The Five Senses: Final Project

Super Mario Installation

Idea #1:
Initially, we thought of making a 3D Mario game. We would try to represent how it felt when you put yourself in Mario’s shoes and you yourself would have had to play the game – jump and collect coins etc. So, we thought of making a life size maze and the player would have to physically play the game like he would on console.

Feedback:
It was going to be very difficult to execute, given the amount of time we had. We wouldn’t have been able to make an exact representation of the Mario game in real life, it sounded like something that would be in an amusement park.
We were also told to abstract the idea – probably use a projector or a treadmill instead of the maze.

Idea #2:
Our second idea was a slightly abstracted version of our previous idea. We would make a small cube (8 bit cube) in which a person would go into and sit. It would be dark inside, a video would be projected onto one side of the cube and the person would also hear various video game sounds. On the top of the box, there would be a hole from which we would throw things like coins, mushrooms and other elements from Super Mario into the box. The aim of this installation would be to suffocate the person (player) sitting inside.

Feedback:
Our idea was too literal – we were asked to abstract the idea even further. The execution again had several issues. We would’ve had to construct a huge box that a person could fit into, placement of the projector would’ve been an issue as the person sitting inside would cast a shadow etc. The sense of smell and taste weren’t coming out too well in this idea as well.

Final idea:
Our final idea was a very abstracted version of the previous two ideas, we had finally decided that we were going to focus on addiction and the side effects of gaming. So to bring that experience and engage all the different senses we decided merge our senses, because gaming is an audiovisual experience with touch felt by a console or a touch pad and of course the slouch created because of the seating position. Taste and smell come in secondary, but are equally as important. We wanted to show how harmful the effects of excessive gaming could actually be once their visuals are simplified and kept without an interesting plot or interface. We also wanted to make the viewer feel absolutely claustrophobic. To execute our idea, we constructed four different boxes. Each box had a computer screen in it and a very small and narrow opening on it for the audience to look into. These boxes were painted black on the outside as well as the inside to ensure no light passes through except for the light from the screen when the viewer is looking inside. All these boxes were kept at a considerably low height so that the viewer would have to stare at the screen while slouching that would get very uncomfortable later.

Box

This is how we classified each of the senses to make the execution of our idea an easier process:

Sight – Video games use extremely fast moving visuals that keep on changing when it comes to motion and color. Usually these colors are extremely bright and vivid. Most of the time the game is a highly visual experience, so therefore we kept a video as a form of a visual in every box which was merged with another sense or feeling.

Sound – Music that would be extremely difficult and painful to listen to if it would be continuously played. So to recreate the same effect we used 8-bit sounds for each of our boxes.

Touch – The slouch that the gamers sit in for hours at a stretch every day and the numb fingers as a result of the constant grip and movement on a keyboard/ touchpad or controller.

Smell – Gamers are so deeply involved in the game; they aren’t affected by or notice the smell that surrounds them. A lot of them don’t even shower for days and just use a deodorant as a substitute. Other smells that gamers are used to are junk food, the stench of body odor and other awful scents such as stale food. Our aim was to recreate the same repulsive sense of smell that would get monotonous. We kept the extremely repellent smell of spray paint mixed with deodorant constant on each of our boxes to make the audience experience the same feeling.

Taste – Gamers usually tend to munch on junk food – chips, aerated drinks (any junk). So to recreate that feeling, we mixed our sounds with the crunching of chips and we kept some cake for the viewers to eat at intervals of each box.

Super Mario Cake
So we constructed four boxes and placed screens inside them, which were showing different things. Each one would lead to the next box.

The following visuals were paired up with annoying video game music:

Box 1: This is not straining to the eye.
White text runs across a red screen really fast and one is supposed to figure out what is says. We kept an 8-bit music in the background for this mixed with the sound of chips being munched on. This was the first box, so, we wanted our audience to warm up with the speed of the visuals and provoke them with the senses of eyestrain, the repulsive odors and the taste of junk food through memory.

