Author Archives: Jure Abicic

Blog Post #5

While I was watching episode 5 of Ways Of Hearing, it reminded me of the experiences I had when I was a young DJ back in 1988 when I was only 16 years old.  Specifically, I am referring to the part when he is  interviewing Jimmy Johnson of Forced Exposure, who indicated that he and his staff listen to every record that comes into the store so that may be able to provide knowledge and recommendations to their customers.  This very much correlated to why and how I purchased records for my collection to spin at the parties that I was hired to DJ for.  When I first started buying records I went to a few different stores and would buy the records that were hot, you know, the ones that were already being played on the radio and clubs.  Most of the top DJ record shops had a turntable so you could ask them to play a certain record for you, and it was mostly songs or artists that you already knew.  That was until I went to Vinylmania on Carmine Street in the West Village.  They had this young hispanic guy who worked there, well older than me, probably in his mid 20’s, and when I asked him to play a record he would, but then he would play a few more that he would recommend I buy.  Most of the time these were imports and were twice the price of the regular 12 inch singles.  And a lot of the time I didn’t even like the songs, but somehow he would convince me to buy them.  Sure enough after a week of listening to them, they grew on me immensely and a month or two later they were always the top songs in the clubs and on the radio.  This happened week after week and finally I stopped doubting his recommendations and as a result of that I was always the DJ with the best new stuff.  This experience was very relatable to that episode in that because of his knowledge and recommendations, which you didn’t get at the bigger stores like Tower Records, I was always able to have the best new music, much in the way Krukowski was able to hear that band from Japan because of the recommendations of the people at Forced Exposure.  In addition, had it been an algorithm that was deciding what new music I was gonna buy, I probably wouldn’t have found all those great up and coming hits. And that’s because they weren’t always that similar to the songs I had known up until that point.  Yes it was the same genre, but these recommended songs always were unique and maybe they wouldn’t have come up when I was searching for new music.  And even if they did, I probably wouldn’t have purchased them, because if you remember this gentleman always had to convince me to buy them.  Funny thing is this gentleman, Pal Joey, eventually became a pretty big house music record producer as well as producing some records for legendary Hip Hop artists such as BDP and MC Lyte.  So after googling his name it turns out many people had the same experience that I had, as is illustrated in the following article.

Pal Joey: A Fairy Tale Of New York · Feature ⟋ RA

Pal Joey may be the most underrated house producer on the scene, but a newly released retrospective compilation could finally bring his music to a wider audience after 25 years in the game.

Discussion Questions #7

Episode 5

Question 1.   What Krukowski means by that question is that the marginal, rejected and repressed is what mainstream culture no longer has a use for.  The powers that be decide what is important, good, tasteful and accepted and those groups are certainly not in those categories.  What he means by his second question is that that maybe the marginal, rejected or repressed are the key to learning, not only about ourselves and society, but to a great many things.  Things which which will be better than what is deemed satisfactory by mainstream culture.  In relation to music, the ideas of the powerful and the marginalized is illustrated with the powerful being popular music and the marginalized being the non mainstream music.

Question 2.  The main differences between the music listening experiences enabled by Forced Exposure and platforms like Spotify is the amount of music each method has and the way in which the music is recommended to the clients.  Forced Exposure has a large but finite amount of music, about 50,000 LP’s, and Spotify has almost the entire catalog of music throughout the world.  Forced Exposure’s owner and employees also have listened, and some have even wrote about, all the songs in their inventory, while Spotify uses algorithms to suggest what type of music a person will like.

Question 3.  The distinctions Krukowski makes between discovering and being surprised by music is that discovering is not at all surprising.  When you discover new music you’re really only hearing new music that is similar to the other types of music you like.  Being surprised by new music is hearing music that is not similar to your already established tastes and instead truly find something new.  This is important to big companies because they don’t want surprising, it increases the chances of you not listening and thus missing out on the opportunity to make you listen to valuable advertising time.

Episode 6

Question 1.  According to Krukowski noise is the background sound and signal is the sound we focus on.  According to the hearing doctor, signal is the sound we are trying to pay attention to and noise is all the other sounds.  It’s important because in the digital world noise is trying to be eliminated while signal is enhanced.

