So, this is it.


The two images I created for this assignment are based on the concept of new media taking over traditional art forms and practises as well as changing the culture surrounding those forms and practises. They portray themes that were given to us in our tutorial, old media vs new media and another binary theme I took from a prescribed reading by Walter Benjamin, analogue vs digital. The digitisation of music is my specific focus in these pieces because, as a musician, this largely affects how music is learned, experienced, and how the entire culture of music progresses (or digresses). In my images, I intended to juxtapose traditional instruments & musical material against new, digitised musical materials and applications. Creating these pictures took a great deal of trial and error as I am far from gifted in the art of digital manipulation. The weekly critiques and ideas that were presented by my peers were helpful in articulating my concept in my images and the improvement of the overall aesthetic of the pieces. Giving feedback on others works was also helpful as whenever I critiqued their works I reflected on my images and it assisted in me becoming more critical of my own work. This process of receiving regular critiques then refining my images based on this feedback was paramount to being able to produce an outcome that clearly reflected the concept I intended and understanding the affects being evoked in my two images.



Conceptually, both my images explore the idea of new media replacing old media. In my image, ‘The boy and the USB’, I focus on performance and the changing mediums through which music can be played depicting a young boy holding and playing a USB device the same way a guitar is held. In my other image, ‘The boy and the piano’, I place more emphasis on the evolving way music is learned and interpreted with an image of the same boy seated at a piano with sheet music replaced, in the image, by a computer screen, specifically an audio-digital interface. Like Walter Benjamin, in these images I took quite a cynical stance on the digitisation of music, somewhat satirically depicting a loss of originality and aura in new music through my pieces with the text in each image (Benjamin 1968, p. 214). I employed the words, “sample” and “bootleg” in each text layer of the images to show this, as they are both words suggesting that the music being created is just a reproduction, a production variation or remix. I think I look and portray this digital development in music with a more pessimistic view because of how it directly affects me as a ‘traditional musician’ in an industry where much of the entertainment space that used to belong to live performing artists is being replaced by DJs and other electronic production artists. I chose a child as my subject in both works to further emphasise the newness of the digitisation of music. In each the boy appears to be learning the instruments, representative of the the shift in new musicians and the music industry from solely traditional analogue forms to new digital forms of practise and instrumentation.

Before I began taking photos and experimenting with digital manipulation and editing, I spent a decent amount of time pondering and ‘researching’ what I might want to depict by searching the internet for music puns and jokes relating to the conflict and tension between traditional and electronic musicians. This helped me generate an outline of what I wanted each image to look like and shape the general affect I wished to evoke, which was a rather satirical and sardonic, as stated above.

I began the creation of my first image, ‘The boy and the USB’, by having my mother take several photos of me posing as if I was playing a guitar. I wanted to have photos of a child playing initially but I couldn’t find one so I began by practising creating the image with photos of myself. I then used Pixlr to edit in a ClipArt USB image in over the guitar and made it appear as though I was playing the USB by removing sections of the image on top with the erase tool. Once I found a child to photograph, a family friends’ son, I applied the same editing I did on my own image, having him appear to be playing the USB like a guitar. A peer feedback comment suggested that I somehow blur or smudge the background so that I could foreground the USB and the child and accentuate them in my image. I played around with those two tools but distorting the background seemed to have a reverse affect as became difficult not to notice it against the still image of the child. After a few experiments with different tools, I used the sponge tool to desaturate the background and over-saturate the USB and the boy so that contrast was created by highlighting the foregrounded images and not by distorting the background.

With my second image, I had more trouble as I wasn’t sure how to place the computer screen layer onto the original layer of the boy playing piano without it appearing 2D and incongruent with the original image. Experimentation with the transform and distort tools allowed me to eventually stretch the image in a way that made it appear that the screen was part of the piano, replacing the sheet music. I looked to have analogue font text beneath the screen as it would’ve added more cohesion to the overall concept of digitisation but was forced to settle for contingency font as the program did not provide such a font. Like my previous peer comment, it was suggested that I soften or greyscale the background to make the text and screen more salient so I again used the sponge tool to desaturate the background and oversaturate the text, Ableton screen, and around the boys fingers playing the piano.

