Chriscore's Weblog

Response to Audio Project | October 16, 2008

Chris Magiet
INFO 390
Mark Barnes
10/16/08

Casual Dialogue Contrasted with Inebriated Behavior

In creating an audio essay, the choice of form and its function takes on a greater significance of weight than one might predict.  Yes, the form may be labeled as simply as “audio” or “aural,” but the specific voices, background noise, timing, and sound level are all choices of form in themselves; just as word choice enhances or degrades the validity of an argument in a traditionally typed essay, the elements of sound function with the same value.  When writing the traditional essay, one concentrates on formation of words into points/arguments/evidence within paragraphs, and the form is already decided for you.  In an audio essay, the sensory medium is implied (ears, hearing) as with written essays (eyes, seeing), but the form of what types of sounds and voices to be used bear more weight on constructing form than the content (what is literally said or heard).
In my audio essay, my goal was to present an informal conversation among peers about a prevalent topic in the university student body.  Originally, I figured that using ambient noise from the location of the conversation would invoke meaning given the topic.  The topic was set to be drunken behavior and topics of conversation at bars and parties involving the typical college student.  I was going to use the background noise of a bar or restaurant around dinnertime as fodder for meaningful accessory sound, with the clanking of glasses, music from the jukebox, faded banter from elsewhere in the establishment, voices of bartenders and servers, and whatever else could be noticed in the ambiance of a bar.  After further contemplation on this choice of form, I considered a different avenue for showing meaning through sound outside of the actual main dialogue.
I managed to record sound at a friend’s birthday party, where alcohol consumption was probably in excess, and captured conversations, rants, and interjections.  I figured that superimposing more directly captured ambiance next to a direct dialogue would exemplify my points more thoroughly.  The dialogue focuses on how informal conversation or discourse compares to inebriated versions.  In one sense, the audio piece as a whole could be viewed as in a single location, where there is a sober conversation occurring within a chaotic slew of drunken rant.  Interestingly, the issues addressed in the dialogue mimic the content of the party atmosphere in the background.  In another possible interpretation, one could perceive the two audio samples as engaging in a conversation or discourse between themselves.  As I moved further along in editing the sound clips and arranging the levels, I noticed somewhat of an unexpected phenomenon in which due to spikes of sound intensity on one track some content seemed to bleed into its counterpart, sounding like it belongs in the other line of sound and creating an interwoven aspect of parallel progressions of audio.
Within the different layers of my goal, I wanted to show the aspects of “essay” as we know it traditionally, and how they can be applied to different modes and mediums of various calibers.  The functions of essay to engage in some sort of discourse and show examples has seemed to provide worth when applied to various modes, as we see with newscasts, television shows, radio broadcasts, podcasts, internet videos, blogs, text messages, and so on.  While not trying to show the effectiveness of one method over another, I wanted to illustrate the great potential for effectiveness in various modes once the concept of what the traditional accomplishes is realized.  Perhaps this is somewhat hinting at a remediation of concept in addition to remediation of tangible content.

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About author

Chris Magiet is a blog editor for TrainSignal Training, writing about the new things going on at TrainSignal. He brings news on training releases, industry updates, and more exclusive content. A recent Liberal Arts grad from the University of Illinois, Chris joined the TrainSignal team to support a great experience for the users of TrainSignal Training.

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