Experimental design

procedure outline

Part I

stimulus 1

stimulus 2, etc.

Prompt(s) to participants

Part II

stimulus 1

stimulus 2, etc.

Prompt(s) to participants



Final Project: Critical Review

Project Version #2: Critical Review 

Clearly state a hypothesis, and support it using explicit and implicit interpretations of data from a variety of empirical studies. “Empirical” can be defined broadly to include data collected by musicologists in field or archive studies; the hypothesis, however, must be original, and not inherent in the theses of any of the supportive papers.

No standard outline defines this type of paper, and at least a couple of subcategories are worth considering.

(1) A meta-study (like Anna Tirovolas & Daniel Levitin (2011) “Music Perception and Cognition Research from 1983 to 2010: A Categorical and Bibliometric Analysis of Empirical Articles in Music Perception”) … analyzes data already collected in a number of other papers, superimposing compatable metrics to produce claims of greater statistical strength, and suggest directions for further research.

(2) A literature review (like John Bispham (2006), Rhythm in music: What is it? Who has it? And why? Music Perception 24/2:135-142) examines a range of academic work in an area in order to make a larger, original claim or dispute a broad assumption evident in the discipline as a whole.

The crucial feature of this paper is the thoroughness of its survey of a field—critical reviews are of little use of they omit or misinterpret part of what is known. This isn’t just a critical perspective on existing work, but a demonstration of competency in the field. 



Final Project: Empirical Study

Project Version #1: Empirical paper

An empirical paper is a report on a series of empirical tests, and the meaning of their results. Most empirical papers follow some approximation of the narrative below. The numerical list is standard, the subheadings (a, b, …) are optional.


1. an exposition of a question or area of knowledge in need of exploration

2. a discussion of existing studies that most nearly approach that question or area

a. studies that approach a similar issue successfully—how do their goals differ from yours?

b. studies that approach the same issue unsuccessfully—how will yours succeed?

3. [OPTIONAL:] a discussion of existing empirical studies of similar methodology

a. how do their methodologies succeed or fail?

b. how will you adjust that methodology for this new purpose?


4. detailed description of your method


5. detailed description of your data


6. discussion of the significance of your results 

If your study consists of informal, non-invasive, non-coercive, non-intensive tests of your classmates, you can do this without going through the protocol of the campus “Institutional Review Board” <http://officeofresearch.ucsc.edu/orca/irb/index.html> for human subjects research. However, IRB approval is not difficult for behavioral studies. I would strongly encourage you plan a larger study, involving for example, undergraduates in your musicianship sections, and work with me to get approval for it.

The most crucial feature of this paper is its data analysis, and its potential to contribute nuance to our knowledge about an issue currently known inadequately, or only vaguely.


Five prospecti

 Perspective, Abjection, Global Imagery

            The imagination is an incredible phenomenon.  I remember as a child spending hours daydreaming, or coming up with scenarios that involved game play, or creating a story with fictitious characters that went on amazing adventures.  These moments instilled a beautiful reality that reached and crossed all borders.  There were no rules, no structures, and no influences of the progressions. The imagination just flew and allowed all emotions and struggles of the daily life to filter and reformat to again be re-digested and give hope and light to the real world.  As one get older these moments become less frequent as the time is consumed with surviving in a world that has structures in place in order for humanity to exist peacefully.  Or so we hope.  However, this imagination never leaves us and though we do not summon its existence we suppress it in our bowels and maybe just maybe it reaches us again through remembering our dreams.  The imagination exists in the subconscious.

            In life, we as humans are on a constant search to find meaning in this world and many times we turn to other means to fill this loss of child or imagination.  We search out religion, we indulge in science, we look to the skies or to the bottom of the oceans, or we simply read a book.  The imagination is what constitutes us as humans, and could be the cause of divide between the rest of the animal kingdom and humanity.  This of course has never been proven, as we know really nothing about how the imagination exists.  The imagination is a powerful tool and is the forefront of progression and innovation.

 My imagination has a strong disposition and has never subsided.  I now refer to the imagination as visions.  These visions come to me by the triggering of the senses.  A sound or smell, a visual stimulation recalls a memory or dream that associates a forgotten emotion and together they create a powerful vision that will not leave me at peace until I bring it to the physical World.  I believe that these visions are part of the collective conscience.

