Recontextualizing is the Key

DJ Spooky states on page 016 that “A rhythm scientist begins as an archivist of sound, text, and image.” Essentially, to begin remixing and changing objects into new things, we must first gather a collection of items to use in our remix.


Most of the items we gather into our archives are familiar sights, sounds, and words.  From there, we are able to create new works.  However, people rarely dip into today’s world for inspiration.  Instead, they avoid taking risks by look back and using ideas and themes that were familiar in the past, using them to create something that is new, yet something that is familiar.  This is the concept of the “changing same.”


In order to remix anything, you need to have an arsenal of things to choose from.  Instead of finding new ways to use pieces of familiar elements, people just create new versions of them.  For example, DJ Spooky says, “It’s amazing, really, how many movie soundtracks sound like heavy-handed treatments of The Ring Cycle’s overtures” (017).  Instead of creating new contexts for these sounds, people are reusing them with tiny changes made. “Rhythm science uses an endless recontextualizing as a core compositional strategy,” says DJ Spooky (021).  The “changing same” does not recontextualize elements of image, sound, and text.


We are assigned to remix our class archive.  To take what others have made and to put a whole new spin on it.  To recontextualize the elements that ourselves and our classmates have presented.  The challenge presented is to take what we have made throughout the semester and make something completely new with it. We don’t know if it’s going to be a successful venture or not.  As DJ Spooky says on page 004, “The beginning. That’s always the hard part…you’re always haunted by the way that things could have turned out…The uncertainty is what holds the story together.”  (How does uncertainty hold the story together?)


We need to try to avoid the changing same in order to create our remixes.  We need to take cues from the world we are living in right now and not look back to see what has been successful in the past. We have our arsenal; It’s time to mix it up.



Knowing what you’re working with

If you’re anything like me, you love organization almost to a fault.  I have an almost constant compulsion to know exactly where everything is at all times and to know that I’m going to be able to find it if I look. I almost had a panic attack when I imported all my files into Audacity and realized I had zero clue what was what.



Insert hyperventilation, blurred vision, increased heart rate, and cold sweats.

When working with many different pieces of audio in Audacity, especially in separate tracks, it is important to make sure that you know exactly which recordings are which. This will not only save you time when finding the right clip you want to sample from, but it will save your sanity as well.



Whew. Now I can see what I’m working with.

This simple step only takes a few moments, but it will save you more than that as you work through your edits. Instead of having to listen to the first few seconds of each clip in order to find the right file, all you have to do is look in the gray bar on the left of each file to see what it is.

1. First, import your files into Audacity. The file names should all be in numbers on the left hand side.


2. Click the black arrow beside the numerical file name. Select “Name…” from the drop-down menu.


3. Change the track name to whatever you feel will make sense to you as you edit.


4. Revel in the fact that you now know what is on each track.


I know it’s not a huge tip, but it’s one that will save you time and hair-pulling-out once you don’t have to hit play to find out what’s on each track. Hopefully it’s helpful!


Make Sure Your Audience Understands

In the podcast “Who Am I?” from Radiolab, there are many layers of sound that are put together in order to create the final product. This layering of sounds, like blipping noises and different music tracks, allows the listener to almost visualize what is being said, instead of relying on only voices telling the story. For example, when the author is explaining his experience while hooked up to the machine with the sensors, there is a monotone, wavy sound behind his voice. When he explains how his adrenaline spiked after making a joke, the monotone sound quickly and gradually increased pitch, providing an aural example of the spike on the paper the author was speaking about.


When you are afforded only the sense of hearing in order to make a point, it becomes imperative that the author does the work for the listener. When you write written word, it is easy to make your reader do some work in regards to inferring what you are saying because they have time to stop and think about it. When it comes to hearing, the listener is usually unable to pause the audio in order to think about what was just said. Everything must be explained clearly in order to ensure the audience’s understanding.