Box 2: A dancing red dot on a neon screen.
A red dot kept moving really quickly from one part of the screen to another. It was placed on a neon green background and the longer you stare at the dot the more blinding it gets for the eye. This was accompanied with another 8-bit soundtrack that was playing at full volume and again merged with the constant smell of spray paint and deodorant. The aim of this box was to further irritate the viewer by an increase in the intensity of the audiovisual.

Box 3: Level 1, Level 2, Level 3 and You Win!
This box was supposed to cause the eyestrain at its peak. It had the words flashing on the screen really quickly with the color of the type changing to black and white back and forth, and simultaneously the background changing to all colors extremely quickly. It was supposed to mimic the visuals that cause epilepsy also and the 8-bit sound in the background was supposed to make the user feel even more traumatized.

Box 4: Typing test.
This box was supposed to recreate how the effect of excessive gaming strains and numbs your fingers. This box was intentionally placed right in the end after the intense audiovisual experience. The viewer was made to type on the screen using a touchpad (that he ideally wasn’t supposed to see). The construction of this box was a little tricky, as we did not have the ideal software and hardware. We mirrored our phone display on the computer screen and made our viewers type on the phone while we supervised them and made sure they did not look at the mobile display, but only stared at the screen.

Typing Test

On the top of the box, we made a Mario stencil print artwork.

Mario stencil
Mario stencil process

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Sense of Sound: Assignment 2

Sense of Sound: Trance Music

Woodstock

Loud amplifiers, screaming girls, fainting fans, and an overcrowded arena – the magic of four boys from Liverpool that brought about a revolution that dissolved boundaries and changed the face of music forever. The age of Beatles spearheaded the Rock ‘n’ Roll revolution to create an era of the rocking sixties lasting from the alleys of wet Liverpool to scintillating Hamburg to a hippie California and forming an age of spiritualising the west on the banks of river Ganges at Rishikesh. The Sixties have seen it all. The Rock ‘n’ Roll era saw the formation of legendary bands with the likes of Pink Floyd, Led Zep, Rolling Stones, Aapro Freddie’s Queen and many others. These bands weren’t only another brick in the wall but led to a stairway to heaven which went down in history to be etched as the greatest artists ever to grace the music industry.

Revolution it was back then, revolution it is now. The guitars fell silent, the drums lost their beat, and microphones lost their vocals. Headbangers replaced by intoxicated teenagers moving their bodies to the beat and lip syncing the occasional lyrics. Revolution it was back then, revolution it is now. Standard of music dropping faster than the “drop” created by this noise people call EDM in pop culture. Revolution it was back then, revolution it is now.

Electronic Dance Music, EDM, “techno”, “house” or “chill” as they call it has brought about a revolution so big that the last time this happened people called it the music of satan also known as the age of Rock ‘n’ Roll. For the first time after the sixties, when the world has moved on to more materialistic elements, EDM is introduced as an element of change.

Noise for some, big bucks for some. The EDM music industry right now has a networth of $6.2 billion which is projected to increase many folds in the coming years. Popular artists like Avicii, Tiesto, Hardwell and Skrillex make big bucks for each gig they play and are jetsetters around the world for over 300 days a year. Big artists and even bigger chequebooks, the largest annual electronic music festival in the world Tomorrowland takes place in Belgium. It is where the whole EDM fraternity comes together over a weekend for the biggest performances causing the organizers of festivals like Coachella, Woodstock and Glastonbury to shame.

The music industry is not only about music anymore, it’s much more. From throwing cakes and champagne towards the crowd to blasting them with CO2 Jets, it’s all about the hype and the high. Merchandise hitting the shelves at the highest prices and the patrons of the act are even higher on their MDMAs and other drugs which they use as an ‘enhancer’ to enjoy the music even more.


Sense of Sound: Cinema and Sound


Charlie Chaplin

“Use a picture; it’s worth a thousand words”

Add sound to a picture and it’s worth a million.