            With that in mind I have decided to create a series of five experimental films that are designed to trigger the imagination, to tap into the subconscious, to bring out those forgotten emotions, with the intent to surface the collective conscience in a story about birth, love, life, Death, and beyond.  My means of doing this is through the use of perspective, both visual and storytelling, through instigating the animal instinct, triggering innate behavioral responses, by the actions of the characters, and through memory association by the use of general images/props that all humans have a memory. There is no verbal narrative

 The series of films is titled FIVE and consists of BREATHING, Asphalt, the Chicken and the Coyote, The Feast, and Flight/Migrate.

 Film as medium

            Why use film/digital video as the medium to tell the story? I believe that the performance as a medium is the most powerful form of communication as well as a significant mode to fully immerse the audience, but it does not have the same accessibility as film.

            I started this research five years ago of tapping into the collective conscience through storytelling, music, and imagery with a modern opera troupe called Queen Mae and the Bells that I co –created with Tina Matthews and Gendala Kelli Anna, We were a performance troupe that summoned our ancestors in the guise of animals, shapes, or sounds to tell the stories of our lives.  We also used some of the same tactics that Augusto Boal describes in Theater of Oppressed, in that the “the spectator no longer delegates power to the characters either to think or to act in his place.  The spectator frees himself; he thinks and acts for himself! Theater is Action! “(132-156) We performed on invisible Stages, in environments that were unexpected and to audiences that were not planned.  We immersed into the audience opening ways for participation, our mission was to spread our art to all levels of class, race, and age.  Even though we performed for incredible audiences the overall impact was negligible.  Our performances were limited by funding, energy, and time, which limited the accessibility.

             This was strictly a performance-based group with film used as a way of documenting the process.  I became more interested in film as I saw it as a powerful platform to send ideas to a larger audience by means of the World Wide Web as well as a method to hone into specifically expressing my Visions through camera angles, and post editing.  However each film is set up as if it could be a live performance but is made specifically for the camera.

            Film is a powerful Medium.  It crosses many dimensions.  The first dimension is existence.  The two points on the Cartesian plane, the representation of the line, the 2nd dimension, is four points on the Cartesian plane, the representation of the square or a plane, the 3rd dimension is eight points, the representation is a cube/volume, the 4th dimension is the integration of space and time a temporal dimension.  Film can incorporate all these dimensions.  Through the idea of existence, a real human or object is being shown in front of you, the film is projected or shown on a 2 dimensional plane that is recording three dimensional objects that are traveling in real life time that at some point was recorded live.

            Film also can be manipulated.  With the development of digital camera technology and editing software every shot can be customized to reveal exactly the director or makers intent:  The length of the shot, the speed of the shot, the angle of the shot, the color of the shot, even the imagery of the shot. “As defined by all computer software, a digital image consists of a number of separate layers, each layer containing particular visual elements.  Throughout the production process, artists and designers manipulate each layer separately; they also delete layers and add new ones” (47) In a sense film has become a series of databases that can be cut up and placed in any order with any duration. There are no limitations except for the mode of viewing, which is still mostly constricted to a 2 dimensional plane.  However that is quickly changing as projection is becoming more available as well as software programs that allow masking the image on three-dimensional Objects. 


             Perspective takes on many different forms.  The first type of perspective I would like to discuss is visual perspective and the use of linear perspectives to give depth to visual story telling.

             When working with Film I could not get away from the fact that the end result was on a 2 dimensional screen.  As I made lists to research for each of my films I noticed that the perspective in which the film was shot or seen was at the priority.  This was a consistent thread throughout each of the films.  It made me rethink my choices and to look at what these perspectives were doing and why each perspective was particle for each piece. Linear perspective is an incredible tool in film to immerse the viewer subconsciously into the time and space of the story.  This can be done through set design, framing of the view, Camera angle, as well as depth perception through giving focus on certain objects.

            Visual perspectives cross all borders. They are a set of lines that suggest depth, time, or space.  The horizon exists everywhere in the world and the sun and moon sets and raises everyday for everyone.  These natural elements are the inspiration for logically explaining where we stand to something else that stands in sight.  They are our basis for comparison.

To understand perspective mores clearly I chose to study the mathematic elements behind perspective and the examples of 2 dimensional artists to explain the different types of linear perspective.

