Instructors: Ann Chen & Leksa Lee | Student: Sabrina Goodman
New in Town: An Audible Introduction to 源竹小区
I’m new in town. I moved to 源竹小区 (Yuanzhu Xiaoqu or “Origin of Bamboo Community”) in early September. Adjusting to my new environment has naturally been a drastic change from what I was used to back home in Los Angeles as well as here in Shanghai, as both my freshman and sophomore years were spent in the Jinqiao dorms. The community is mostly made up of the retired elderly who often take care of grandchildren during the week while parents are at work. There are some younger individuals and families here and there, but it is predominantly an older community. As far as I know, it has been around for at least two decades, and sits directly behind Lianhua as you walk towards Yuanshen Stadium. There are vacant chairs scattered here and there for ayis to sit and chat with one another in the afternoon. Mobikes and scooters are at the entrances of every building for tenants to use. There are cars lining the walkway but people hardly use them – they seem to be more of a decoration than a necessity. The soundscape reflects my observations as I walk to school and return home, and notice the acoustic environment of this community.
I set out to record the sounds of this community in order to create a sense of place from my perspective – from the eyes of a novice ethnographer. I include a variety of short audio clips that represent the sounds I hear nearly every day, and some sounds I simply noticed as a result of becoming more aware of my environment since I’ve lived here. As I edited the piece, I decided to transition from one sound to another according to flow. For example, in the beginning of the piece, you may hear a car speeding up closer and closer to the microphone until it fades away and the sound of water drain echoes it out. I also decided to edit the piece to create somewhat of an arc as you might find in a story. Sounds are compiled one after another, at times becoming increasingly noisy and chaotic, until I open the door to my complex, walk up the stairs to my apartment, and open the door. Crickets chirp as the sound was recorded at 2am and the community is silent save for the ecological environment. This is meant to buildup the cacophony within this community and provide insight into the transition from sound to silence as morning turns to afternoon and afternoon turns to evening. Some of the audio is overlaid with other segments I took at different times of the day such as the conversational piece with a variety of voices speaking to one another, but for the most part it is simply segments of audio I pieced together and faded in and out. Recording the audio was a lengthy process, especially when considering what sounds best represent the environment and the community, but I think in the end this soundscape does a decent job of portraying 源竹小区.
For my midterm, I plan to redesign the logo for the Southern California Genealogy Society (SCGS) in a style that can be adapted to its local affiliate organizations – the Chinese Family History Group of Southern California (CFHGSC), the Nikkei Genealogical Society (NikkeiGen), and the French-Canadian Heritage Society of California (FCHSC). Below are the current logos and variations for SCGS and its affiliates. CFHGSC does not currently have a logo; rather it is simply the Chinese characters for jiapu or family history book. FCHSC has a very distracting logo, while NikkeiGen has a more subdued minimalist logo. I would really like to stray away from the concept of a family tree as it stereotypically affiliated with genealogical organizations and would instead like to create a simplistic design similar to MIT’s while at the same time conveying the sense of a network or series of lines that all trace together as I believe that is what genealogy truly represents.
As of late, my mom and I have been attending Chinese genealogy conferences as a method of bonding. I’ve noticed that for the most part, the hosts and attendees are over 50 years old, and genealogy for them is simply a social activity or hobby. I feel that younger generations would be especially interested in tracing their ancestry if genealogy were presented in a more attractive manner, and so I aim to redesign the logo in the hopes of sparking more interest in genealogy among youth.
My code is very minimalist, as always. I adapted the “rule-based font” code from the text into my own block font. The font is based on a 3×2 grid where up to three rectangles combine to form either a horizontal or vertical line. I segregated the horizontal values from the vertical values to properly organize the vectors on the screen. Each list of values creates the rectangles that shape one letter which combined draw the word. My word choice not only reflects the parameters of the assignment, but (I think) also reflects my personal everyday struggle with code.
