Counterfeit and Copyright


Counterfeit: adj. “made in imitation so as to be passed off fraudulently or deceptively as genuine; not genuine; forged.”

It isn’t always possible to own the latest trends. Even for people living upper class lives, economic depression, government tax and simply MRPs are enough to make one want to close their wallet against the exorbitant price of designer clothing and accessories.

Thus, there is a gap between consumer wants and supply. The business people who have managed to bridge this are those working in the alleys of Hong Kong; the lanes of Bombay’s Heera Panna; and Bangkok’s Chatuchak market. With a hidden stock of counterfeit, aka “knock off” designer goodies, they’ve managed to create a grey market which people all around the world are flocking to so that they may have the fancy item they want, but at a price they want too.

Be it Michael Kors bags, the rounded Versace medusa on t-shirts, or Louis Vuitton prints on almost anything, Asian streets have become a jungle for counterfeit items with almost little to no repercussions. In this essay, I explore the legal as well as intellectual implications of counterfeits of Asia.

Beginning with a basic idea of how an item is protected, we can see how the legal framework provides for loopholes for counterfeiting. Designers usually use a combination of copyright and trademarks to protect their work. In product design, trademarks help in the packaging of the product so that they remain recognizable to consumers thus lowering “search cost”.[1] However, there is often a fine line between functionality and design, which becomes a grey area during infringement cases.

For example, a full sleeve shirt is a common style of clothing. However, it’s functionality is “covering an arm”[2]. So when Burberry or any other designer make a blue full sleeve shirt of their own design, technically it is not an “original” idea and the shirt’s functionality has not changed. Thus, there is an ongoing debate on what remains original design and where the line can be drawn for infringement. However, in the U.S, legislation is being considered to extend definitions of copyright to include ornamentation.

Thus, “To qualify as a fashion design, an article must be unique, distinguishable, non-trivial and non-utilitarian variation over prior designs for similar types of articles. Once a plaintiff can show the article is unique, distinguishable, non-trivial and non-utilitarian variation over prior designs for similar types of articles, they must then show that the articles are so similar in appearance as to be likely mistaken for the protected design, and contains only those differences…which are merely trivial.“2

Common sights in Asian counterfeit markets are slightly modified designs. That is, a popular fashion trends are changed ever so slightly so as to still look like the original design, but are different enough to avoid immediate legal actions. For example, an Esprit bag pack in Bangkok’s MBK Mall looks and feels very much like an original but on closer inspection, one can see the spelling of Esprit has been changed to “Espit” although the typeface used is still almost identical to the original. Even with the use of copyright laws, there are still many areas which can allow for counterfeit goods to be made without technically being illegal, but pose moral rights issues for the designer of the goods.




                           CHAPTER 1: Understanding International Law

The Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works was an international convention of countries to accept certain copyright laws in order to protect authors of works from the signatory countries. The meeting of 164 representatives of countries occurred in Berne, Switzerland in 1886. It was organized by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO). In a nutshell, the Union of countries came to certain agreements with regard to copyright, creating a system of equal treatment across countries, and also setting an international standard for copyright law for signatory countries.

WIPO has thus created a generally accepted basis for copyright law which explains that expressions of ideas (literary, artistic, music work, etc) are automatically protected by copyright from the moment they are “fixed”[3] or created in some physical form. The subsequent articles of the Berne convention describe how countries belonging to the Berne Union should treat copyright for both foreign and domestic works. It outlines the rules along which Union countries should work with regard to adaptation of works, communication of work, infringement, control of circulation and even the moral rights of the author.

Many Asian countries became a part of the Berne Union including Malaysia, Singapore and India. However, since the countries of the Berne Union are allowed certain flexibilities with regard to the Act, each country’s copyright law does vary. Malaysia puts more emphasis on the economic rights of the author rather than moral rights. This extends only to respecting the author’s work on the basis that the work is seen as an extension of the author’s personhood[4]. This means that the author of a work is allowed to object in a case of mutilation, distortion or significant modification of their work which adversely affects the author’s honor or reputation4.

The problem in Singapore is that there is no real definition for “art” and there are only 4 provisions for the protection of an author’s moral rights. The first talks mostly about musical works while the other three specify the duty of a person not to falsely attribute works of an author. They do not really give the author the positive right to claim ownership4.