From the times of Auguste Marie Louis Nicolas and Louis Jean from the Lumière Brothers fame known as the founders of Cinematography or as we call it cinema today, sound has always been an integral part of cinema. The first display of cinema took place in the year of 1895 in Paris, the Lumiere Brothers displayed their first movie Sortie des Usines Lumière à Lyon (Workers Leaving the Lumière Factory). The audience thought of the two brothers as if they were the first people to have discovered fire. They weren’t aware of the fact that they were going to be the ones to change the face of how coming generations would see, hear and even feel things moving. After making over ten movies not lasting more than fifty seconds of total time duration, the Lumiere Brothers travelled around the world to show their newly invented technology and even held screenings in Bombay during the rule of the British empire.

Earlier synchronization of the moving figures in cinema and the sound (pre-recorded music) was difficult to achieve as there wasn’t proficient technology available until the 1920s. The first breakthrough in sound and cinema as a synchronized part took place in the year 1927. The movie “The Jazz Singer” was presented as the first “talkie” or a commercial feature film.

Sound is associated with feelings and emotions; we associate one a particular sound with a specific emotion, for example, recalling the silent days of the legendary actor who set a big milestone in establishing that all men with a moustache that resembles a toothbrush aren’t cruel dictators, yes it is the one and only, Sir Charles “Charlie” Chaplin. The best use of sound as silence was made by the godfather of silent films, Charlie Chaplin, through his legendary movies with the help of his renowned acting skills. Sound played a very crucial in depicting these works of art and as there wasn’t any dialogue in silent films, and some didn’t even have a background score or any sound effects, so it was very important for sound to come across in actions of visuals. Charlie Chaplin tried to depict the same without any use of words, for that purpose he even composed the music for his own films.

Not to forget in the Indian film industry, Raja Harishchandra was released in the year 1913 and after that it took them 18 years more to see the birth of the Bombay Talkies which is what we know as Bollywood today. The creators of the film Alam Ara made us realize the importance that sound would have on the cinema and raced for the completion of the film before other contemporary movies. The crowd’s response was so overwhelming that police aid was required to control the public during the screenings of the movie. From then till now the Cinema and Sound in the Indian Film Industry has reached great heights in the areas of music, sound engineering, and back ground score as masters like A.R Rahman and Russell Pukooty receive Oscars for their performances in the field.

Sense of Sound: The Grind (music video)

Iteration #1:
Initially, we were thinking of things and processes that our mundane in our life which would help that bring about the mechanical monotony of our soundtrack. According to us, our mash up seemed to resemble tons of machines being used and constantly working at the same time. So, machines used in factories inspired our first idea, our video would comment on mass production vs nature. It would show the journey of a shoe being manufactured in a factory, followed by being walked around in and then finally end with it disintegrating into nature.

Feedback:
The feedback we got on our first idea was that in our first look of the video, the making of the shoe was not coming across too strongly. We were also facing difficulties in execution (we were lacking footage due to locating factories, permissions and other things) so, we were asked to think of another concept that would be more practical in terms of execution and would also connect with our soundtrack.

Iteration #2:
So, we started to think of other mechanical processes and well what are humans if not machines? We thought of reflecting on our college lives with a comic twist – “The life of a design student” (sigh). We thought that our life mimics the monotony of the soundtrack and so we chose this concept for our music video.

When we sit down to work, we are easily distracted and after hours of procrastination we either end up with work or … well sometimes things don’t really turn out the way we plan them – well that’s our life!

Storyboard:

The Grind - Storyboard

Final:

Sense of Sound: The Grind (final soundtrack)

The sounds used in this soundtrack are from various mundane objects that are a part of our everyday routine that we over look. In the beginning, there are random sounds played in isolation and then the sounds slowly build up and create a rhythm, as all the sounds play in a symphony. This mash-up aims to a sense of a lifeless, perfunctory, and a mechanical way of life.

Sense of Sound: Sounds of India Bulls

image1

Atyaan Jungalwala

Walking in through the cartridge movements, I was being slamed from one end of the room to the other with a gigantic machine. The room’s smell was getting stronger with each push where I felt suffocated by the chemicals. While I was pushed back and forth, I had no idea where I was headed, in this pitch-black space. As the momentum started to speed up even more, I was being tugged from one end to another. The last tug was a sudden push out of this dark space, where I found myself covered in black, just like what I could see from within the space. On coming out I was splashed by I clear flow of water from above me. I don’t know if this made me laugh or cry.