In regards to ethical dilemmas or copyright infringements, I was quite fortunate. I retrieved my Ableton screen image from a creative commons site and if I gave credit to the holder, Joshua Schnable, I could manipulate and use the image as I see fit under the Attribution 2.0 Generic License (CC by 2.0). My USB ClipArt was downloaded from a free clip art site from a creator named Rygle and so I could download it without any copyright problems. The images of the child posed no real ethical dilemmas and I told both the boy, who is 13, and his parents, who I am closely acquainted with, what they images were being used for and they all gave consent for them to be taken.


Peer feedback:

Patty, love your work. It looks like your experiments with concept and editing techniques have really paid off in your images. Your themes in both images are both clever and easily interpreted. At this point there is honestly no real feedback I can give you as you have taken on board previous critiques so well and developed your images wonderfully. Everything to filtering the photos to blurring the words on the book to avoid any ethical/copyright dilemmas.
This work is of high standard and deserves a grade reflective of that.

Hey, very groovy and unique ideas for this assessment. Have you thought of how you are going to focalise digital literacy or elements of digitisation/ integrate that with your anti-deregulation theme? Jules De Balincourt is another pretty rad french artist you might want to checkout as he also has a number of works of social commentary, specifically on protest (although he is a painter not a photographer). I like your idea with the indigenous Australians and their digital disconnect in isolated rural communities and I feel like this is a concept that be alot more cohesive with the subject than your other idea. Have you thought of how you will incorporate text in each image yet? Or what images you will place in your work without shooting them yourself?
All in all, you have good ideas (personally I think you should portray 2 images on your second concept, it’s a killer), keen to see what you make of them.

This theme of disconnection & isolation in your images is really being presented in a succinct and a way that is going to be easy perceived by audiences. I like your elements of tasteful digital editing and manipulation in these compositions as well. Have you given much thought to the text placement/ what the text will say to reinforce and compound your images? Also, are you using any original photos in these bodies of work? I was under the impression that the assessment required at least 1 original image in each or between the two pieces.
All in all, it looks as though you have a more than stable grip on your concept, how to operate the editing program, & the ethical ramifications behind using/ appropriating other artists works.

Best of luck, it seems to be coming along splendidly.


Reference list:

Benjamin, W. 1968, Illuminations, Random House Publishing, New York

Sketch 27,  photographed by Joshua Schnable, Flickr, viewed 6 October 2016,

USB Thumb Drive 3, created by Rygle, Open Clip Art, viewed 6 October 2016,



Final images

Yo, so I read over my last comments and before I post up my exegesis, etc…I thought I’d throw up my amended images. Both over-saturated and desaturated sections of my ‘piano image’ to highlight the digital sections and the boys hands playing the piano, and in my ‘USB’ image I desaturated sections around the USB to foreground it more heavily.

The adequate, yet rather unimpressive images that shall be my final body of work in this subject. Hooray.

So here both of them are, images manipulated (poorly) to exhibit the digitisation of music. I began creating the images on Photoshop but then my free trial ran out and there was no chance of me subscribing to a year of Adobe for 1 assignment so I began yesterday doing these with Pixlr (and I struggled). So the images aesthetic isn’t really professional but I feel like they both still translate my concept clearly.

Ethical issues regarding the original photos taken by me were minimal in my opinion. The child photographed is a family friend who is 13, so is able to understand the purpose of these photos and give consent. Also, his parent was okay with it.

