Artefact 2: Sleepless

A poem depicting a conversation that a young woman has with herself whilst trying to sleep. The aim is to bring to light the battle many people can have during the night, with their anxious side of their mind.

Advertisements

Fear: Secondary Research & Idea Development

Although my second artefact would be about sleepless nights, it was clear that this usually stems from anxiety. Generalised anxiety disorder a common condition affected approximately 5% of the UK population (NHS Choices, 2016). The NHS websites states that there are several factors that play a role in this, including “overactivity in areas of the brain involved in emotions and behaviour” (2016). This information was vital to learn and I wanted to show my brain overreacting in my artefact.

I found a film on Nowness.com, a website that was posted on the 360mc Moodle page. It’s discussing what it is that men fear most (as the title of it suggests), but other than the visuals, it is expressed through spoken word. I thought this was a really interesting way of putting across one’s thoughts as it gave the short film an artistic flare, because it’s not something I’m used to seeing/hearing, especially in mainstream films. I liked this approach, so I decided that I would write a poem about my sleepless nights.

https://www.nowness.com/story/what-men-fear-most-bloke-fears-elliott-barnes-worrell

(Nowness, n.d)

I also watched a YouTube video by the channel College Humor, called ‘What’s It’s Like To Have Insomnia’ (2015). This took a comedic approach to not being able to sleep, which isn’t something I necessarily wanted to do. I did however like that it personified the character’s mind. Their thoughts became a new person and it was easier for the audience to understand what was going on in the character’s head. This is something I want to do, but I don’t want to make it too obvious by using a split screen and making the actor to wear different clothes etc. This is because, as mentioned in a previous blog, I don’t want to pander to the audience.

(College Humor, 2015)

The band Twenty Øne Piløts are known for making songs about the anxiety, suicide and depression (Facebook, n.d), so I decided to listen to some of their songs. The song below really stuck out to me.

(twenty one pilots, 2015)

Genius claims that the song Ride is about the journey of life because, “Throughout the song, Tyler’s lyrics indicate he feels like dying is easy, but finding someone or something to live for is life’s challenge” (2016). This is something  I’ve always felt and thought but I’ve never known how to put into words. Their songs and lyrics were great for getting ideas on how to write a poem about my worries. I thought I would challenge myself and attempt to write about death and my loved ones too.

Below are pictures of the poem that I wrote:

The idea is that someone will be trying to sleep, however their mind is not allowing them to. Claude Levi-Strauss discusses binary opposites, suggesting that it is needed in order to create conflict (2008). The binary opposites in my piece will be my logical and anxious side of my mind having a battle. I think having this conflict will make my artefact more interesting to watch, rather than just hearing someone complain to the camera.

Below is my original video that I showed in class. It was in the editing process when it was shown and I intend to remake it, as I thought there were a few problems with it. For example, I felt that the video was too dark and it also wasn’t completely clear when my anxious side was talking.

Because of this I wanted to look closer at lighting, in order to get rid of these problems. I watched the video below which explained how to set up lights for dark scenes.

As explained in the video one of the reasons a video can look grainy, as I think mine did, is because the ISO was too high. As a result, I used a brighter light and a lower ISO. I then colour corrected the video in post, to make the scene look darker yet still viewable. In the video Ryan quickly mentions how we psychologically link blue light to moonlight. He didn’t talk about it much but I was intrigued as to why this was. Millerson talks about this is the book Lighting for Television and Film, saying that in lower light situations our eyes’ colour response changes and “undergoes a spectral shift towards blue” (2016). This explains why blue light is used so often to portray moonlight and because of this, I used a blue filter over the LED panel in my updated artefact.

In order to make it clearer when the anxious side of the mind was talking, I wanted to use a different coloured filter. Orange is opposite from blue in the colour wheel (Bellamy, 2004), but I didn’t want to be so obvious by using the exact opposing colour. So I used a red filter instead. Because the red was representing the anxious side, I wanted the colour to become deeper as time went on in order to show that the mind was getting stronger and spiraling out of control.

