Narrative: Man runs away from a mysterious enemy during a rainy night. He manages to hide in an underground sewers. As things are seemingly calmer, he then removes a wound from his flesh painfully and tries to make contact via his communication device but it fails. Suddenly, something menacing approaches from a distance. He loads his gun and awaits in fear…
Sound 2 – Fantasy
Narrative: Breaking down a cave wall with magic, a group walks inside, treading carefully. The sound of creatures lurking in the dark echoes the area. Soon, they get ambushed and fight the vicious beasts with weapons and magic.
Music used: Jesper Kyd – Approaching Target
Audiomachine – Earthshaker Drums
Acherontic Dawn – Tales of Dust
Breakdown and Process – Technique
Layering: Overlaying of different sounds to created layer effect
Sound 1: Combination of doom suspense music, impending footsteps and ambience
Sound 2: Fight scenes have many things going on in one time, thus layering was very important to ensure that audience can imagine the scenes vividly (e.g. a scene of a beast running – sound of growl to a roar, heavy running on rocks, warrior preparing his sword, swing of the sword and hit on the beast)
Sound 2 working file, focusing on the action sequence
Panning: To suggest positioning of character/object and movement
Sound 1: Footsteps coming in from the left then towards the center – suggestion that protagonist comes from the left of the screen + Crackling of leaves from the right
Sound 2: Magic sound travels from left to right proceeded by rock breaking sound on the right
Music: Cueing sounds with the music was imperative to create the intended feeling, e.g. when the music rises in tension, the scene is expected to take for a more intense turn and thus the sound effects have to suggest that as well
Sound 1: At the last segment of the piece, increasing suspense suggested by the music accompanied with the scary ambience sound, sound effects of scared breathing
Sound 2: Uses music a lot to indicate/prompt the next scene and add on to dramatic effect, e.g. violin strings increasing in pitch suggests tension – thus sound of beast growl becomes more ominous/loud, to lead up to an ambush scene
Volume – Background and Foreground: I suggested depth in the sound in terms of softer background noises and louder sounds to show the distance.
Sound 1: Rain sounds in the background as ambience (background), sudden loud footsteps and cracking of leaves to show the depth that protagonist is at very close proximity to the screen (foreground)
Sound 2: Creature sounds toggled in different volumes (softer to imply further distance) and effects (echo to imply creatures are further away in the cave, their voices reverberating), this is to suggest depth in the piece and positioning of the creatures (some lurking in the background and some charging forward).
Volume – Emphasis: To emphasise certain scenes, I would increase the volume either abruptly (via Touch) or gradually (via Latch) for build up.
Sound 1: The sound of the drones coming towards the protagonist was initially soft (heard from a distance) and gradually increases in volume to show how its approaching nearer and nearer
Sound 2: The magic casting sound and ending metal clang sound was emphasised with Touch, sudden increase in volume to depict forceful impact
Sound mastering: Overall, toggling the volume of the different sounds was important to create a balanced master mix. Even if some sounds were meant to be louder, I made sure that no particular sound was jarringly loud and all sounds would flow for a cinematic and professional feel.
Experimentation of Sound recording
I experimented with various sounds through Audacity. I recorded some of creature sounds and loud thuds. Here’s a video of the process of editing of sounds to get intended effect.
Research – References
I mainly looked like survival horror elements from games and films (e.g. The Hunger Games, The Maze Runner) whereby the character is helpless, fearful for something unknown that is to come. The element of suspense would be stronger through the music and sound effects (e.g. ominous sound from a distance) to imply fear.
Prologue scene of a game, ‘Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain’, where protagonist wakes up in a hospital that soon turns into a bloody massacre. Sound design is done very well to show immense feeling of helplessness and weakness, along with fear for life.
Suspenseful scene in ‘War of the Worlds’, a Steven Spielberg sci-fi movie where the characters are hiding away from a terrific robot in the basement. Sound design like heavy breathing, light steps and doom suspense music are all used to make the viewers fear for the characters.
Fantasy epic films often make use of music to emphasise certain scenes. Lord of the Rings is the example I will highlight.
A scene whereby the characters walk into a cave and discover enemies hiding in the cave (orcs and cave troll), then proceeds to fight them. It can be seen how the music score is timed very nicely with the sound effects for dramatisation.
Another reference I used was fantasy game trailers, in which this is ‘The Elder Scrolls Online’, because of the great sound design and particularly even with the lack of dialogue. With no speech, the emphasis was purely on the sound effects and music to tell a story.
‘Futuristic Fantasy’ was the underlying idea behind my narrative, thus the aesthetic I was for my look was futuristic, edgy yet at the same time elegant and delicate. This is to convey the fantastical beauty in the technology, the wonderment in the third space. To add on to the fantastical look, I might use embellishments. I designed two different pieces, with some experimental preliminary sketches included. Most of my colors consist of black/grey/white as I was going for the high-tech look(though color palette is not confirmed). Regarding texture, I want the contrast as well – soft chiffon/organza ruffles alongside the smooth and crisp.
For inspiration, I looked at futuristic fashion. These were the pieces that striked out to me:
Anouk Wipprecht’s Smoke Dress – I was intrigued by the high-tech yet elegant look.