            In 1435 Leon Battista Alberti introduced the first model for a perspective representation, De Pictura is the title of the drawing (1) In this drawing the person is looking through a plane and a line that crosses the plane onto the other side represents their gaze.  The line and the plane produce an angle, which creates the perspective or central projection, the projection from the viewer.  “Alberti began his construction by drawing a rectangular frame for the painting “of whatever size”, and he characterized this as “an open window” through which the subject to be painted is seen”(23) Linear Perspective was discovered by artists/thinkers that painted what they saw through a window.  The window acted as a 2 dimensional framework that gave borders to the lines of depth.  Once this 2 dimensional plane was set, the Cartesian plane came into action enacting grids to organize and stabilize the lines of sight.  The Cartesian plane gave the artist the ability to manipulate the perspective in order to draw the viewer’s sight to specific parts of the painting.  It also gave the artist the ability to logically define distance by the size of the subject in comparison to where the subject stood on the grid in relativity to where the artist was painting the picture.  The Origin of Distance. 

            In my work I am interested in utilizing the vanishing point to which all lines recede and aerial views.   In particular, one point perspective is of interest because of its central point that diminishes into the horizon.  The railroad tracks vanishing off into the distance is a classic example. The simplicity in design is obvious and directional. As the camera follows the one point perspective the viewer embodies the camera’s view and is subjected to also become the traveler.  Throughout the film I am also using different vanishing points to draw focus on certain props or actions that I deem significant and want the viewer to subconsciously pay close attention.  These altered vanishing points, put the viewer in the space where I am shooting as if the person is sitting in the room. Aerial view is another perspective that I use frequently, because of its ability to grab the whole scene with one capture.  It also disembodies the viewer allowing them to view a situation that they are incapable, without the help of technology, of seeing.  This puts the viewer in the position of the omniscient, the all knowing, sort of to speak.  Linear perspective is an incredible tool in film to immerse the viewer subconsciously into the space and into the story

            This leads us to the perspective of the camera’s view.  The camera people represent actual characters as I use the view of the camera as if the viewer were actually walking or acting in the scenario.  So the audience, in a sense, embodies the cameraperson’s position, or takes on the cameraperson’s perspective.  These Camera people have leading roles in the scenes; they play the hero, the voyeur, the executioner, the lover, the witness, the God, or part of the family.  This means that the audience also gets to embody these roles.  This is an important part of the audience passing through the 2 dimensional blockade of the screen and entering the world that the film is creating.  This allows also the audience to take on a new perspective, which creates a community within the audience since they are traveling together on the journey through the eyes of the characters.  From this experience they can either agree with the perspective or create their own.

            The last perspective is the writer or directors perspective that creates the content of the story.  It is my visions that are being portrayed.  Though the films have no verbal narrative, the narrative is portrayed through sound, movement, character development, character interaction, costume, set, and camera angles.  Each film has its own specific message that is communicated through these elements, as well as in entirety of the five films there is a common story.  As the creator I have made the films somewhat abstract as to let the viewer summon their own experiences and associations but within that abstraction are specific rules that are set so that the themes of Birth, love, life, Death, and Beyond definitely come across.

 The Other/Abjection

            The Other is a term that was brought about in the 70’s that referred to the idea that humans repulse and desire things at the same time.  These Others were using in connotation with Sex, Death, Blood, Obsession, Fetishes, Birth, and the Beyond.  Kristeva takes the Other and terms it as Abjection. “Abject.  It is something rejected from which one does not part, form which one does not protect oneself as form an object.” (3)

            I am particularly interested in the abject as a form to signify or represent our primal instinct “We are no longer within the sphere of the unconscious but at the limit of primal repression that nevertheless, has discovered an intrinsically corporeal and already signifying brand, symptom, and sig; repugnance, disgust, abjection. (238)

Abjection taps into primal instinct, the idea that we belong to an animal kingdom that we no longer remember.  Certain instances pop up where we get a glimpse, a sense of understanding of this distant world.  These occurrences happen when our body and mind are able to connect.  Humans have different methods of reaching this abject.  Meditation, sex, activity, violence, survival, drugs.  The list goes on.

“The abject confronts us, on the one hand, with those fragile states where man strays on the territories of animal. Thus, by way of abjection, primitive societies have marked out a precise area of their culture in order to remove it from the threatening world of animals or animalism, which were imagined as representatives of sex and murder.”(239)

            This Primal instinct is something that all humans embody, most of us our unaware of these moments when our animal triggers a reaction.  That moment is the point I want to recreate so that all viewers have a connection with their animal and that moment will help to open the way to the collective conscience so that all the viewers will be in tune and aware for the next progression of the Story.

In the films that I am creating I am mixing fear with death and birth, to mix lust with sacrifice and life, to mix hardship and survival, with perserverence, and hunger with community, and finally, poison with resurrection.