India, being a member of the Berne convention, follows the basic principle that copyright is an innate right of any creative work at the time that it is created. Thus, no additional record is needed for one to exercise copyright law. However registering the date and name of the work in the Registrar of Copyrights is useful in the case of infringement or future legal dispute. Unfortunately, the current policies regarding copywriting and infringement law were written in 1957 under the Copyright Act which barely sees any persons suffering its consequences today.

There also remains the problem of lines blurring between copyrighting an idea versus the actual piece of work. The scope of the Copyright Act extends to “original literary, dramatic, musical and artistic works and cinematograph films and sound recordings from unauthorized uses. Unlike the case with patents, copyright protects the expressions and not the ideas. There is no copyright in an idea.”[5] Again we see a grey area (as with the blue sleeve shirt example) where the line between original idea and expression of the idea might overlap, thus leaving gaps for counterfeiting.

The Department of Secondary and Higher Education have also explained copyright in terms of authorship. That is, the creators of such artistic works and with whom other rights and licenses are shared. In this aspect, it is said that the reproduction, distribution, translation, propagation to the public or adaptation of intellectual property belongs to the author (or owner) of the work. However, it is possible for these copyrights to be transferred from one person to another, preferably done so in writing.

This gives the author of a work a tighter control over who may be using their work thus helping prevent incorrect mutilation or distortion of their work and also gives them a positive platform to raise objections when it does occur.

However, there is also a debate about how far strict copyright enforcement can hinder cultural sharing. The same Copyright Act which protects artists also mentions that there are exceptions to the enforcement of the law in order to prevent unnecessary rigidity onto society. Some of these exemptions include: Research or private study, criticism or review, reporting for current events, connection with judicial proceedings, performances by amateur clubs (under certain restrictions), etc.

                                          CHAPTER 2: Law vs Culture

Larry Lessig, professor at Harvard Law School and a political activist, explains how laws can affect cultural sharing in a TED Talk he gave in 2007[6]. Explaining an argument given by John Philip Sousa, Lessig explains the concept of a “read-only” culture versus a “read-write culture”. He narrates the story of Sousa’s argument against “talking machines” in which Sousa claimed “we will not have a vocal chord left”, that humans, through extended use of these “infernal machines” will lose the use of their vocal chords much like evolution removed tails of humans evolving from apes. The reasoning for this dramatic claim was that music and song is an activity which allows culture to grow through oral propagation.

Lessig continues his discussion an explains that this culture works in a “read- write” system where people participate in the formation of culture and cultural content by learning and then re-creating or re-iterating existing ideas. This is what Sousa so passionately fought for. The “read-only” culture is the concept that the people who “create” are given powers which prevent other people from re-iterating. Lessing explains it as:

“A culture where creativity was consumed but the consumer is not a creator”

He continues explaining various other scenarios where law making clashes with common sense when it comes to creativity, distribution of ideas/content, and technology. What his talk boils down to is that sometimes laws, though aimed at helping creators of works also run a very high risk of losing cultural growth. Lessig (although arguing for digital culture and technology) says that expression and reiteration, in the form of user-generated content, is a revival of the “vocal chords” that Sousa spoke about. To summarize, looser laws allowed people to recreate and nurture culture “for the love, not for the money.”1

Though in today’s world, it is debatable as to whether the sellers of counterfeit designer bags and clothes are really in the business for love and not for money, one cannot deny that despite the illegality of the act, cultural sharing has already taken place. The man selling you a fake Louis Vuitton bag from the lanes of Mumbai’s Heera Panna shopping center probably has little to no exposure about world wide fashion trends had it not been for his job. To rope in both tourists and locals into his tiny shop (from a sea of over a hundred such stores), this man would have to be the perfect salesman. Meaning, he needs to know enough about his product to sell it.

Here the cultural sharing occurs. He will memorize the names of designers, styles of bags, colour combinations, and other details. He observes what bags other people are carrying, note which ones his customers ask for, and care for the pieces he stocks as if they really were designer made. He has educated himself and will possibly pass on this information to his co-workers or employees. Soon, the name Louis Vuitton will trickle through his family and further to a network of people. In all of this, Louis Vuitton has spent not a single penny on the creation of a bag nor on its advertising. Yet the name has become better known and the emotional want for the bags has increased by a significant number of people. It is understandable that designers may not be looking for publicity in this manner. Their target audience has already been reached on an exclusive level, and that they are making their earnings through the wallets of a certain class of people. But the knowledge and want of these international styles acts as an educational tool for those who wouldn’t have been a part of the LV market anyway.