Question 2.  In this episode Krukowski is trying to convey that what we deem as noise is just as important as what we consider signal.  In reality everything is noise until we decide what we want to focus on, and that becomes signal.  The totality of all the sound and not just isolated individual parts is what is important and this is best conveyed in the Beach Boys album Pet Sounds.  All the sounds combined together is what gives the music such beauty, and when they digitally remixed the album it didn’t sound nearly as good.  Krukowski also goes on to relate the importance of noise to everyday life and society as a whole.  Being immersed in the total noise of our surroundings may allow us to find the signals that are important to us and be able to convey those messages to others more effectively, is how he roughly puts it.

Question 3.  The way in which this episode relates to all the others is that the theme of eliminating noise has been present throughout the discussion of digital sound.  The way in which our phones isolate only the “important” parts of our voices to transmit, the elimination of public noise in order to put ourselves in our own sound bubbles, and the way in which digital music eliminates the noise of the content of our music are just a few examples.  Each episode’s topic related to this theme in one way or another while coming to a conclusion that noise is just as important as the signal because that is the totality of the world.  The reality of our world is not just the things we like, know or want to know, it is everything, the noise and the signal.  Because in the end everything is noise.

Blog Post #4

As I was watching episode 2 of Ways of Hearing, I felt completely the opposite way than Mr. Moss did about how people are using screens on their phones to put themselves in their own personal bubbles to isolate themselves from the public noise.  As a native New Yorker, who’s lived here for all my 47 years, I have grown to be easily annoyed and sometimes even outraged by the lack of courtesy here in the city, of which some is manifested in the loud noises we hear.  Specifically I am referring to how loud people talk, whether it’s among each other or on the phone, of which the video phone call is the most loud.  People act like they are in their own living rooms with no awareness of how they are affecting others, resulting in a lack of courtesy and respect.  I am so happy about having earbuds to put myself in a bubble so that I am able to drown out their disturbingly annoying voices.

With that being said, when I was presented with this assignment the number of commercials for noise cancelling headphones immediately came to mind and after watching a few, this one in particular illustrates the feeling I had when I was listening to Mr. Moss talk about how people are drowning out the outside world with their devices.  The commercial, which is posted below, is for Airpods Pro, Apples noise cancelling earbuds.  The commercial shows how this busy city, whatever that may be, sounds to the young lady with or without the earbuds.  It also shows the effect it has on her psyche  and mood as she goes from no earbuds, to just music in the buds and then music with the noise cancelling effect on.   With no earbuds and only hearing the loud city she seems very annoyed and disappointed.  With just the music she seems a little happier and things are flowing better.  With the music and the noise cancelling on she starts dancing in a dream like video where she seems very happy.  Now, when I put on my earbuds and play music, or watch something, I don’t start dancing like I’m in a psychedelic video, but I feel much happier and so much less annoyed, just as the commercial is trying to illustrate.

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Discussion Questions #6

Question 1.  The main differences between a microphone and a cellphone, according to Krukowski, is that a cell phone doesn’t have a proximity effect and it doesn’t transmit the totality of sound, including the background noise, when speaking into it.  The lack of a proximity effect transmits the volume of the voice equally no matter if you’re close or far from the phone and the lack of all the sound doesn’t allow that part of our voice that communicates without language to be transmitted.  These differences are important because it doesn’t allow the full message of what’s being said or sung to be communicated easily.  The lack of non verbal information leads to questions on what the exact intent of the speaker or singer is.

Question 2.  Mr. Tomlinson indicates that communicating is not just the words being spoken but also how they are spoken.  He thinks that we are musical beings at heart, just as much as linguistic and so a big part of communication is also the musical quality of the sounds that come out of our mouths.  The way in which we say the words and not only the words themselves have equal value when we are communication with each other.  When our voices are transmitted digitally they are stripped of all unnecessary data so that it is easier and quicker to send and receive them.  This procedure results in only enough information being sent to recognize the voice and to decode the words.  Hence, no background noise is heard, no proximity effect is felt and the musical aspects of our voices are not transmitted effectively.

Question 3.  The significance of Krukowski’s comments is that the sound of the voice and not only the words have been an integral part of communication throughout our existence.  Even before there was language people would communicate with utterances and grunts.  These sounds allowed both communities and individuals to not only communicate information, but all sorts of feelings including love, affection, pleasure, anger, dissatisfaction, and many others.  Words were not needed for people to express a whole range of thoughts, emotions and information.  Of course words make things easier and more efficient, but since much of our communication comes from the actual sounds of our voices, it is just as important as the words.

