas of the hippies spread further. This brought about a shift in the mindset of the younger generations and nowadays, sometimes these ideas are misinterpreted and thus misused. This misinterpretation is very evident when it comes to the usage of drugs. Drug usage and intoxication in trance concerts, now seems like a necessity to some. This is where we go wrong.

International artists have now been performing at concerts in India for quite a long time. It started off because people wanted to see these artists perform live in front of them. This created a very different feel in listening to the music naturally because of the ambience and surroundings. Therefore, people went to these concerts to ‘listen’ to music. I remember when I had once gone for a Bryan Adams concert. The crowd was ‘sober’ and yet energetic. This is one concert I found extremely entertaining and a major part of this was because of the ambience.

However, when I went for Zedd’s performance soon after in Bombay, I really did not seem to enjoy the concert as much as I enjoyed the previous. I had all my friends around me falling on each other, the entire venue smelling only of weed and people just losing their minds over getting more drinks. This wasn’t even close to what I had expected of this concert. More than enjoying the music, I had to make sure that a couple of my friends dont end up brawling with some other drunk guys. This is what every EDM concert is now headed to. The first thought that people get when they hear about a gig is ‘let’s get drunk’ or ‘let’s get doped’. Is this what music is really about?

The issue with this is that, since EDM has evolved and developed into such a large genre, it has started affecting all the other genres too. So nowadays, people assume that every concert is meant  for the same purpose — to get intoxicated. Certainly, there were concerts that were meant to have intoxicated people to enjoy the music and ambience, but the problem occurs when people apply the same concept to every concert. I believe that this is where we flawed and thus are truly missing  out on the experience that music is meant to provide us.

To conclude, I believe that this trend is still in change and eventually people will truly understand the experience that they are missing out. Music has a certain quality and expression that cannot be replaced by any kind of intoxication, and when people do realise this, this trend will once again begin to change. Finally I would end by quoting:

“Music produces a kind of pleasure which human nature cannot do without.”

― Confucius, The Book of Rites