For a country like India, there is a large gap between those who can afford genuine good and those who cannot. Often, the latter party is also left unaware of what they might be missing out on. Unfortunately, most of India’s population form the Have Not’s and where schools cannot educate about brands and trends, market places can. Of course, like fashion trends, the trickling down of these takes plenty of time from runways to the mass department stores. But it is still important that these processes happen so that the public IQ in terms of aesthetics and keeping in tune with global movements, is raised.

This cycle of observation and imitation contributes to Lessig’s “read-write” culture. Producers of imitations have also known to branch out and slap logos of designers onto scarves, t-shirts, shoes and cell phone cases. The design itself may or may not be aesthetically pleasing but it allows for re-iteration of an existing design and thus the birth of a new one. Thus there has been a certain amount of growth, even if it is in a small quantity.

This cyclical movement of creation and recreation of works echoes Christopher Booker’s writing in The Seven Basic Plots: Why We Tell Stories. Most stories, both classical and modern seem to be derived from seven basic plots that Booker has laboriously described in his book. All of human history has witnessed re-imaginations of these plots in various ways to give readers a taste of something new. Isn’t the re-imagination of goods then not the same concept? Despite imitations being legally wrong, one cannot deny that the companies making the goods (though despite losing millions of dollars per year) are still better geared to dealing with a little lost business as compared to the Heera Panna salesman who might be losing his dinner every time a bag stays on its shelf.


It is impossible to completely protect creators’ works especially in a digitally run age where sharing occurs in milliseconds. With a huge amount of global population having access to some sort of smart phone or internet connection, there can little control over what content is accessed and used online, and even less control of copyright laws applying to the average user created content.

YouTube has taken certain steps to control the unauthorized redistribution of songs via record companies having official accounts from which they may upload music videos, interviews, etc. The site also does allow for users to discriminate between sharing videos under “Fair Use” and “Public Domain” versus “Copyright” or “Creative Commons”. The biggest differentiator between these is that Standard YouTube licensing allows for copyrighted material to be used for educational, research, teaching and some other general purposes—meaning that these are loose rules. The Creative Commons and Copyright Laws are much tighter with the owners of videos/music either giving certain permissions to select people for usage or completely copyright-protected works to be unavailable for re-use.[7] Although the site does regularly crack down on people who violate these rules, it is impossible for it (which has millions of users, both registered and unregistered) to be completely clean of copyright infringement issues.

While YouTube makes much more media available online, the micro-blogging site, Twitter does not have any restrictions about the copying of tweets. In fact, it is common knowledge (and also a common joke) on Twitter that “popular accounts” repeatedly tweet the same content over and over again in order to gain followers and raise their number of retweets. In such cases, even professional comedians’ material are stolen and circulated. Here, with the entanglement of a person’s career and therefore income, wouldn’t it be fair for these creators to ask for protection of their tweets?

Tumblr too faces these issues. As a site that sees the creation of Memes (ie, popular content that becomes viral online), a lot of accounts are considered “popular” even though they might not really be the creators behind these works. On Tumblr however, there is a dependence on the Community to be responsible with content. As a lot of artists and designers use the site for their blogs, their artwork is often seen and appreciated by others by reblogging. However, the average used may save and re-upload the art (with good intentions) but in doing so, they’ve removed the artist completely. In such cases, Tumblr has provided for and Image-Source area where users can link images from their original site. Even when this fails, the Tumblr Community often leaves captions below images and artwork asking people to not delete or change the name of the artist while reblogging. It becomes a social responsibility of users then to give credit where it is due. However, this doesn’t completely solve the problem of recreating or editing original artworks.

What online copyright then boils down to is social duty. While YouTube rightly enforces some copyright rules, it is impossible for the average online contributor to ask for protection of their work despite the fact that the definition of copyright should technically protect this too. Torrents, downloads, online streaming, and a myriad of other sites which are regularly accessed do manage to fall into the grey areas of copyright protection. The general uproar against the shutting down of PirateBay is an obvious example that although people know downloading online is illegal, it is a luxury no one wants to live without. This then becomes another instance of cultural sharing, where despite the illegality, society as a whole has demanded for content.

It can be summed up that copyright laws are a grey area but in general should protect creators against some outright violations that might harm the integrity of their work and prevent unfair recreation and counterfeit. It then becomes the duty of lawmakers and enforcers to be constantly moderating infringement issues, especially those not online, as every hue and cry for infringement may be a circumstantial case. However, the impact of cultural sharing in such lawmaking should not be ignored. Most countries account for educational, research and other such guidelines which allow for sharing within their framework but these are often misused as the loopholes through which people wrongly distribute content. It is important for societies to understand the losses incurred in illegal counterfeit but also for governments’ to respect people’s demand for accessible content without barriers, especially price.