Question 4.  The issue of file sharing and whether or not one should have to pay for music or not is more complicated than it seems and brings up mixed thoughts for me.  At first when file sharing started I loved the idea of being able to download all this great music so quickly and easily, all at no cost.  Especially cause back then buying music was rather expensive, 12 – 15 dollars for a CD usually, which meant a limited amount of music you had access to.  For someone who loves music, and all kinds of music, this meant I could not have even remotely the amount of music I wanted.  So I loved Napster and was very disappointed when it was shut down.  That being said I believe that someone should always be paid for their work and file sharing was taking money away from artists and hence they were not getting appropriately paid for their creations and labor.  Now how much they should be paid and how much we should pay for music is something is something I could not answer right now with the limited information I have available.

Question 5.  This episode indicates that that music, community and culture are all interrelated, with each having an continuous affect on the other.  For example, a certain culture may influence what type of music is created, which in turn could increase the sense of community in that culture.  Or the introduction of a new type of music from somewhere else could become appreciated by a community which in turn could influence the culture. They are all intertwined constantly influencing each other.

Question 6.  I think charging money would slightly impede the formation of communities around music only because exposure to this music would take longer, and thus the time it takes for community formation would increase.  But in the end the music would be circulated irregardless of money being charged or not.

Discussion Questions #5

Question 1.  In Ways of Hearing episode 1, Krukowski indicates that time experienced in the real world is lived time, just as we experience it in the analog world.  It is experienced and not counted like a clock, and that experience is variable, always changing and flexible.  This is illustrated simply with how long something seems to take when it is not pleasant, as opposed  to how quickly it goes by when you are having fun.   Digital time on the other hand is not lived time, it’s machine time that is locked to a clock.  This time code makes everything more regular than lived time and as a result of this we give up our opportunity to experience time together because we are no longer experiencing each other’s unique timing as it happens in the moment.  Another result of digital time is something called latency, a delay between the actual moment and when we hear it.  This is caused by the time it takes to translate digital info to sound as well as the travel time through the various pieces of equipment.

Question 2. What Krukowski means when says listening has a lot to do with how we navigate space is that what we hear plays a big role in what we are aware of regarding our surroundings and how we travel through them.  He says specifically is that, we use our stereo hearing to locate sounds around us and to map where we are in relation to the source of these sounds.  If you limit your hearing with ear plugs or ear buds, you will be less aware of the space around you as well as the people.

Question 3. What Jeremiah Moss means by, privatizing public space in a very stealthy way, is that even though it is still technically a public space the city designated it as a pedestrian plaza, which allowed them to close off the street and create some rules.  It also resulted in the plaza having tables with umbrellas along with many big chain stores on the street level, completely different from when it was an actual completely public place.  Mr. Moss also indicates that people who are looking at their phone screens are basically attempting to be in a private place, a sort of bubble, while still being in a public place.  He indicates that this means they are opting out of street life and in a way the public has been triumphed over by the private.

Question 4.  According to Emily Thompson, as technology advanced in the 1920’s in what was known as a very loud decade, a desire to control sound in interior spaces resulted.  The goal of this control was to be able to hear exactly what someone wanted to hear and nothing else.  This was especially evident in the development of concert halls at the time, most notably Radio City Music Hall.  The hall was designed to be absorptive with the intention of limiting reverberation as much as possible.  In addition  the stage was completely mic’d with the sound being transmitted by speakers located throughout the hall.  The intended outcome of this design was that only what was being heard on stage was to be heard by the guests in the hall.  Basically exactly what people wanted  to hear, or paid to hear, and nothing else.  According to Krukowski, this desire to hear what and when we want, like in Radio City, is much like when we put on our earbuds.  We create our own internal refuge and drown out the outside world.

Question 5.  For me the key ideas in this episode about the relationship between space and time is how much sound influences our awareness of our surroundings, or space, and how much we as a society try to control that space through the manipulation of sound.  This episode also made me realize how much people today want to live in their own bubble, their own sound bubble, and why it is we want to do it.  I, for one, am very guilty of it and while Mr. Moss was describing how much it infuriates him, it had the opposite effect on me.  I found myself saying, yeah that’s right, let me and everyone else who finds serenity in that manner, continue to do so, because, for me, it’s the only way to stay sane in this extremely loud city.  But the most interesting thing to me about this episode was the degree to which sound impacts our awareness of space.  I always thought sight was the major factor and sound contributed very little, but apparently I was wrong.