Bibliography

Bellamy, A. (2004) Systematic/subjective Colour selection. Lausanne, Switzerland: AVA Publishing SA.

College Humor (2015) What’s It’s Like To Have Insomnia. [online] Available from: <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WgYpYlSRWSE&gt; (Accessed: 31 October 2016).

Facebook (no date) Twenty One Pilots – about. Available at: <https://www.facebook.com/pg/twentyonepilots/about/?ref=page_internal&gt; (Accessed: 28 October 2016).

Film Riot (2014) How to light for darkness! Available at: <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=15tYFWR4cvA&t=586s&gt; (Accessed: 20 November 2016).

Genius (2016) Ride Lyrics. [online] Available from: <http://genius.com/6393723&gt; (Accessed 29 October 2016)

Levi-Strauss, C. (2008) Structural anthropology. New York: Basic Books.

Millerson, G. (1999) Lighting for television and film. 3rd edn. Oxford: Elsevier Science.

NHS Choices (2016) Generalised anxiety disorder in adults. Available at: <http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/anxiety/pages/introduction.aspx&gt; (Accessed: 28 October 2016).

Nowness (n.d) What Men Fear Most. [online] Available from: <https://www.nowness.com/story/what-men-fear-most-bloke-fears-elliott-barnes-worrell&gt; (Accessed: 28 October 2016)

twenty one pilots (2015) twenty one pilots: Ride (Video). [online] Available from: <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pw-0pbY9JeU&gt; (Accessed: 29 October 2016)

Fear: Primary Research

For the topic of fear, I decided to delve into something more personal than the previous artefact. I regularly have nights where it takes me hours to fall asleep because I’ve been worrying about the problems I have, or my mind creates new ones out of thin air. It’s almost as if I fear going to bed because I’m weary of this happening again, or worse, I fear my own mind.

I created a survey using Survey Monkey, which can be found here: <https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/WFLDM37&gt;. This survey was created so I could learn whether other people suffer from worrisome nights too and whether it was a big enough problem to make an artefact about. I received 27 responses and because this survey is anonymous, I’m not sure if I got a big enough variety of people. In hindsight, I think I could have asked people’s gender and age as it could have helped me see who this problem affects more.

I found that with surveys, people prefer multiple choice questions as opposed to open ended questions. This is made evident as 15% of the 27 people who completed the survey skipped the first question. This didn’t matter too much, as I only asked the question “How would you define fear?” to see if people tended to think the same way about the word. I had a feeling this would happen, which is why I didn’t add more open ended questions like asking what they tend to worry about at night, for example.

screen-shot-2016-11-07-at-13-10-28

Over 85% of the people who completed my survey said that they do in fact worry at night, and knowing that others have a similar issue to me, made it more real. I think this gave my final artefact some integrity and justified me making a piece about it. What’s more, it seems that most people tend to worry more during the night rather than the day, which can be seen in the picture below.

screen-shot-2016-11-07-at-13-10-15

The fact that only 3 people of 27 never worry at night was quite sad to me. This is when I thought that creating this piece would not only be a therapeutic release for me, but it would also be something for people to know that they’re not alone with this problem.

screen-shot-2016-11-07-at-13-12-17

The reason I asked my final question is because of something that Clifton brought up in class. He asked whether we think people get more or less anxious as they get older. This intrigued me and I wanted to see what people thought. Unsurprisingly 70% of those surveyed thought that we tend to worry more as we get older.

screen-shot-2016-11-07-at-13-13-23

I’m not sure how to add to my primary research at this point, in order to get something that will be of value in creating this artefact. I could possibly ask people in person some more open ended questions, such as “What do you worry about at night?”, but I won’t be doing this for a couple of reasons. One reason is because I really don’t want to make others feel uncomfortable or vulnerable by asking them such a personal question. The other reason is because I don’t think knowing this would add anything to my artefact, because I already have my own fears and insecurities which I am going to talk about. I think that if I know what people’s most common fear/worry is, I’ll end up making my artefact towards that in order to connect with more people. But what I want to do is create something that has meaning to me. I don’t think audiences need to be pandered to, they can still understand and connect to the artefact, even if they don’t experience exactly what is going to be discussed.