There is no real solution for the Copyright debate except for it people to be socially aware and respect the work of creators. Often, even this get entangled with the Inspiration vs Plagiarism argument when works are recreated and redistributed. It might be a utopian ideal for people to give rightful credits when it is required, and also for them to be completely honest when purchasing goods but this also depends on producers providing their goods at fair prices so as to discourage the need to counterfeit items. Although the entire idea of exclusivity of designer goods does come in to question, it might seem like a good point for creators to chew upon when making their designs available in the market.

The online world is a completely different argument which cannot be subject to the laws that physical goods may have. Copyright laws would then be stepping on the toes of freedom of expression and even censorship if people are not allowed to engage with content because of the creators’ fear of it being stolen. Neither is it possible to apply business rules and have a standard, maybe lower, quality of online content which equates to “fair price”. In fact, many sites (especially those providing online resources, like stock photos) are promoting better Internet culture by providing high quality content but urging users to either give back or credit the creator.

All works by nature involve a human touch and will always face some sort of sharing, either organically or digitally. What is the most important is that the work itself is not subject to the fighting that the creators may be raging with copyright laws. It seems that copyright should become less of an economic issue but a philosophical one. Esthery Dyson aptly summarizes the situation:

“I think copyright is moral, proper. I think a creator has the right to control the disposition of his or her works – I actually believe that the financial issue is less important than the integrity of the work, the attribution, that kind of stuff.”[8]



Knock off the Knock offs by Meghan Collins Trademark-and-Copyright-Infringement

Don’t Copy My Blue Suede Shoes by Beth Hutchens

Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works

Protecting reputation: Malaysia and Singapore,
The Law of Reputation and Brands in the Asia Pacific

Handbook of Copyright Law

Larry Lessig: Laws That Choke Creativity, TED Talks.

YouTube Help, Copyright and Rights Management.

You’ve Got To Be Kidding!: How To Keep Your Job Without Losing Your Integrity, Nan Demars.’ve%20Got%20To%20Be%20Kidding!%3A%20How%20to%20Keep%20Your%20Job%20Without%20Losing%20Your%20Integrity&pg=PT174#v=onepage&q&f=false


[1] Knock off the Knock offs by Meghan Collins Trademark-and-Copyright-Infringement


[2] Don’t Copy My Blue Suede Shoes by Beth Hutchens


[3] Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works


[4] Protecting reputation: Malaysia and Singapore
Page 112,
The Law of Reputation and Brands in the Asia Pacific


[5] Handbook of Copyright Law


[6] Larry Lessig: Laws That Choke Creativity, TED Talks.


[7] YouTube Help, Copyright and Rights Management.

[8] You’ve Got To Be Kidding!: How To Keep Your Job Without Losing Your Integrity, Nan Demars.

What To Expect After Expecting: Senses Final

We use our five senses everyday. Each playing a more important role than the other. What is most important is to not scatter these senses or go through each of them unconsciously.
Through this assignment we tried to incorporate all five senses into one “Touch and Feel” book. Our idea was to create a book targeting new parents after they have their child. It is a fun book filled with the entire experience. We created the book digitally with vibrant colors and somewhat quirky and fun illustrations to show what to do and what not to do. That fulfilled our sense of sight.
We had incorporated cerelac powder, baby soap, towels, diapers, wet wipes etc and separate sheets on how to try each step. This was aimed at helping the buyer to engage with the senses of smell, touch and taste. We also incorporated a CD along with the book filled with songs for each mood of the baby targeting the sense of sound. Through this we tried successfully incorporating the whole experience through our book.

Sense of Sound : Sound Track ( Talk on Time)

Music Video Description

Our Song has in it the monotony and madness of Indiabulls  and how we follow a certain rhythm that we tend to overlook.We feel a sense of repetition in what we do and what we say and so blinded by this robotic time table that we don’t give it another “listen”, needless to say ,The robotics have become a part of our wiring.
We are so trained to do so certain things at a specific time that our conversations have become the same on repeat.
We have tried to show the same pattern through the other people at  indiabulls. The conversation has dulled and has lost its meaning as people do things because they are told to not because they want to.
We will be depicting this monotony through a stop motion film in which there will be doodles drawn in a notebook to show the sound.We have chosen to use a stop motion to put emphasis on the idea of robotics in our soundtrack.
Group Members – Ahilya Rajani, Niharika Mukhi, Taniya Gaba, Vritika Lalwani