The two men running the podcast introduce each segment, which gives the audience an overview of what to expect for each part of the podcast. For example, the podcast is opened by one of the moderators introducing one of the guests on the show, who wrote a book. After the introduction, the author speaks briefly about the experiences he had in order to write his book, which was followed by another segment of the moderator further explaining what the author had said. This works with the aforementioned idea of making sure everything is given to the audience so it can understand.


My take-away from this podcast is that it is important to make sure your audience understands the story you are trying to tell. Even more, you need to make sure that your audience is entertained. This is achieved not only by having an interesting story, but also presenting it in an interesting way. You cannot depend solely on people’s voices to keep your audience engaged and interested. Make sure your audience can visualize the story you are telling through the use of sound effects. But most of all, make sure your audience doesn’t have to guess and understands the story you’re telling.


Want to make things scroll and bounce?

So you’re making a website. A most ambitious venture, indeed. But maybe a stationary page is not to your fancy. Perhaps you feel the need to make something on your pages move. “How can I do that?” you might ask. Look no further than this blog post!

I’m going to teach you the simple steps to making a marquee for your page! “What is a marquee?” you are asking yourself. Remember back in the Myspace days when people had nice little messages scrolling across their pages?

I can be your guru and teach you how to do that. Hang tight. This gon’ be intense.

First, open up the page you would like to add the effect to in Dreamweaver. Find and isolate the text you want to make scroll.

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Decide which direction you want your text to scroll. Left, right, up, down, it is all up to you. I chose to make it go to the left. On the outside left of the sentence or phrase you chose, type “<marquee direction=left/right/up/down>”. Obviously, only choose one direction for your marquee to scroll.

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Don’t forget to close your html with “</marquee>”!

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If you’d like, you could even make a marquee that bounces back and forth between the edges of the screen!

Find and isolate the text you want to make bounce.

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Type this to the right of the text: <marquee behavior=”alternate”>.

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Once again, don’t forget to close your html!

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To change the speed of your marquee, all you have to do is add this to your code: scrollamount=”#”> You do not need to start a new piece of code for this part.

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Change the number sign to whatever number you choose. The higher the number, the faster your text will scroll across the screen.

Have some fun with this! You can use it like I did and make the titles of your pages move, like here, or even make images slide onto and across the page!

Really, you can use it to spice up almost anything on your website!

Have fun!


Taking a New Perspective


As I was flipping through a gallery of different website designs, this one immediately jumped out at me.  The website is for a woodworking company, but the website made it obvious that the company made more than just tables and chairs.  The stark white of the background contrasts with the warm browns of the wood in the pictures, drawing the eye to the pictures.  At first, you cannot tell what the pictures are of, and it causes you to look closer, literally giving you a different perspective of the woodwork being exhibited.

The white background gives it a clean look, which directly reflects the style of woodwork the company does.  The way the diamonds fit together prevent the space from looking too cluttered and busy.  Instead, it looks organized and underwhelming, which is good, since you never want website elements fighting for the visitor’s attention.

What I found to be the most intriguing part of this website is the way it moves when you click.  Most specifically, if you click on the “Portfolio” button at the top right of the screen, it scrolls you down the page to a little photo gallery.  This gallery is set up in a series of three diamonds.  The largest diamond in the middle is completely solid, enabling you to click through the pictures of that particular project.  When you click the orange arrow to move to the next project, all the pictures in the diamonds shift to the left, placing the new project in the center diamond.  The motion is very fluid and quick.  There is no delay between the click of the mouse and the motion of the photos.

There is not much text on the page, but the text that is there is simple and clean.  The text in the logo differs from the text in the navigation buttons, which differs from the text in the “Services” and “Contact Us” sections.  Having different fonts for each section helps differentiate what goes together and what is separate.  Simple text also ensures that it is readable, and it looks clean, which fits in with the white background and straight lines of the layout.

Overall, this website has a unique design I would not have thought of myself.  Using the perspective photos on the index page really draw the visitor in and makes them want to learn more about the company and what they can do.