The history of narrative and how people communicated focused on the oral form until the evolution of writing and then the discovery of print spread text to the general public. Now we are in an age concentrated on imagery, as even text takes second place in many areas of culture. So where has the importance of sound fallen amongst all these other mediums? Sure enough sound is just as abundant and constant, but beside the realm of music, how has our society treated the importance of sound in educational or writing terms? Reading and writing, all i ever feel i am doing in classes these days are reading 50 pages and writing in response to them. I have become so left alone in my mind and my voice when reading. Reading is an important and valuable act, but let us consider, in this multimedia world, how the addition of sound may enhance or simply provide a new perspective in how we learn or experience life in general. Listening to the unique sound of a person’s voice telling a story, hearing the emotion or nuances of their speech lend a more present feeling for the audience. When one adds the natural sounds of the environment in a podcast or other audio recording along with spoken narrative, this contributes to the transportation of the audience to the where the author resides. Overall, sound is a powerful tool in terms of writing and multimedia. If the author hopes to connect with the audience then incorporating sound will bring them at least one step closer. The definition of multimedia includes all mediums, and sound is a medium that can be utilized to convey meaning. It is up to the author in how it will best be incorporated with other mediums.
This is a place students come to replenish their daily dosage of the special kind of medicine that helps us survive our 8ams and fast paced quarter system. This is the place where there always resides at least one studious student typing away on her lap top while sipping on her third iced coffee of the day. This is the place where one can escape the disturbance of the apartment, or find safe haven in when the library just seems too long of a trek. This is the place where the barista already knows what to fill the cup up with the second you walk in and say hello. This is the oasis in the desert for weary travelers, and Isla Vista is a community of travelers from all over and going far beyond. This is both literal and metaphorical distance, of course. This is the coffee shop.
And these are some of the many sounds that surround me as i sit and sip on my iced medication for the day. I sit in silence with a friend, drinks in hand, and we watch the passer byes and listen. Listen to the barista’s choice of music for today. Don’t miss your name being called for your triple shot vanilla latte with brevé!
Close your eyes and sit with me as we drink our coffee…
Ceraso’s perspective of full embodied listening was a perspective that i had not previously contemplated. Listening has always come naturally and is a constant action, so i had not acknowledged the possibility that listening is learned. How we are accustomed to learning can differ culture by culture and throughout time periods. The era of technology we have grown in has influenced how most of us are in a constant state of listening to multiple sounds. There tends to be a need for the TV on in the background or music on while also listening to someone else talk to us etc. Silence or a focus on a singular sound tends to be a rarity nowadays. For example, currently as i am sitting in class writing this post music is playing over the speakers, people whisper, the garbage truck is beeping, and the light fast pace tapping of typing surrounds me.
Ceraso discusses how listening is not just through the ears…that in particular is what Ceraso refers to as ‘ear-ing’. Whole, embodied listeners listen with their body; sound is not just heard but it is felt. Listening should not always place emphasis on the content but on the context, on the quality of how we are experiencing sounds.
I am on board with Ceraso; i believe we should make an effort to unlearn how we have developed our listening habits…go on one of Glennie’s ‘”sound diets” and rediscover the world around us.
The experience of speaking versus writing. I am not accustomed to having to verbally summarize and discuss readings. Hearing the sound of my voice over recording was cringe worthy and the use of audio editing software was a foreign experience. The act of having to talk about the readings and our ideas versus reading them reveals the gaps in our thinking that one cannot sense in writing. But there is still the process of re-recording whenever i would lose my train of thought or lose my place in script. The sound experience for this assignment does somehow allow me to think differently than reading written word in my mind. Listening to audio one hears a different person’s voice, so there is a bias in how ideas are presented in tone of voice. It is also just more unique hearing the lulls, breaths, and hesitations when a person speaks. The addition of background sounds allow for a certain mood to be implemented, which influences how the audience feels about what is being said.
It is advantageous to use as many sensory techniques as possible to attempt to elicit what the author desires from its audience. Thus the power in multimedia writing lies in how one can read and have their imagination triggered with the aid of sound and imagery that enhances even further. It is all encompassing, or at least the author’s goal is to immerse the audience as much as possible, but in such a way that the reader is not overwhelmed. There must be a balance in sensory experiences because one cannot focus on the content if the design or other aspects are too distracting; yet there needs to be a design that draws in the viewer to want to explore, and explore with fluidity.
In this digital age it tends to be forgotten that multimedia is more than the Internet or video or any other technological platform. People encounter and interact with other media on the streets in the form of advertisements and street art discovered in the corners of the streets we walk everyday. Messages are communicated to us everyday and almost at every second. Messages are more than just words, but the stoplight and crosswalk signs that are communicating and commanding us to obey certain rules through their own media platform. The advertisements on every bus stop are perpetuating cultural norms or asking for our money in one form or another. The surprise discovery of street art found on a brick wall that wasn’t there the day before is also a message from the artist to any stranger who takes the time to observe.
Communication is constant and all around us. Narratives are told through much more than the words written on paper or spoken aloud. The beauty in multimedia writing is in the wide variety of different paths to choose from when telling a story. Now, each person’s narrative or message can be told in a unique way from every other’s.