Sense of Sound Assignment 2: NH7 Weekender

Map of the dewarists

For one who considers herself aligned more or less with the rock and punk rock scene, trance and EDM music is a genre that seems so far at the other end of the planet, it nearly seems to drop off it. In fact, trance and EDM really do sound like strange, mystical noises from space, with electronic thumping and a mixture of noises one cannot quite put a finger on.
So when I bought tickets for the NH7 Weekender in Pune last year I had to ask myself, “What the hell is an ‘emo’ kid going to do at a festival like this?’. Boy, did that question haunt me for those 3 days.

I must admit, the NH7 Weekender does make a very brave attempt at fulfilling its famous slogan of being the ‘happiest music festival’. The crowds are dressed up in skirts and headbands, smart t-shirts and boots, glitter and flower-crowns. Lanterns are hung across Pune’s Lakshmi grounds as people spill into the fields and await the night.

The stages are dedicated to different genres and (thankfully) the Bacardi Stage and Red Bull Tour Bus are dedicated to rock, metal and indie rock. Unfortunately, they are the least populated. On the other hand, the center, largest stage—the Dewarists—has lineups like Indian Ocean and the Raghu Dixit Project, fusion at its finest but ‘meh’ to me. On one side of the Dewarists was the Eristoff Wolves Den, with strange thumps and bumps that seemed to be emanating from it; and on the other the cave-like DubStation that well-dressed zombies seem to pour out from.

Despite actively avoiding both stages, curiosity (and considerable peer-pressure) got the best of me and I abandoned the mosh-pit to see what the fuss was all about. At first, DubStation seemed to be an underground club, darkened with a temporary roof and carpet as flooring, so unlike the other wonderfully open air stages. The place was thumping to say the least. People seemed completely intoxicated, moving their bodies in perfect sync to the music. They seemed like a shoal of fish moving in time. No eyes left the DJ who played on a small raised platform. The music was so loud it drowned any conversation, although I doubt there was any being held. I stood there awkwardly, not understanding what I was supposed to do. People swayed as if hypnotized but this wasn’t the least bit hypnotic to me. What made these people like the music so much that it totally took over their bodies? I was almost convinced everyone had taken some ceremonious drug before they entered, but then my friends pulled me back outside. Surprising that these regular EDM listeners had no taste for trance and hardcore beats.

Eventually, I arrived at the Wolves Den which made DubStation seem like a walk in the park. There were bodies everywhere. Not a square inch of space was wasted. People were pressed up in a sweaty congealment as they attempted to dance to the EDM that blasted from the stage. Nucleya was playing—not that I really knew who Nucleya was—and everyone seemed to be a long-time fan.

I found his music a shade better than what I had experienced at the DubStation. It was rhythmic, and verses and choruses could be followed. Despite the techno beat and electronic sound there were remixes of old Hindi songs with interesting melodies that served as harmonies to his beats. It was more comprehensible despite its abstract sound. If the song was about tigers or taxis, I wouldn’t have been able to tell the difference but at least I knew when the song started and ended and that was good enough for me.

As night fell, most of the crowd sat themselves on the grass around the Dewarists stage as the line of lanterns lit the sky like tiny floating moons. The stage itself was beautifully decorated with a colourful set that moved with the songs. It was a large map that mapped the journey of the Dewarists, and animals and constellations twinkled along with the beat as the night drew on. This seemed like the most ‘chilled out’ stage. The music wasn’t particularly to my liking but was fantastic to see as a live performance. The mixes between distorted electric guitars and sweetly picked violins was an incredible end to the night.

In retrospect, the Dewarists felt the most like artists. I was adamant in my opinion that DubStation was the last stop for the drunk party goers at the festival. I realize now how insulting that was to the musicians and fans of the genre, much like how it was insulting to see so few rock fans at the Bacardi stage. I know the trance or dubstep or EDM is not my cup of tea, but writing it off as music is unfair. Generations have changed and music had evolved with it. When the 21st century is considered electronic, why shouldn’t the music incorporate that? After all, wasn’t my most prized possession an electric guitar and not an acoustic one? And what about the bright orange distortion pedal I treasured? Wasn’t that too an electronic influence on music?