I recorded several audio pieces in the neighborhood that I reside in. Just past Family Mart and directly behind Lianhua, there exists 源竹小区 (yuan zhu xiao qu), literally translated to “source of bamboo neighborhood”. The origin of this name is a story to look into for another time. I come home to this neighborhood every day after school and work and am slowly acquainting myself with the sounds of the area. For instance, when I leave my apartment in the morning, I see many elderly neighbors out and about walking their dogs and grandchildren. There are scooters and bicycles left and right leaving for work. The neighborhood is always bustling in the early hours of the day. I don’t usually come back in the afternoons during the week, so I am quite unfamiliar with how the area might sound, but I assume it might sound similar to a weekend afternoon, with elderly residents out chatting on the sidewalk and kids practicing piano far off in the distance. In the evenings, as soon as it gets dark, it gets silent. Nothing but crickets and cars chirping around. It is quite peaceful so long as you tune out the sounds of the city. Below are some audio clips of my weekly experience in the yuanzhu neighborhood. I document the sounds of my day, as well as part of my journey home as I open the door of my building and walk up the steps to my apartment.
In continuing this project, I hope to generate a soundscape that is as vibrant and dynamic as this community.
I had a lot of trouble creating a for loop for the text boxes during this assignment. The bottom of my code reflects the notes I took in working my way towards a more concise code for the six text boxes, as I had much difficulty conceptualizing the width and height in relation to the gap. The design is meant to be a template for text added later, which may be aligned to the center gap. Overall I think the design came out relatively well.
My interpretation of this assignment was quite abstract, but it made the most sense to me at the time. Mars is represented by a reddish-brown circular outline that encompasses the word “Martian” spelled out in Morse code from top to bottom. The Morse code keeps a consistent white outline while the fill changes in greyscale. I was aiming for something simple and clever, so I chose to use Morse code because Watney apparently spells out Morse code with rocks at one point in the novel (in the film, he uses the ASCII hexadecimal system instead). I thought it would be a neat interpretation of the film/text via a significant turning point in the plot.
This is my interpretation of the sharp-wet assignment. It was meant to resemble teeth and blood, but I guess that’s up for interpretation. I used a for loop for the ellipses, beginShape for the triangles, and besiervertex for the two drops of blood. I had a lot of trouble figuring out how to position everything and so I’m not entirely satisfied with this design because I feel it would have been more beneficial to position the piece horizontally rather than diagonally. But all in all it’s what I came up with in the end.
It’s about 7am on Sunday morning. I’m sitting on the floor of my apartment beside the front door. I don’t feel like sitting outside because it’s dirty and there’s no AC. My roommates and I live on the corner of Yuanshen Lu and Weifang Lu. There’s not much going on right now. One roommate just took a shower. His shoes are slippery and squeak and he walks around the tile floor. My other roommate is in her bedroom with the door slightly ajar. I shift around on the floor because the tile is hard and cold and I cannot sit still for long. Someone is coming up the stairs towards our apartment. They pound their shoes on the ground as they walk so as to let all the tenants know that they are home. The footsteps approach our door, coming closer and closer, and pass, shuffling up one more flight of stairs. I hear a door slam above. Not much going on again. I hear the low rumble of the AC from my room. There’s someone outside blasting something in Chinese via speakers but I cannot hear it clearly. It is a loud neighborhood. There’s always something going on. The neighbor beside us opens his door. The handle clicks behind him. He’s wearing a T-shirt and his underwear and walks over towards the stairwell next to the window. He takes a cigarette out of his pocket and places it between his lips. He begins his smoke. There is a screen between our door and the outside world. It is open so that I can watch people outside our apartment, but I’m closing it now since the smoke is drifting this way. Don’t want our apartment to smell like our neighbor’s. My other roommate gets up and shuffles into the bathroom. Her rubber flip flops slap the tile gently while she walks. I hear the ball bearings glide as she rolls the sliding bathroom door shut. The toilet flushes and the sink runs for a few moments. I adjust my seated position again because my foot is falling asleep. It stings with pins and needles. My roommate glides the sliding door open again and gives me a curious look. She walks away. I the four-digit pin that my neighbor enters as he retreats back into his apartment. The quiet beeping of the code and unbolting of the door have become familiar background noises. He closes the door behind him and now it’s just me and the AC. The end.
I enjoy minimalist designs, and so I generated this ice cream cone icon. I used the triangle, ellipse, and rectangle functions only once and tried to incorporate them in a way that was simple and straightforward. I figured the white outline adds a frame-like composition and seemed like a nice touch. Overall I felt that this design was the most effective means of communicating this idea of an ice cream cone.