Aditi Mundra

The sounds used in this soundtrack are mundane, sounds part of everyday routine that we over look.

In the beginning, this mashup creates a sense of confusion, as there are only random sounds played.
The solo sounds build up and create a rhythm and somehow it makes me imagine that I’m stuck in a traffic jam and all the cars start honking in a symphony.

Purvisha Nadkarni

As the man was cutting down the tree with his axe, he heard a strange noise that he could not understand. He continued to cut, and the noise just kept getting longer and louder. He tried hard to recognize these strange noises but was miserably failing to do so. He suddenly stopped as a strong gush of wind came his way and he could not hold his ground, the strange noise however did not fade, only to be startled more and more by them. He recognized a sound that was familiar to coughing and giggling; he started getting curiouser and curiouser before it all came to a random and sudden halt. Everything became pindrop silence.

Ishita Dedhia

She walked around looking for something that would take her mind off the loss she had just faced. Having lost her grandmother who was her only source of inspiration had taken a toll on her health too. She dragged herself through the roads with towers being constructed on either sides. Men working in scorching heat continuously to earn the few pennies that they get from their entire day work. Memories of her grandmother took her thoughts away again from her surroundings. Just when she heard something and looked behind her. An old lady with a wrinkled face had tripped and fallen and was struggling to get back to her feel again. She ran towards her to give her a hand. They struck a conversation as she helped her get back home safely. Since that day , she would go to meet her frequently and pass their time with stories and laughs. She lost someone but also she gained someone just amongst those sad days. A grandmother whom she cherished through her entire life.

Sense of Sight: Sacred and the Visual

Standing Parvati
Standing Parvati

Period: Chola period (880–1279 AD)

Origin: Tamil Nadu, India

Medium: Copper alloy (Metalwork)

Dimensions: H. 27 3/8 in. (69.5 cm)

The Standing Parvati originated in the widely renowned Chola Period (880-1279 AD), a time when metal sculptures of Hindu gods and goddesses were casted by the Cholas in South India.

Changes within the Hindu religion called for mobile statues, such as the Chola bronze statues, that could easily be transported anywhere and used in rituals that took place outside temples. The old sculptures of Hindu deities made out of stone were either static reliefs or were too bulky to be carried around; so sculptors adopted a new method formulated by the Chola rulers, casting metal to create religious idols.

Chola period sculptures were created using the lost-wax technique. A method initially crafting a wax model, forming a mold around it, and casting a shape using the mold. Each sculpture made using this technique requires a different wax model, therefore making each idol created a unique piece of art.

Parvati, the Hindu goddess of love, fertility and devotion, is the consort of Shiva and mother of the lord Ganesha. This magnificent statue is said to be one of the finest depictions of Parvati and is abstracted with a combination fine details and natural forms. The proportions of her body structure make her appear sensuous by emphasizing on her large breasts, wide hips and her slender waist line – indicative of fertility and celebrate the female form. The soft lines of her firm body capture the ideal beauty and grace of the goddess and eternal female figure.

She is wearing luxurious and decorative jewelry – a headpiece, earrings, several ornaments around her neck, bangles and rings on each of her fingers. The headpiece which Parvati is wearing gives the impression of a conical crown with tiers on it, resembling a mountain. The fine cloth that is wrapped around her waist is secured with a heavy ornamented belt – the details of the drapery and the embellishment are very delicate and exquisite.

In Hindu art, gods and goddesses are depicted with distinct characteristics that help the viewer make associations and identify the deities being represented. Parvati stands poised, with a dramatic sway and holds one arm up to form a gesture and the other hand extended down – a distinctive pose known as tribhanga. The hand gesture indicates that she is holding a flower – her fingers curved, her thumb and forefinger meeting. When standing in this position, Parvati is often accompanied by Shiva when he is in his role as the Nataraja or the Lord of Dance.

Reference: http://http://www.metmuseum.org/toah/works-of-art/57.51.3


Whirling dervishes – A sacred ritual of love

Whirling Dervishes

Sufi whirling is a ritual dance performed within a religious ceremony called Sama. The creation of Sama is credited to Rumi, a Sufi master and the creator of the Mevlevis. This performance is also a form of meditation practiced by the Sufi Dervishes of the Mevlevi order.