The text on the USB image “PLUG N’ PLAY..” could be slightly controversial as it is a slogan for a computer company in Menai, NSW. Although I am not using the slogan to tarnish their name or in any connection at all to their company or for a profit at all so I that that is also okay. The two images that I have taken, the clip art USB, and the Ableton interface screen are legitimately okay to take, I found the Ableton screen on Flickr with a creative commons license that allows me to take and remix the image as long as I give credit to the Joshua Schnable the original image rights holder. And the clip art was available for free download and use from their online store.

Yeah, so hopefully you like this and can give me some bangin’ advice.


Draft Assessment 3. I really should have done a whole lot more, but like, computers are damn difficult.

So, if you have a quick browse of my last entry you’ll see that my assessment concept is based on the digitalisation of music and its effect (affect? I don’t know which one it is) on music culture, particularly on how individuals learn, play, and experience music.

The image below is NOT one I am going to be using, I just haven’t quite had the chance yet to photograph a child at a piano, you know how it is. I have replaced the sheet music with an edit in of an Ableton screen (a very popular production interface in music these days if you weren’t quite sure) to demonstrate the changing nature/ the digitisation of music. I made sure the screen was shaped to look like sheet music to more directly translate this.

I’m still not quite sure what I am going to have the text saying/ where I am going to place it. I was thinking maybe below the Ableton screen in like ‘analog font’, saying something like ‘Beethoven- Fur Elise (110 bpm // Trap Bootleg)’  or something along those lines to show the juxtaposition between tradition and digital composition as well as adding some (slightly poor) humour to the image.

Also, my guitar USB image below (from the last post) is still being worked on because I have not been able to find a child for that photo yet either, but I shall.

Cheers for checking my stuff xoxo


image 2.png

Le first draft image // USB (7.10.16)

Alright, so my overall concept for A3 is still developing and deepening but in short it is looking at how the digitisation of music has changed the entire culture of music including how we learn, read, enjoy, and perform music.

My image below is definitely not one I am going to use but I shall depict a similar scene although I think I might use a younger child so it looks like they’re first learning guitar and add in a music stand with sheet music into the image to just give more general context. I haven’t yet decided on what text to use in the image but I think I’ll have the text placed along the side of the USB looking as though it has been printed onto it with a slogan-esque kind of phrase along the lines of, ‘Who needs 4 chords to become a rockstar’, or ‘musician 2.o’, or ‘The Millennial Musician’, or something to a similar effect.

My second image, which I am yet to begin creating, will be another child seated in front of a piano. The image will be taken from behind the child/subject and have them playing looking at sheet music mounted in its usual position above the piano. However I shall Photoshop in a computer screen with like an Ableton or Logic or Protools or some other musical digital interface there instead of the sheet music and have head phones on the subjects head. Just looking again at how traditional, organic musical culture is changing due to the rise of media/ digitisation within the music industry. Looking at how musicians are no longer learning traditional notation but looking at these automated programs instead.

I don’t have a text idea for this image yet though.


Image USB verson 1 jpeg.jpg

Affect, Musical Manipulation, & the dude that scored Jaws.


Possibly the most common medium in which multimodality takes place in modern society is film. Here a combination of visual and auditory stimuli is exhibited to inform, to question, and to affect audiences. Usually involving a specific agenda. One of the most simplistic tools used in evoking an emotional response is binary oppositions in both colour (the visual element) and pitch (the aural element). For example, when the artist is portraying or attempting to evoke sadness from the audience they may couple colder, darker colours with music of minor tonality as opposed to happiness which they may illustrate using warmer, brighter colours and music of major tonality (Meyer 1956). Leonard Meyer’s goes on in his work to argue tonality and colour are visual and aural symbols linked to emotions, and that emotional responses are culturally designated behaviours and therefore a pattern of affective designation and not truly individual responses at all (Meyer 1956). However, regardless of this notion that our emotional reactions to stimuli are insincere, Meyer recognises that they do exist and that similar stimuli evoke similar emotions and therefore artists can manipulate this to create desired affective responses from audiences of modern western society.