Chomat’s Boning Dress – The architectural and geometric element in the design inspired me.
The main highlight for this piece would be the boning structure, which I plan to use boning as the material. Its rigidity and geometrical structure purposefully contrasts with the soft and flowy costume underneath.
I plan to use comfortable fabric for the top, preferably cotton or lycra. For the skirt, I plan to use grey, slightly shimmery organza. In terms of wearables, the boning structure has many possibilities. It could expand via sensors, or perhaps LED lights used to light it up.
However, its rigidity might be challenging due to movement from dance. A possible solution would be to make the piece malleable, or structure it in a way that the arms will not be impeded during the performance.
Once again the clean structure will be used to contrast with the delicate ruffle skirt. The ruffle skirt can be expand via sensors, and the look can be achieved by the boiling of fabric. The color of the dress could be an ombre from white to grey, and the material more stiff. Once again, boning can be used as the shoulder pads to add the edgy, futuristic look.
During my exposure to the subject of ‘Touch’, interacting with one another via the third space, I explored my thoughts regarding the topic.
Looking into virtual space made me realised how it was something that we take for granted. It is so integral in our everyday lives, yet we often do not observe how it affects us inside. Only when we started consciously taking note of the third space then we realised how it matters.
My main takeaway from the virtual touch was that it is not real. No matter how close and seemingly intimate, it will never be or replace the real tactile feeling. Something magical is missing in virtual touch compared to physical touch, might in fact leave us a little empty in the communication.
Yet, the feeling of ‘touching’ or even ‘hugging’ someone virtually, while not having physical contact – it very surreal and interesting. It even challenges the boundaries of what is real, the distinction between physical presence and telepresence. These statements were strongly referenced by Paul Sermon’s ‘Telematic Dreaming’.
Paul Sermon’s Telematic Dreaming, first exhibited in 1992.
The installation questioned the physical presence and telepresence. Though they are separated by geographical locations, this piece allowed the users to exist beyond their own time/space and create an alarming sense of touch. Also, the use of speakers allowed intimate conversations to kickstart. A vivid interaction between Paul Sermon and the audience was thus created, giving an out-of-the-world experience to the participants. – Research Critique on Telematic Dreaming
Therefore, this was a thought-provoking piece that tested the boundaries of distance, whether the sense of intimacy can be crossed over to the third space (and even invade on personal space), and the topic on reality versus virtual reality.
At the same time, the third space is very susceptible to imperfection. There will always bound to be glitch in the media, at times when we had virtual classroom we might face connection issues e.g. someone would disconnect, or their screen would freeze/glitch at times even. It would often cause us some annoyance. Yet, sometimes this glitch might be a beautiful thing as it produces nice results aesthetically, like ‘The Glitch of PAL’ by Rosa Menkman.
The Glitch of PAL by Rosa Menkman, example of an aesthetically interesting glitch.
Therefore, these were my thoughts about ‘Touch’ that I am very keen to explore in the performance. Next, I started to conceptualise for it.
Conceptualisation + Narrative Overview
Overall narrative: Transcendence into the Third Space, a fantastical “utopia” > Disillusionment > Possible endings (closure – fading away/open-ended – entrapment)
Telematic presence is a constant theme that needs to be addressed on. Moreover a strong, surprising sense of touch needs to be established whereby the audience should feel that the performers are even transcending their own time and space. This can be achieved using the wearables. During the interaction with Angeline, our actions should transcend our current space and make the audience feel as if we are in the same plane as them. It could be like as simple as making her dress interact when we perform a trigger action. For example, through a hand movement (performing magic gestures/switching on a button etc.) we can ‘trigger’ her dress, which then lights up with LED lights. Thus it might seem that we ‘magically’ lit up her dress through a hand movement, and as if we are in the same room as her physically, though we are not. This would then challenge the physical presence and telepresence, creating a deceiving reality that is more surreal.
Performers can look very intrigued and in wonderment, because the third space is a very interesting concept and transcending across space feels like a fantasy.
In ‘Hakanai’, there’s this sense of fantasy being established with the movement and the dancer’s expression.
Aesthetics wise, I thought of this piece like a ‘futuristic fantasy’. During the interaction between the performers, a surreal feel can be suggested through the fluid moves and aesthetics of the set/costumes.
I thought it might be interesting if halfway in the performance there is a staged glitch, which the performers can act like they are in dismay too. This is to show the reality of how the media is always imperfect and we often face unforeseen circumstances which makes us annoyed. Yet, at the same time the glitch needs to still look aesthetic, to prove that it is spontaneously appealing. Therefore, the concept of an imperfect third space might be a climax.
Moreover, the performers could convey the lack of reality in the third space that leaves one empty, through sad dance movements and music.
The ending of the performance might be a closure or might not be. It could end with a proper conclusion to the narrative, for example fading away in sadness when the connection goes off slowly. Another option would be it going somewhere new with the narrative that leaves the audience to probe further. Maybe it could be as if the performers got so immensed and they went into the virtual reality itself. It could bring out the sense of entrapment. Then the audience would ask, did they get trapped there? What happened to them?
There are many possibilities with what this item can encompass and there options are only some considerations regarding the direction we can go towards.