By remembering God, listening to music and spinning in repetitive circles dervishes aim to reach enlightenment. The endless spinning in circles is said to be a symbolic imitation of the planets orbiting the sun in our Solar System.

A dervish practices multiple rituals in the Sama, the most important is the dhikr, remembering of Allah. The dhikr involves recitation of the verses of various Islamic prayers and is accompanied by physical exertions of movement, dancing and whirling.

This ritual is performed in a traditional dress: a sikke, which is a hat made out of camel’s hair, a white frock called tennure and a black overcoat known as a khirqa. By removing the khirqa before the whirling begins, the dervishes leave behind their egos and personal desires. While whirling, the dervishes open their arms – facing their right palm towards the sky and their left hand is directed towards the Earth.

The Sama represents a spiritual journey of man’s ascent through mind and love, in search for truth and to acquire wisdom. The ultimate goal of Sama is to reach the state of enlightenment, wajd, which is a trance like state of ecstasy. This ritual dance brings out a devotee’s love for God, purifies the heart and soul, and is a way of finding and communicating directly with God. Similar to the pilgrimage to Mecca, the Sama intends to bring all devotees closer to God.

For over decades the government has taken control over Dervish practices, however, the Mevleviyah order to this day performs ritual Sufi whirling for tourists in Turkey.


Film review: In the Mood for Love

In the Mood for Love

The film “In the Mood for Love” takes place in Hong Kong in the year 1960 – two neighbors Mr. Chow and Mrs. Chang discover that their respective spouses are having an extra marital affair and begin a concealed ‘relationship’ of their own.

On screen, we see the two characters not only as themselves but also as their disloyal spouses, as they re-enact imaginary scenes and conversations that might have taken place between them. Perhaps an irrational approach to seek answers, this seemed like a sound way for them to find out the origins of their spouses’ affair. The scenes in the film feel erratic because of the breaks between two scenes; this heightens the gap in the relationships between the couples in the film and also is symbolic of unspoken words and suppressed feelings.

It is ironic that the title of the film is “In the Mood for Love” because the two immensely frustrated characters are desperately in the search for love, but because of time and circumstance, they do not end up together.

At first, the film may appear to be about a potential romance between two acquaintances; however, the film goes far beyond matters of infidelity. The nature of the film could have been erotic and highly explicit but the director’s decision to not focus on the sensuality made the relationship more intimate. Understanding the characters and their feelings becomes challenging for the viewer in some parts, but the audience is definitely able to empathize with the two of them. The characters Mr. Chow and Mrs. Chang express themselves less through dialogue and more by the means of their body language – sighs, long gazes, and awkward small talk are actions that fill the gaps of loneliness.

While creating an atmosphere of the 1960s, the soundtrack helped illustrate the variation in the distance of the relationship between Mr. Chow and Mrs. Chang. It seemed as if the two characters were brought together by the lack of presence, love and attention of their spouses, and the background score made every moment feel delicate and miraculous.

There is an exceptional piece of instrumental music that repeats through out the entire film – called “Yumeji’s theme” and the way it has been used is very interesting. Each time the piece of music induces into the story, the two characters are often together doing something that brings them closer to each other, or are just about to meet, whether by chance or guiltily planned.

The initial appearances of the rhythm seem to foreshadow the events that are to come; the piece frequently fades out far before the main melody has a chance to develop. With each encounter, the music fades out much later as their relationship becomes more intense.

The piece of music runs parallel to the film’s narrative; the plot’s tragic flaw becomes clear in the end of the piece. The film focuses on the ambiguous nature of their relationship and the music mirrors the same; the music has a clear sense of what is going on which is the reason it is simply played in parts and not entirely at first.

The momentum of this film is that the two characters cross paths but their intentions rarely do. Mr. Chow and Mrs. Chang are filled with feelings of longing and desire because of their spouses’ infidelity. They seem to mutually decide that they would not end up like their respective spouses; however, over time the two develop feelings for each other. As the film progresses, time is passing by and neither one has the courage to accept the truth and give into their feelings.