Bibliography

SurveyMonkey (2016) Fear during the night. [online] Available from: <https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/WFLDM37&gt; [Accessed: 4 Nov 2016]

Food: Reflection

I think that the soundscape that was created for the first artefact is technically proficient. In comparison to something I would have made in my first year on this course, I’m really happy with the finished product as it is very clean and tidy. It also gets across the idea that I was looking at the link between food and our ability to hear; my ambition to make people acknowledge this link was achieved.

I think as producer I could have improved on making sure everyone was on task. Although everyone did brilliantly during the production and post, I felt that during the pre production stage, the research wasn’t separated between us evenly. In the future, I’d like to pick up things like this sooner in order to reduce the chance of people slacking.

The research and development work I have put into this artefact has made me realise the importance of contextual research. In hindsight, I think I should have done a lot more contextual research rather than going into depth about the correlation between our sense of hearing and food. For example, the two experiments that we carried out wasn’t completely necessary as it didn’t add to our development and there were already experiments out in the world that we could have referred to.

I also think that maybe we could have pushed ourselves a little further to make something more creative. While this piece was good, and what we explored was an interesting topic, I believe that the overall artefact was quite bland as a result. I think this is because we were under pressure and we wanted to create something achievable in the little time we had.

Food: Secondary Research & Idea Development

My secondary research started by re-watching a video that inspired me to study this topic for the artefact. The YouTube video taught me about studies that had been done related to the matter of whether we can “taste with our ears”. For example, there is something called The Fajita Effect, where if you’re in a restaurant and see someone order sizzling food, you’re more likely to buy it for yourself.

 (BrainCraft, 2016)

Much of what is said in this video is repeated in the book Food Oral Processing: Fundamentals of Eating and Sensory Perception (Chen and Engelen, 2012), which I read in order to find a better source of information. There were studies done which showed that changing the sound a food makes could affect our perception of it. The sounds our food makes when we bite into it can contribute up to 15% our perception of freshness and crispness (Chen and Engelen, 2012).

I also looked at online articles, and one that we as a group found interesting was about how your environment can affect your taste. The article offered the idea that our ability to taste sweet and salty foods can be suppressed when surrounded by loud noises (Science Friday, 2016). We wanted to test this out so we created an experiment, which you can learn about in my blog post discussing my primary research.

From this research we had a few ideas, which are listed below:

  1. Someone eating the same food everyday but the sound changes each time
  2. Person losing their hearing (gradually or all of a sudden?). How does this affect their taste?
  3. Recreating an existing video but with different sounds

The first 2 ideas needed to show a passing of time, meaning the actor(s) would have to have a change of outfits. And given the time constraints, we weren’t able to make these ideas into reality. As for the third concept, we weren’t sure if we were allowed to use footage from online.

I looked back at the opening scene of Eat Drink Man Woman, which Ross Varney had originally shown in a lecture.

(Iazaman, 2007)

I think this clip was important for inspiration as the sounds of cooking were very prevalent. However something I realised is that it relies on not just the sound of the food, but the visuals too, as almost everything we hear can be seen on screen. It also includes music that would be stereotypically linked with China to give us a sense of where the film is taking place. I believe that this music distracts from the diegetic sounds, such as of the frog’s bones being broken or them being deep fried in a pan.

When researching, I came across a Youtube page called Peaceful Cuisine (2016), which has approximately half a million subscribers. Their page has a playlist called ASMR – No Music Videos – where the Youtuber shows the audience how to create a meal or drink, but there is no music playing underneath and no one is talking in the video. An example of this can be found below:

(Peaceful Cuisine, 2015)

The sounds of the chocolate chips being poured into the bowl for example, or the cocoa butter being chopped, really shone through in this video. But just like the scene in Eat Drink Man Woman, the visuals in this video were just as important as the sound.