Ray Toro, ex-guitarist of (my favorite) band My Chemical Romance once tweeted that what makes EDM so special was that it wasn’t simply throwing sounds together. It took real musical talent to find harmonies and melodies in sounds which can appear to be disconnected. And the best part was that there wasn’t a set way to approach EDM. There weren’t any scales or chords that some 3rd century musician dictated, but it took honest talent and a good ear to know which beat went with which boop. Now how could I disagree with Toro?

He was right. As much as I disliked the music, I couldn’t honestly say it wasn’t music at all. It was different and required its own niche. NH7 was one of the platforms where people could really see that, and despite having the opportunity, I missed it.

I’m not saying that I’ve shed the black and become a Skrillex fan. But it is interesting to know he headed a metal band before turning DJ. And now I see how my favorite bands, 30 Second to Mars, Fall Out Boy, Paramore, Panic at the Disco! and even My Chemical Romance have adopted the EDM beats to their advantage. Rock doesn’t necessarily have to be just guitar and drums. With the new addition of the pop/EDM feel, rock too is evolving and changing. Although I sometimes (alright, most of the time) feel that current mainstream fans love EDM because they can dance to it–while at least slightly drunk– at least I can appreciate the effort and knowledge behind the music and be willing to be open minded about this much.

Sense of Sound Assignment 2: Theory of Film and Sounds

Today there is an almost non-stop production and release of films, be it action, comedy, drama or documentaries. As audiences, we have become so desensitized to some elements of filmmaking that we begin to take them for granted. Without said element, we instantly know the film is lacking, but we can’t consciously put our finger on what it is. It is a similar case for sound and sound tracks for films.

Taking the case of popular movies like the Harry Potter series we can see why sound plays such an important part of the general feel of the movie. Being an fantasy film in itself, the soundtrack plays an immensely important role in setting the tone of scenes be it creating suspense or accompanying a duel. In particular, one notices that repetition is used often here. Since the movie involves a fantastical element, wands, spells and the resulting sounds produced by these items are unknown to us. That is, our ears are uneducated and the film must establish these noises so that we may be able to understand various shots, cues and concepts of the film simply by understand what the hum of a Snitch might be like, or the roar of a Hippogriff. One can even recognize Hedwig’s Theme despite the variations (throughout the film series) because its repetition has been etched into our minds as a symbol for the film.

This concept has widely been used for various film series like Star Trek and Pirates of the Caribbean. It creates sounds which viewers begin to relate to and understand so that they may use them later on. Star Trek—aside from its theme track which is familiar to generations of fans—uses specific sounds for the futuristic machinery and technology, which they establish in the early stages of the film, so that when a ship crashes or danger lurks, alarms, sirens and other indicators become a part of our auditory dictionary and do not interfere with explanations and hinder the continuing storyline.

Another technique used is silence. Silence adds drama without needing to add more elements (in terms of sound) into the scene. It lets emotions hit home visually and emotionally. Dallas Buyers Club often used silence to highlight thoughts of characters as they reminisced their past.. It let viewers know the difference between the present and memories with the absence of environmental noise; and also allowed viewers time and breathing area to process shots.

Silence is also used to create tension and instill fear especially in horror films. Paranormal Activity, the Shining, Dead Silence, and largely any horror film uses silence in order to highlight the process of fear the character would be experiencing. During an average day at home if there is a crash upstairs, the family members will fall silent and listen. It is this process that not only guides the character to the specter who caused the crash, but also pulls viewers deeper into the shoes of the character. The camera here might shift to a point-of-view as we too begin the ‘search’. This sets the stage for ’jump-scares’, which are the heart-pounding resolve to the silent build up. These might be the face of a creature or dramatic entrance of a ghoul but the horror visuals are usually accompanied by loud bursts of music or crashes.

Such horror films also use the quiet of the acoustic sounds, ones that get drowned out by the everyday din of activity. The gentle ticking of a clock, the caw of crows, all add to the atmospheric feel of a scene. They foreshadow how the scene might play out and slowly allow tension to be built. Ears perk up as the soundtrack fades away and these sounds also give a sense of expanse or space to a scene. In Potter, the Whomping Willow stands alone with the distant chirping of birds and the Scottish landscape behind giving the Hogwarts grounds an immense sense of size despite not even seeing the castle. The Shining’s iconic scene of floods of blood rushing down empty corridors with a magnified hum too gives a shocking feel to the brief visual. In contrast, Dallas Buyers uses a high-pitched hum to highlight the protagonists’ adrenaline rush before a bull-ride and later even his state of drunkenness. Gravity contrasts the pressing silence with the anxious breathing of astronauts to highlight their loneliness. Thus acoustic sounds allow filmmakers to enhance the feel of a scene with subtle, realistic noises.