In the Mood for Love” has been filmed in a remarkably unique, artistic style. The movie emphasizes on the subdued colors and textures seen in various compositions throughout the film – warm colors such as yellows, greens and browns, with soft saturation of skin tones and profound shadows.

The director has paid very close attention to detail when it comes to set design – delicate interiors, decor, and fine costumes are contrasted with the ambiguous narrative of the film, full of allusions, exploring subtle changes in Mr. Chow and Mrs. Chang’s relationship.

It rains repeatedly when the two are together in the film. In my opinion, rain is a symbol of sadness, separation and a new beginning – it seems to foreshadow what is to come in the latter parts of the film.

It is interesting to see where the two lovers meet and the composition of shots that are filmed around them. The two often cross paths on the staircase and sometimes simply talk on the sidewalk. Often, the scenes open in long shots in which the primary focus is something else and the characters are revealed later. For instance, there is a scene that is shot in the corridor outside the two apartments, the focus constantly shifts between Mr. Chow and Mrs. Chang, emphasizing on how they are so distant despite being so near.

The scenes in “In the Mood for Love” are mostly filmed in closed and confined spaces such as cramped rooms and narrow hallways. These imperfect, restricted perspectives are all metaphors for secrets, hidden desires and passion, which the two characters Mr. Chow and Mrs. Chang suppress because of the constraints in time.

The series of traditional floral dresses that Mrs. Chang wears suggests the change in mood and also brings out the development of feelings, maturing of the relationship and the passage of time in the film.

In the film, we only hear voices of Mrs. Chang’s husband and Mr. Chow’s wife and see a glimpse of their behinds a few times. The literal absence of the spouses allows Mr. Chow and Mrs. Chang to become closer and for us to notice the different stories running parallels in the film. The presence of mirrors when they role-play as their respective spouses, subtly hints at the fact that not one but two couples inhabit the same space at the same time.


Sense of Sight: Assignment 1

Santorini, Greece

Untitled

A deafening silence conquers the moonlit night. The starless sky is as deep as indigo blue, perhaps could be mistaken as the sea. The moon’s silvery sheen dissolves into the mysterious blue and it lingers while the clouds stretch out into the vast sky. The moon walks the night spreading an aura of charisma all over the town.

The dreary mountains melt into the horizon almost as if non existent. The pearl white buildings are scattered around resembling specks of weed in grass. The land houses the buildings like how a nest shelters birds.

The windows of the houses are glittering like a sky full of stars. The luminosity of the lights overshadows the brightness of the moon. The image captures a smudged illumination – there is a sense of tranquility in the flickering lights. The magic is alive in the heart of the town.

It is difficult to say whether this picture is a painting or a photograph; the colors merge like oil paints. One can get lost in this convoluted labyrinth where it is tricky to identify the start and the finish.

The town starts to fade to darkness and obscurity reins the land. The darkness tries to pierce this eccentric sight like an arrow aiming for the bulls-eye. Only the silhouettes of the surrounding are visible and in the image there is a blur, full of possibilities.

The XX Poster

The XX Poster

This image is of a poster of an event, perhaps a music concert, which took place on the 20th of October in 2014. The letter ‘X’ is monotonous and is repeated across the poster in a symmetrical pattern. The placement of the letter X is interesting – it starts off big and bold, consisting of many smaller versions in the colors black and white. Only three words of text are written in the entire poster – “The XX” which seems to be the name of the artist, “Vienna”, which probably is the place the event took place at and “20.10.2014” which is the date on which it happened. The font used in the poster is a sans serif typeface that resembles Bebas Neue. The shimmering gold is used in two spaces in place of white, which breaks the pattern of the alternate black and white. One of the spaces done in gold has a rough texture and the second right after it has swirls. The textures seem to be created using acrylic paints because of the thick application of the paint and brushes and/or knives. The textures have a variation of gold and an antique finish reminiscent of the gold Klimt uses in his paintings. The gold textures could have possibly been done intentionally to mimic his unique style of painting.