What if there were no visuals? Would it still have an impact with the audience? Anita came up with the idea of creating a soundscape, as this would make the audience only concentrate on the sounds. We decided that in this soundscape, we too would be making a meal, just like in the videos above.

I went onto SoundCloud to look for food/cooking soundscapes, and there was an abundance of them! Below are just a couple that I listened to:

(Zimt, 2016)

(Greco, 2016)

I noticed that none of these soundscapes have any gaps where nothing is happening, or where someone is walking to the cooker for example. It constantly cut straight to the action and there was no waiting around. This was a great way to keep the audience’s attention and we too added this into our soundscape, especially because we had to keep our artefact under 3 minutes.

Once we decided on making a soundscape, I did some contextual research. Murray Schafer introduced the term “soundscape” approximately 50 years ago. In the book, The Soundscape: Our Sonic Environment and the Tuning of the World, Schafer examines Hi-Fi & Lo-Fi sounds. Although Schafer talks about rural and urban settings, suggesting that “the country is generally more hi-fi than the city” (Schafer 1994), I think this information can be extrapolated to fit in with our cooking soundscape. Schafer writes, “The hi-fi soundscape is one in which discrete sounds can be heard because of the low ambient noise level”(1994). With lo-fi sounds, perspective is lost. We wanted our soundscape to be “hi-fi”, so we made sure we filmed each sound separately so that perspective wasn’t lost and there was a low ambient noise level. This was good to learn as helped my understanding of how soundscapes can be categorised. Barry Truax wrote in, “Acoustic Communication”, that soundscapes put emphasis on “how that environment is understood by those living within it – the people who are in fact creating it” (2001). It is up to the audience to decide what is happening in the soundscape, they are really the one’s creating a story and choosing what is being cooked.

I think my artefact fits perfectly with a website that I found. It’s called The Ration (n.d) and on it, there is a map. There are a number of locations that can be clicked on and when done so, it is possible to listen to a soundscape of the kinds of foods that are sold or prepared there. This is a great way of showing people what’s available in the area and I can imagine this soundscape being put on a map like this. If I developed my soundscape into my FMP, I think I could possibly create an interactive map too. Birmingham is my home. It’s such a diverse place, full of different races, cultures and stories. On the map, there would be different areas of Birmingham that can be clicked on, where you can listen to someone cooking a meal that links to their cultural background.

Bibliography:

BrainCraft (2016) Can you taste with your ears? [online] Available at: <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1nnkm9OyzvM&gt; (Accessed: 16 October 2016)

Chen, J. and Engelen, L. (2012) Food oral processing: Fundamentals of eating and sensory perception. London: Wiley-Blackwell

Greco, B. (2016) Cooking Soundscape. [online] Available at: <https://soundcloud.com/user-660113588/cooking-soundscape&gt; (Accessed: 17 October 2016)

Iazaman (2007) Eat Drink Man Woman Opening Scene. [online] Available at: <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zs5WiddD7i0&gt; (Accessed: 13 October 2016)

Jones, N. and Wolfson, R. (no date) INFOGRAPHIC: SOUNDSCAPE OF A FRESNO FOOD DESERT. Available at: http://berkeley.news21.com/theration/soundscapes/ (Accessed: 25 Oct 2016)

Peaceful Cuisine (2015) [No Music] How to make Double Chocolate Hazelnut Biscotti. [online] Available at: <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hFy5Y22Eyyw&gt; (Accessed: 17 October 2016)

Schafer, M.R. (1994) The Soundscape: Our Sonic Environment & the Tuning of the World. Rochester, VT: Destiny Books.

