hey everyone- this is rather late posting but if anyone has been still lurking around serendip over winter break, here is a link to my soundcloud account, which I uploaded all the recordings I had taken over the semester. There are some you haven't heard, so if you had liked the sound recordings you should check them out!
Both Sarah and I agreed that we do not have linear thought processes, but in an effort to indulge in divergent thoughts we recorded a very unstructured conversation about our ecological project, which including some of the sounds we have recorded while working together. For our project we both led each other on a blindfold sound tour, and led one another to a place of our choosing while recording. I was torn because I ended up needing to cut at least 20-30 minutes from the conversation because the entire recording was over an hour long and it was just too long to listen to. When I have the opportunity I will upload the rest because I think it is an interesting conversation, but I kept what I thought was the most relevant.
Sarahj and I met to discuss our interest in sound. We met for a while, and finally decided that we would structure a discussion around the idea of creating an auditory map of Bryn Mawr. We wanted to find differing ways to represent the world and the places we inhabit, with the understanding that in Anne’s words, all representations would be “thin and inadequate” and with the assumption that in whatever representation is produced, there will always be something lost in the final product. We wanted the class to both create this map and listen to sounds of Bryn Mawr. The presentation began with us explaining our individual interests in sound and then asking the class to contribute in trying to recreate different sounds that we hear across campus. Our peers were either allowed to describe the sounds, or attempt to represent them any way they choose as long as it was through making some kind of noise. Sarahj and I agreed ahead of time that we wanted to document this map in someway. We decided that we would record these sounds that students make, in an effort to keep the representation an entirely auditory one, and not have the visual of writing on the board or on paper. In addition, we realized that if students chose to represent a sound in a way that was not descriptive, it would be almost impossible to recreate this in writing/visually. We then played a recording of a spot on Bryn Mawr’s campus and asked students to try and figure out where the sound had come from. We originally recorded two places to share, but in the interest of time, where only able to play one sound.
As beautiful as the idea of being comfortable with silence is, wrapping my head around actually performing silent activities is a different story. I was impressed by how fulfilling silence is for Linda-Susan Beard, and I thought a lot about my own restorative practices. For me, talking has always been restorative. Not shallow or surface conversation, but the kind of talking where two people come together form a different kind of understanding. For me, thinking has always been a vocal and collaborative process rather than a silent and internalized one. I was told once that there have been studies done on cats where a cat was placed in a room with no stimuli and they were essentially brain dead- no activity went on when there was nothing stimulating a response. I can’t remember who told me this or even if it’s true, but when I’m alone, I feel like those cats. I feel muted, stunted- that without the benefit of another person to think with me, I’m unable to think fully. After hearing Linda-Susan Beard talk about how fulfilling silence was for her, I wondered if we were both talking about the same kind of restoration, even if we achieved it in different ways. She spoke of feeding off of silence in a way that seemed very similar to how I feed off of conversation; it is sustaining.
Negative spaces have always been interesting for me, not only in an artistic sense but in as an everyday occurrence- I think they speak volumes, especially about people. I’ve always liked seeing and observing what spaces exist between people. However, I had never thought about “hearing” or “feeling” negative spaces. I’ve been thinking a lot about blindness and the way in which not seeing necessitates you to “place” your body- it becomes all the more important to understand where you are, what is around you and where you are going. The environment you are in no longer becomes the background but a very important foreground. The only reason I knew where I was a given time was based on sounds and light variations. I knew we were near the road when I could hear cars, and I knew from the sound of the wind in the trees in my right ear that senior row was to the left of us. I knew we were in the woods and under senior row when the ever-present dot of light representing the sun flickered from interfering leaves and trees. When we were told to beware of an intrusive object possibly in our path, I instinctively and reflexively would put out my hand, in hopes that I could “feel” my place and know where not to walk. Finding these negative spaces through feeling and hearing instead of vision becomes necessary to find the safe spaces, in order to place your body within a context or environment.
Last week we were talking a lot about "play" in class and this ended up seeping into another conversation in one of my other classes outside the 360 with Anne. Here's a link to that conversation if any is interested/wanted to further our conversations about the links between play and learning: http://serendip.brynmawr.edu/exchange/divergent-thinking#comment-139691
I think some of these comments are relevant to our voice discussion about what play means or does not mean!
So the Lives of Animals got me thinking about the wealth of animal videos available to watch on the internet. I admit, I'm definitely guilty of watching hours of back to back YouTube videos of cute puppies, kittens, hedgehogs, etc. I'm starting to wonder what the fascination is with cute things that struggle. I was watching this adorable bulldog puppy struggle to get off his back, I was struck by how many people where so delighted with how cute and funny this video seems. A few commenters called the owner out on it, calling it animal abuse. As I looked at the description, I noticed that the owner of the video had included a response to the angry comments, stating, "All bulldog puppies have to deal with this problem, they have to learn to get up on there own. If the owner helps them, they won't learn and the owner can't be there to help flip them over 24/7. It is a common thing you see when around any bulldog puppies. Due to their odd body shape, yes it is difficult for them to get up. Everyone seriously needs to calm down, the owner of the video was actually doing the right thing, and people will realize this if they think about it hard enough." While I see the reason why the bulldog puppy needs to learn how to get up on his own, is it really necessary for the puppy's efforts to be posted online for everyone to laugh at? I kept wondering if he was scared and suddenly watching the puppy turned from cute to agonizing.
Smoking on Bryn Mawr College's Campus: Representing the Power of Student Participation in the Student Government Association
My initial interest was the “rules” of Bryn Mawr Campus and ways in which students either resisted or followed these rules. I eventually narrowed my focus to smoking on campus, after coming across a series of correspondences through student publications in regards to Student Government Association’s involvement in determining the social regulations of students’ lives. More specifically, these “correspondences” focused on campus drinking and smoking amongst students. In the Spring of 1944, the Lantern, one of Bryn Mawr’s student literary magazines, issued an aggressive editorial calling upon the student’s radical abolition of the Student Government Association. Students who crafted this editorial were tired of staying “silent” when it came to rule breaking, writing that, “Rules are being broken. Those who find the rules unreasonable to maintain soon find that the risk of being caught is considerably reduced by discreet silence.” They claimed that Student’s obvious resistance to the rules was indicative of unfair policy and too-strict rules. Without restrictive policy governing their conduct, student would no longer have to remain silent or risk categorization as “rule-breakers.”
I have many different feelings about prayer.
On one level, it’s a representation of something I’ve stepped away from. For a little over a year, I was the youth representative on my Presbyterian Church’s session, which is the governing body of the church. It’s a lot like our government. Session meets regularly to discuss whatever current issues are brought before them. There are committees delegated to handle particular issues, and there are committees to delegate each committee. For the entire time I served on session, I did not speak a word. I showed up to meetings, I filled a chair, and I listened patiently to each debate. I watched friends become hostile and impatient with each other. Over the course of the time I was a session member, I watched several other members abruptly resign and leave the church. I was angered by the way money and finances seemed to poison the conversation. The contention that seemed to accompany each meeting, little by little, soured my relationship with the church and I chose not to participate.