An interesting aspect about sound is that many sounds have already been imprinted into our minds and hearing them immediately brings up specific visuals. The modern microphone is what further allows sounds to retain their tonal value, thus never loosing its true essence even when used in a different space. In some films this characteristic about sound recording can be both a hindrance, or a cleverly used tool. In terms of hindrance, some sounds which we are familiar with, resonate or carry forward certain characteristics of the space it was created in. For example, a nervously shouted ‘Hello!’ into a cave will always have a certain echo which if not captured on a recording, fail to establish the vastness or emptiness of the cave in a film despite the visual being present.

Animated films however are constantly breaking this idea by merging sounds and creating new ones, giving them their own characteristics without depending heavily on the recording space. A great example of this is Pixar’s Wall-E which involved the creation of many mechanical sounds for the protagonist robot as it moved across different terrain and interacted with the world. However, in studio, Ben Burt (sound designer) used a variety of old devices, cans, metal sheets and many more objects to create sounds as well as their subtle space characteristics, which create a very accurate and believable depiction of the world despite the animation. Thus, modern recording and the emergence of sound design has increased the importance of good sound effects in film as they help create worlds, spaces and experiences even though they may not exist in reality.

In conclusion, sound not only needs to be captured correctly, but also thought about, scrutinized and used appropriately. Sound design is no longer left for post-production, and is actively thought about during filming as well. It becomes an integral part of storytelling, which allows filmmakers to concise, change, or elongate certain shots without needing to have the origin of the sound being shown in the frame. It ties in closely with character experiences and allows for viewers to be completely hooked onto the visuals. Thus sound can be considered just as important in film as the accompanying visual. After all…watching a horror movie without any sound wouldn’t be as scary, would it?

Below is a video showing how sounds were created for Wall-E ad how sound design played a huge role in the film.

Idea of Visual Pun : Muscle of Marines


This is an Ilustration of the idea for our visual pun.

We chose to do Muscle of Marines,we tried to depict the muscle portion in the form of flexing biceps with symbols that are related to the Marine.corps.We also kept in mind the whole idea of it looking like a dumbbell to show strength.

The People in our group are Taniya Gaba, Vritika Lalwani, Niharika Mukhi and Ahilya Rajani

Sense of Sound: Sounds of India Bulls

Sound cover

CD cover

Sound Narrative

One enters the giant glass panelled building and immediately hears the almost whisper of security as you trip through the detectors. Bags are checked with perfected pageantry until the lift echoes its arrival in the lobby. Another robotic voice blandly wishes you a good morning and silently watches—as doors slide shut— you scrambling awkwardly to scan your finger at school doors…

    Oh God not this again! you think, as you are once again delayed. Tremendously late, you hurry to class and excuse yourself, quickly joining your classmates in the task for the day. Quickly, its break time and just as you leave the stuffy halls you roll your eyes at the regular statutory warning.
You’re descending to temporary freedom, escaping into a cup of caffeine your body craved for every since the day began. You don’t want to leave but you’re running late again.
You’re back, ready to get to work, then another warning is issued. You can almost taste the freedom as the day nears its end. The brilliant cry of the metal turnstile as you stride away…the hustle of fans as they fight to take you home…oh, when can I leave!?

Vritika Lalwani

From the beginning,

bags to the checking,

it all starts with a good morning!

Eight thirty calls for apologising.

ID Cards are the new way to scare,

not having coffee bean is rare!

Banning us from having the coffee in unfair,

How they do it,without any care?

At the end of a day so drab,

all anyone wants to grab,

hopefully, is a cab!

 Ahilya Rajani

   The aim of this assignment was to record sounds that we hear in and around India bulls through the day. In spite of hearing most of these sounds everyday we tend to ignore them. This is because we are so immune to them that our brain chooses not respond to them simply because it is already registered over and over again.

Voices are the key to human interaction and play an important role in integrating the sound that we hear. As we went along recording sounds through the two buildings, we realized that, almost every voice/sound we hear has a particular time and tone that repeats. Our interaction is restricted to a specific set of people and machines. Rather people who behave like machines. We’ve come to form a monotonous pattern. Every time a button is pressed/ a beep is heard, it is supported either by somebody telling us what to do or correcting us. We live mechanical lives where each individual goes through their day in an orderly fashion.