Fear, Lust, Sacrifice, Death, Birth, Hunger, Survival, Community, Joy, and Resurrection.

George Bataille

 The Image.

            What amongst us is seen daily, globally?  What Icons are through out? What images or items exist that puncture all walls of cultural differences?  I have been trying to think of a word that encompasses this idea and have not been able to find the exact word so I termed it the Global item. A global item is an item that is found all over the world. Since there are no words in any of the films, the imagery, action, and sound take on a new level of interpretation.  These areas must have enough abstraction to allow the viewer to enter with their own perspective but then be able to direct the viewer to the next level of the story.   The global item is the memory trigger.  Every person in the room has had some sort of experience with the item, or image.  This association allows for a personal connection between the viewer and the story.  It gives a door way an entrance and exit form the memories of the viewer with the story of the film.

            What are some of these possible images, Plastic Bags for instance are found all over the world.  Whether the culture uses them or not, they have seen a plastic bag.  There are over 3 trillion plastic bags produced every year.  Rope or binding material is found in every culture, a very old form of technology.  Every person has seen blood.   The chicken has the highest bird population and exists or has been seen all over the world.  The coyote is an animal that lives all over the world. The Wing is another form or symbol that is found all over the world the list goes on. All of these things trigger a memory for the viewer.  They are not specific.

        I thought for the next section I would briefly describe how I am using these tactics in the films that I am using.  Breathing is the first film and tells the story of love, life, death and time passing.   The set consists of twenty performers sitting on chairs on tables, breathing in plastic bags.  The tables are set in a Grid.  The two other characters are a cameraman that is witnessing the scene and an aerial view cameraman that acts as the executioner, or godlike figure.  As the ground cameraman travels into the space of the breathing cocoons, the cocoons start to get executed and implode inside of their bags.  There is no panic within the breathers but they resume their breathing as if they are sleeping totally unaware that one of the lives have been taken.  The ground level cameraperson is the only person that reacts, which is fearfully and the camera shots become more frazzled as he continues his search.  In the end he finds the bag that he is looking for and takes it from the execution space. 

            This film has a lot going on with such limited sets and actions.  I use the aspect of perspective with the grid formation the tables are sitting.  This creates multiple vanishing points for both the ground and aerial cameras.  It also cuts off sight by creating corners.  The different perspectives of the camera are also important, in each case they are shot so that the person watching the film becomes each of the parts.  Either they are the witness or the executioner. 

The action of the executions kicks in the animal instinct by the idea of fight or flight.  It creates a panic situation, which is known to all animals, and the shock of the scene triggers a fear reaction, which is a defense mechanism.  The Blood is something that we repulse but desire.  It is a signifier of death but we are drawn to it and cannot take our eyes off of its beauty.  The bags also draw us to the idea of suffocation.  It is beautiful imagery but haunts us forever after.

            The imagery used hits many levels of interpretation.  The plastic bags being worn over the head taps many types of memories or fears.   Torture, waste, baby’s deaths, lungs, and body bags, ect.  The chairs on top of the tables creates instability because of the false imagery, the upside down of what most people recognize, which is the chair sits under the table, the ropes a mechanism to tie down, to constrain, the grid was to hit the childhood memory of the lunch room, social interaction, institutions,

            The time aspect was also relevant; the executions were taking place at random and were not stopping, which means that there is a set time when all of the breathing bags will be dead.

            Each of the films that I am creating follows a similar train of path in the psychology behind the films.  The use of perspective, the abjection as animal instinct, and the global image as memory association are the driving force behind the content.  This is to create a bonding between the viewer and the story as well as the viewer with the collective conscience of the all the viewers.

In the end we must decide whether these films will stand up to tell a story that can potentially impact the world or whether they will stand as just figments of imagination.  As they are my visions and my imaginations I can only stay true to their purity in idea and allow them to fully be represented in the film medium I have chosen.  

It was a test to write this paper but it has given me a strong platform on where to start my research. 


Work Cited


Boal, Agusto, Theater of the Oppressed, 132-156. Trans, Charles McBride and Maria-Odilia Leal Mcbride. New York; Theatre communications group, 1985. Reprint; New York; Urizen Books, 1975132-156

 Manovich, Lev. Database as Symbolic Form. 39-60.