Discussion Questions #4

Question 1.  According to Berger publicity influences consumers by telling all of us that we are not adequate in the way we are and the way our lives are.  It also suggests that by buying a product we can change that and make our lives richer.  The mechanism it uses to do this is to show people who have been transformed as a result of a product, and are now envied.  And as Berger indicates, this state of being envied is called glamour and publicity is the process of creating glamour.  This is significant because it is a very effective way of selling products.  You make someone feel inadequate and then create an illusion that a certain product can produce the ideal life or lifestyle and thus curing this feeling of inadequacy.

Question 2.  These differences are important because in oil paintings they are not trying to sell something.  The paintings reflect what someone has or had in the present, while publicity is representing a future possibility with a means to achieve it.  The method in which publicity attains this goal is by showing scene after scene of people changing their lives as a result of buying certain products.   And the changing of their lives includes themselves, their homes and even their relationships.  Publicity also uses another method in which to sell products and that is to play upon people’s fears.  Specifically the fear of not being desirable or to be unenviable.

Question 3.  Berger provides three examples of dreams that are used to sell products and one of these he calls, The Dream of later Tonight.  This type of dream shows people greatly enjoying each other’s company with all the participants being good looking and very well dressed.  It also shows certain individuals who appear to be greatly envied, which plays upon the desire to be the life of the party and the most glamorous.  This type of imagery is very effective for selling products like clothing, jewelry, perfumes, alcohol and cigarettes, because if one does not own the finest of these products, one can not even begin to achieve this type of dream.

Blog #3

Question 1

Let me first say that this blog assignment is very ambiguous as the answers to these questions should be specific to what you are writing about and who the audience will be.  And since these are general questions based on planning your writing we don’t actually know these two things.  Are we answering the questions in general, or specifically to our first writing assignment.

  1.  The purpose of most essays is to educate, announce and persuade.  While entertainment is usually not necessary it could enhance the other three, and in some cases it may be one of the more important purposes.
  2. Our classmates and professor may be interested as well as anyone interested in the topic and also have access to the essay.  The reading says that the writing should be catered to at least our classmates.
  3. The main people who would be impacted by an essay are those that read it and who also didn’t know the information contained in it.  Specifically a reader who is mostly ignorant to the information, and the conclusions set forth by that information, may be the most impacted because the essay may have changed their mind about a specific toipic.
  4. The reader may not know anything about a topic or they may know a lot.  One must know the audience to know how much information to put in, or to know how much explanation is necessary.
  5. What the reader needs to know to understand the point of the essay depends on the topic of the essay.  But then again it also depends on who the audience is.  If you write an essay on Quantum Mechanics for your Peers or for a general audience will have a huge impact on how you write it.  The wording and amount of explanation in the essay would vary immensely.
  6. From the reading, writers can garner a reader’s interest by doing the following:
    • Beginning by quoting an expert on the respective topic or an inspirational individual.
    • Beginning by offering some statistical evidence that is both informative and intriguing.
    • Opening with a striking mental image.
    • Appealing to the reader’s emotions.
    • Raising a question or series of questions.
    • Presenting an explanation or rationalization for the essay.
    • Including a personal anecdote.
    • Stating in the middle of a story with the conclusion of the story existing as the first sentence in the conclusion paragraph.
  7. The level of language is once again catered to who the audience will be.  If it will only be read by peers than more complicated jargon will be used.  The potential vocabulary level will also be dictated by the audience.
  8. The tone of the topic will once again be dictated by the audience and also the subject matter.  One will not try to write a comical essay for a serious and sad topic.

Question 2

In light of the recent protests sparked by the unjustified and tragic murder of George Floyd at the hands of the Minnesota Police, many more of us have become aware of the inequalities African Americans face in regard to how they are treated by the police here in the United States. These inequalities were always known by some, including Emory Douglas, former Minister of Culture for the Black Panthers, who was also an artist, designer and illustrator.  In 2015 Mr. Douglas remixed, or re-imaged, a poster for the Black Lives movement that he originally created and published in the Black Panthers periodical back in 1976.  The images when placed side by side, show that although things may appear to be better for African Americans on the surface, they are still fighting for equal justice under the law that still eludes them some 40 years later.