The 1975 film ‘Jaws’, perfectly illustrates how audio-symbology and Western musical conditioning have been manipulated to create angst and suspense, affecting viewers and evoking uncomfortable emotions with the use of an unconventional melodic ostinato. Tension is created before each shark attack scene with dark visual, point of view shots. These are then married with a theme that has become one of the most iconic riffs of all time. John Williams, the composer of the Jaws soundtrack, creates tension by moving the melodic contour in jaggered, semi-tonal steps. The famous ‘dah-dun’ bounces between the tonic note and the flattened-first, an interval that western audiences are not accustomed to hear as the melody does not resolve itself. The interval is repeated and as the scene continues the tempo of the phrase is raised along with volume. These musical irregularities, especially the untraditional melodic interval, work together with the visuals of the scene to create suspense, affecting audiences and drawing an emotional response.

As Meyer stated, similar stimuli can be used to evoke similar emotional responses (Meyer 1956). John Williams used the melodic ostinato as a motif throughout the film in areas he hoped to induce an atmosphere of unease or suspense. Once the audience made a cognitive connection between the music and what was to come next in the scene, Williams was able to designate a desired affective response from the audience at will. Whenever the audience heard the riff they would anticipate a shark attack and feel the angst and suspense created by an accumulation of the previous connected scenes and the music.


Meyer, L. 1956, Emotion and Meaning in Music, reprint edn, University of Chicago Press, Chicago.

Musical Techniques, Digital Gaming, & Interactive Narrative. Oh, yeah.

Since the dawn of theatre, narrative has found itself coupled with music. So naturally when the digital age arrived and this popular entertainment form moved from stage to screen, the music followed soon after.  The critical space between the audience and the work is what allowed the two to harmoniously intertwine without any interference. However, now narrative based gaming has been introduced, the former distance between audience and story is filled with a new interactive space which composers must navigate. As now they have to marry music to a narrative that is non-linear and unpredictable due to the involvement of the player (the interactive audience), in a way that upholds the gameplay and follows this constantly evolving narrative, maintaining the suspension of disbelief (Berndt 2009). This is done by employing a range of musical techniques and manipulations by the composer to elements of pitch, tone, structure, and sound effects.

When music is created to pair with a visual scene there are two layers that the composer must account for. The internal, what is heard by the character in the story through a live ensemble, radio, etc. Making sure that music is temporally congruent (fitting with the time and place the scene is set). And second, the external. What is not heard by the character but by the audience, usually the general soundtrack. This is what usually serves a more informative, guiding and emotive function (Berndt 2009). The dilemma faced by composers for digital gaming is that the audience is now the character and so the functions of the internal and external soundtracks must be amalgamated.

One technique that composers implement to marry music to these interactive narratives is the use of a-tonal compositions. As they cannot interpret the characters (who is the player) mood and how the player will respond to the game, composers move their pieces away from being completely major or minor tonalities and use more free-form or strophic structured harmonic changes to allow an ambivalence in the music where the player can form create a more organic bond to the scene.  Games such as the Call of Duty series also employ a melodic motif between some scenes, usually ones of similar intensity or nature, as a means of manipulating the audience into reacting similarly to the scenes with paralleled ostinatos.

Along with marrying general game elements like character and mood, composers must also account for events in scenes that involve sudden changes, such as triggered events. In these instances, there is no scene change to accompany the mood adjustment which can potentially lead to an awkward cross-fade between musical scores (Berndt 2009). Here the composer must rely on the use of either terrace-dynamics & texturing where they completely contrast the music and in turn shocking the player into further engaging with the narrative, or the introduction of an altered melodic or harmonic motif. This would be used if the composer wanted to preserve the current narrative pace but needed to redirect the player’s attention to a new story-board or quest.

These being but a few techniques composers and produces must implement to ensure a realistic and congruent interactive narrative in the form of a digital game.


Berndt, A. 2009, ‘Musical Nonlinearity in Interactive Narrative Environments’, The International Computer Music Conference, vol. 1, pp. 1-4.