This clipping reflects upon a casual day that passes by so casually, we don’t even stop to think about the conversations we’ve had in return damaging our memory of the people we’ve seen.

Taniya Gaba

Pattern as a part of our lives are instances we’re often accustomed or habituated to in our daily lives so much so that they become a part of our mundane routines. We tend to make visual associations far more easily as compared to sound associations, but repetition tends to educate the ear. How often do we distinctly focus on sounds we hear every single day of our lives? So accustomed to these sounds, we ignore them.

“Take it in from one ear and remove it from the other.”

This phrase, although inversely, illustrates how we tend to ignore these sounds we hear, whether it’s reaching late to class, showing our identity cards or even scanning our baggage. This mechanical routine we follow, tends to be “unheard” just as soon as it is spoken.

Mechanical and routined in its composition, sound cannot be isolated. Backed by mindless chatter, distinct repetitive voices have become deeply integrated into our daily lives in such a manner that they merge into this chatter we faintly focus on. This mechanical composition of “chatter” tends to talk on time.

Niharika Mukhi




Sacred and the Visual

                                                                            Chola Sculptures

The Chola sculptures of South India, created during the Chola Dynasty between the 9th to 13th centuries, are some of the most well known artifacts from the Indian subcontinent. They represent the deep roots of religion in traditional Hindu art during the Dravidian era. These were used traditionally for ritual or darshan, and King Arulmoli’s (who adopted the title of Rajaraja, King of Kings) temple at Ranjavur housed almost 60 of these bronze images of various deities. [1]

Another significant aspect of these sculptures is the way in which they were created. The method involved the artist creating a highly detailed version of the final sculpture out of wax and covering it with layers of clay with a drain-like channel at the base of the sculpture. Then the entire piece was baked in a kiln, melting and draining the wax, and hardening the clay to form a hollow mold. Then the metal was poured into the hot clay mold and left to cool for several days. The final sculpture was obtained by breaking away the clay; polishing and smoothening out the bronze. [2]
This entire process is called the Lost Wax technique, and a fascinating aspect of it is that the clay mold once used can never be used again—thus no two bronze casts would ever be exactly alike. Even the amount of detailing done on the deities was done using warmed, soft beeswax, and required careful precision so that it could be replicated in the mold, and then onto the final sculpture.[3]
The sculpture that I liked the most is that of Lord Brahma, with his four heads, seated cross-legged on a lotus. Considered the Hindi God of Creation, his smiling features and wide shouldered posture give the sculpture an ethereal feel. Much like other Chola sculptures, his bodily proportions are perfectly balanced, with a wide collar, narrow waist and long arms ending with gently curved fingertips. As the Creator, he himself seems to be the ideal of beauty and natural form. A special aspect is that of the detail given to his body and attire. Not only are his limbs beauty crafted, but the details of the beads, creases in fabric and even his eyelids are so well done one can only remain in awe of the sculpture as well as the amazing skill of the sculptor.

[1] The Sensuous and the Sacred: Chola Bronzes from South India
Exhibition Overview, pg 2-3

[2] The Sensuous and the Sacred: Chola Bronzes from South India
Creating a South Indian Temple Bronze, pg 9

Click to access CholaTeachersResources.pdf

[3] Art of Cholas


This dance, originating in Spain and Portugal, is a courtship one, where the narration involves a girl and boy falling in love with the girl snubbing the boy and then finally chasing after him. Originally, the dance is supposed to be between two people only with little to no touching but facing each other.
This lively dance was usually accompanied by upbeat music at a 3/8 or 3/4th time. Guitars, tambourines, mandolins and castanets play an important role in the dance, both musically and theatrically.
The dance, being too dramatic to be performed in halls or ballrooms required its own stage and set which added to its spectacular setting. This led to women and men having their own specific costumes. The women wore short silk skirts (considered short in that time, not anymore) which were puffed up with lace and the men wore embroidered shirts and waistcoats while playing the tambourine.
A significant mark of this dance is the tapping of feet and heels or clapping of hands to the measures. This dance is said to be the basis of all other Spanish dances, the most well known being the Flamenco.[1]
The first instance of the dance onstage was in 1720, as part of the ‘Entremés El novio de la aldeana’ by Francisco de Leefadeal.[2] This soon led it to become popular even amongst the aristocrats who found it highly fashionable.
A Fandango between two men however is a sort of dance-off. While one dancer performs some steps at a certain pace, the other adds to it thus building up an entire choreography until one of them is the ‘winner’. Thus the term Fandango became synonymous with an argument or quarrel.