Science Friday (2016) Does Sound Affect the Way We Taste. [online] Available at: <http://www.sciencefriday.com/articles/does-sound-affect-the-way-we-taste/> (Accessed: 16 October 2016)

Traux, B. (2001) Acoustic Communication. 2nd edn. United States of America: Ablex Publishing.

Zimt (2016) Food soundscape. [online] Available at: <https://soundcloud.com/user-44988888/food-soundscape&gt; (Accessed: 23 November 2016)

Food: Primary Research

Food is an extremely broad subject and when working with Anita and Shahid on this project, we decided to pinpoint a specific idea surrounding the topic. I suggested the idea of senses, particularly the sense of sound/hearing and how it affects the way we taste and experience our food, which the other members of the group agreed on.

We created a survey with 3 simple questions, in order to get an idea of how important people thought one’s hearing can be when eating. Between us, we asked a total of 54 people. Our subjects were both male and female and ranged from the ages of 15 to 62. The questions we asked and the graphs showing the results can be found below:

most-important
Question 1

From looking at this graph, one can easily come to the conclusion that the vast majority of people who answered this question think that smell is the most important sense when eating.

least-important
Question 2

As suspected, most people felt that sound was the least important sense when eating. In fact, 45 of the 54 surveyed rated a score of 5 or lower for the final question, showing that people generally don’t think the sound one’s food makes affects the way they taste it.

scale
Question 3 (1 = not at all, 10 = a lot)

Now this survey only gave us an idea of what people thought about eating and didn’t necessarily prove anything. But what if they were actually eating food whilst answering questions about it? Would it change their mind?

So we created an experiment based on some of secondary research that we had done. The aim was to see if listening to music would affect how participants taste their food. So I bought two packets of crisps of the same flavour and this is how the experiment was supposed to go:

  • The participant would take a crisp out of one packet with their eyes closed
  • After eating it, they would rate the crunchiness of the crisp from 1-5 (1= not crunchy at all)
  • The participant would put on headphones and play on some music
  • They would close their eyes again and take a crisp from the second packet
  • They would rate the crunchiness again from 1-5

However this experiment didn’t work out very well due to many factors, one of them being that we only asked 4 people to take part. Two of the participants said that the crisps were less crunchy and the other two said it was more crunchy when music playing, which meant we couldn’t come to a conclusion. What’s more, we didn’t keep the variables consistent. For example, each person had different music playing and they were all in different environments. We intend to redo this experiment and I will be updating our results to this blog.

Given that my brother is an audiologist, I thought it would be a good idea to talk to him about this subject to see if he had any insight on the matter. The recording of the interview can be found here:

This interview was interesting as it gave us an insight into how our hearing works, especially in terms of how it affects our taste. It also allowed us to know where we went wrong with our experiment and how we could improve it. For example, we realised that we can’t make someone artificially deaf so we might change our approach to the experiment instead. In the interview, he and I discussed two ways of doing this. We could either get a deaf person and someone not hard of hearing, then compare how the food tastes to them. Another way would be to use ear plugs on our participants in order to heighten their hearing of their own voices etc. and then see if that made the food taste differently.

The former idea seemed less tangible than the latter, so I got 10 pairs of ear plugs from my brother. We managed to get 10 participants and sat them all at a table together. In front of them were 2 paper plates, both of which had a crisp on. These were the steps of the experiment:

  • Each participant ate a crisp from one of the plates with their eyes closed, while the room was quiet
  • After eating it, they rated the crunchiness of the crisp from 1-5 (1= not crunchy at all)
  • The participant put in their ear plugs and closed their eyes
  • The participant ate the crisp from the second plate
  • They rated the crunchiness again from 1-5

All the variables were kept consistent and we had more participants taking part and consequently, the results from this second experiment were a lot more telling when I collated the information.

Experiment 2.png

As you can see above, when our participants ate the crisps in their normal state, the average crunchiness was a 3.1. But with the earplugs, the crunchiness rose to a 4.2. From this I can come to the conclusion that if one’s hearing were to be heightened, their experience when eating could also be heightened.