Discussion Question #3

Part 1.  According Berger, in episode 2 of Ways of Seeing, the main distinction between nakedness and the the nude female form as represented in traditional Western art is that being naked is to be oneself, and the nude, is to be seen naked by others and yet not be recognized for oneself.  A nude, he adds, has to be seen as an object, and in this object the female(s) are not seen naked as they are, but instead naked as you, the observer, see them.  These differences are significant because in the nudes the nakedness is a sight for those who are dressed.  And these differences could also be seen today in nude magazines such as Playboy.  The pictures in these magazines are catered to the sexual desires of the mainly male observers with the seductive and unnatural poses.

Part 2.  According to Berger, these Western works have often depicted and defined men as being dominant and women being subservient and the lesser of the two sexes.  The Creation paintings even depicted women as being guilty for the first sin and subsequently making God rule that women were to obey men.  As a result of this many of these paintings depicted women as always trying to please men with a sort of guilty look on their faces.  And yes these depictions still influence, although a lot less, the roles of men and women in society today.

Part 3.  In the nudes of Western art the mirror became a symbol for vanity of women, picturing herself how men see her.  She sees herself mainly as a sight, which means a sight for men.  The mirror also indicates how beauty was judged in those paintings, in a competitive way.  The prettiest, as seen by men, was illustrated effectively in the painting, The Judgement of Paris, as this painting depicted a beauty contest.  He also discusses the significance of the female gaze in these paintings.  The gaze, whether she is looking at a mirror or out to the audience, is always to see what someone else is thinking of her, mainly men, and is she pleasurable to them.  These same types of gazes and expressions, he adds, can be seen in modern day photographs, like from a female magazine.   These expressions are submissive with a calculating charm to the man she knows is looking at her.  This example clearly shows that even today, women are still looked upon as objects of beauty rather than just themselves.

Blog Post #2

According to Berger in his video, “Ways Of Seeing”, since the invention of the camera, images could be manipulated to become a form of language.  This manipulation could take many forms some of which include rearranging the image itself, or by placing things before, along side, on top of, or after the images.  This new language could be seen as words in a dialogue used for many different purposes.  Some of these purposes may include selling something, promoting an idea or movement, or educating people.

This idea of an image or images being used as a form of language to sell something is demonstrated very effectively in the image below.  The image is an advertisement  for Fed Ex, who very brilliantly, use simple things to illustrate their product.  A map of the western hemisphere is painted on a wall that has two different people in two open windows passing a Fed Ex package from one to the other.  One window is located in what appears on the map to be China, or some other country in Asia, and the other window is located in northern Australia.  The advertisement implies that delivering a package to a different continent can be as fast, safe and secure as two people passing it from one window to the next.  The ad is extremely effective because it’s message is both very clear and simple, as well as being aesthetically pleasing.  In addition, the image is very eye catching and the message is exceptionally clever which adds to the strength of the advertisement.


Discussion #2

Part 1. By saying that seeing is not natural and that it is shaped by habit and conventions Berger means that what we see is not just the object or image itself but rather our view or mindset of the image or object we are looking at.  Our view or mindset is influenced by many things some of which are our environment, our upbringing, our societal status, our age, our gender, our mental state and society’s opinion on how we are supposed to view and perceive something.  The list can go on and on and it is basically the sum total of our experiences in life and society’s norms which influence how we view or see things.  And because of this, different people will view the same piece of art differently.

Part 2.  According to Berger the camera has changed our senses of perception because now we could not only see things that we could never see before, but we could also see them in different ways.  Regarding artwork the camera could reproduce images in any size, anywhere and for any purpose.  As for the “stillness” and “silence”, which he attributes to viewing art in a museum, what he means is that this experience goes beyond just what people teach about art.  In fact he goes on to say that it seems that viewing art in this manner connects the moment in time the painting represents with the moment in time in which you are viewing it.  He then adds that this experience almost makes one question how we measure time itself.  He also says the reason why this type of viewing is different from seeing art in a book or on screen is because the latter two mediums are never still, and always moving.

Part 3. By saying reproductions of paintings can become a form of information Berger is saying that the images can be used to convey a certain idea or narrative.  This information could be further manipulated by what comes before, along side or after the images.  He then goes on to say that this type of manipulation can be seen as talking.  The images and how they’re presented could be seen as words in a dialogue used for many different purposes.  Some of these purposes may include selling something, promoting an idea or movement, or educating people.