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Tisch Soundwalk and The Machine Stops

Tisch Stairwell Soundwalk

Our class project was to create a Soundwalk within the Tisch building. I worked in a group with my fellow students Chian Huang and Ella Chung.

Our idea was to record the audio of ourselves walking from the main entrance of Tisch up all 12 flights of stairs to the top of the building. We added sound effects to our recording that were inspired by the departments or activities of each floor.

To go on this soundwalk, enter the Tisch building located at 721 Broadway in New York City. Present your ID to the guard and walk to the stairs to the right of the elevator. Go through the door and walk up all the steps.

As you go up the stairs, you might get tired. That's OK, we were fatigued as well. You'll notice the sound of our footsteps slows down as we get to the higher floors. The sound effects also become more elaborate.

For reference, here is a table of the departments on each floor:

Floor # Department
2 Drama: Theatre
3 Drama
4 ITP
5 Acting; Theatrical Production
6 Cinema Studies
7 Dramatic Writing; Film & Television
8 Animation; Photography & Imaging
9 Film & Television
10 Film & Television
11 Film & Television
12 Counseling Services, Dean's Office, Film & Television, Special Programs

Making this soundwalk was more enjoyable than I expected. I also very much liked using Adobe Audition. It's a great tool that I will use in the future for more projects.

The Machine Stops

Our reading for the week is the sci-fi short story The Machine Stops, by E.M. Forster.

This story was written in 1909. Somehow I didn't quite realize this fact until the very last page despite the year clearly appearing below the title at the beginning of the piece. In any case, it is a surprising thing to discover at the end. The writing style was such that I would have believed it was a contemporary story.

Science fiction is often an allegory for the real world, and this story is no different. The story tells of a world where technology has advanced to the point where all human contact and interaction is through a giant machine. People don't need to travel from place to place or do much of anything because all of their needs are met by the machine. As a result, society and culture evolved to devalue actual human contact.

The metaphor here is the Internet. Much human contact is now through the Internet. People don't need to travel as much because of tools like Google Chat or Skype. Needs can be met from Amazon.com with same day shipping. Our technology will evolve to become more like the world of this story. Will our culture evolve in similar ways?

I don't want to give away the story ending but you can probably guess it does not end well for the inhabitants of the machine.

Introduction To Audio With DSLRS

We also needed to watch a video on Audio with DSLR cameras. I have some questions.

First, I'm skeptical the microphones worked as well the video makes it seam. Did they edit out noise and add a background music track to cover up residual noise? And a Koala wind screen? Seriously? Why can't that be made from synthetic materials?

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