 Anderson,Kristy. The Geometry of an Art: the History of the Mathematical Theory of Perspective form Alberti to Monge. 1-40. Springer Science+Business Media, LLC. New York. 2007 1-40

 Kristevia, “Powers of Horror” 220- 230

 Bataille, George. Erotisim, Death and Sensuality. City Lights Books, San Francisco, 1986. (1-47)

 Barnett, S.A.. Instinct and Intelligence, Behavior of Animals and Man, First Prism, 1971 (1-167)

 Scarry, Elaine. Body in Pain, Oxford University Press. New York 1985 1-30










Equilibrium (Prospectus Draft) h.f.


~John Dewey, Art and Experience.



When we mediate ourselves (our self-s) we utilize technology.  Not just the technology we think of as metallic structures with towering capacity to fail due to fan functions or heated disagreements within their bodies but the simple things such as glass, language and cursive writing.  We agree upon certain arrangements of our technologies in order to complete circuits of thoughtful discourse.  Without our technologies we are solemnly sworn to resist them. We (human society) exist in networks of resistance. We persist.  And together we move forward through this persistent resistance.  Like worn bodies of life the structure of plants, shrubs, trees, grasses that live on coastal shores carry many traits of resistance.  They are woody, twisted and curved from harsh coastal winds and dry sandy terrains.  They are strong due to the conditions that impact them.  They are responsive and corral the scarcest of resources.


“Every need, say hunger for fresh air or food, is a lack that denotes at least a temporary absence of adequate adjustment with surroundings.  But it is also a demand, a reaching out into the environment to make good the lack a to restore adjustment by building at least a temporary equilibrium.” (The Live Creature)


A place of constant in/output whose form we can call equilibrium.  It is often through opposition that we come to identify ourselves as autonomous and whole selves.  Dewey describes this opposition as the need or lack of an adjustment within a living being’s environment.  Through a recovery to a harmonious balance there is a growth from which the living being emerges successfully sustained and enriched but in another state.  Resistance  like that of the organsims whose environment such as a tide pool is brought about in the biological form of their adjustments.  But there is another resistance that is mattering.  And by this I mean  “matter” ing.  It is a place of equilibrium that has been disrupted in the role of art in society due to technological advancement.  It is the shift from figurative art to graphic image representations in what Paul Virilio calls “the multimedia REVELATION that surpasses the encyclopaedic REVOLUTION of the Enlightenment; this is it, the ‘illuminism’ of telecommunications that suppresses the pictorial icon…to the exclusive advantage of live coverage of the perceptive field.” (Virilio,pg.15)

What happens when the distance between people is completely reduced to a point in which autonomy can longer be restored to individuals?  Virilio argues that it is precisely this lack of distance that brings forth the need for a new form of art making through a new resistance to technology that has left society imbalanced in healthy opposition.


John Dewey speaks at great length of the “task to restore continuity between the refined and intensified forms of experience that are works of art and the everyday events, doings, and sufferings that are universally recognized to constitute experience.”


 Through a language of difference we can reconstruct the very necessary components of art and its discourse.  Within this difference, art exists as a symbolic or gestural medium through which discourse takes form.  The form of art exists fully within the sublime experience when a conflict is resolved or at least when an agreement is stabilized.


“There is in nature, even below the level of life, something more than mere flux and change.  Form is arrived at whenever a stable, even though moving, equilibrium is reached.  Changes interlock and sustain one another.  Wherever there is this coherence there is endurance.”  (Dewey, pg. 13)


These plastic forms of art are well known and now historicized mainly after the technological advancement experienced in the modern era.  This era, defined since the late 19th century and ending within the middle ground of the 20th century witnessing a move from political to pop and post-modern art.  Scientific and technological advances and discovery have been accelerating since mid 19th century and the face of art has changed along with this.  Paul Virilio describes this technological advance an “acceleration of reality” whose capabilities of seeing and experiencing our tellurian existence in ever magnified images and reproductions or simulacra as a call to open our eyes to “what was trampled and buried underfoot!”  He is talking about the ever increasing speed of telecommunications that has left several generations of humans lacking in a simple and humble perception of empathy through the ever increasing globalized images of “violence that has now become customary at every level of society.”  This violence of the modern era was echoed through the creation of art and the responses of a panic of fear brought on through technological warfare by massive machines of destruction whose lack of a soul obliterated the empathy for others as well as the natural environment whose body brings sustenance and life of which John Dewey upholds. 


“The first great consideration is that life goes on in an environment; not merely in it but because of it, through interaction with it.” (Dewey, pg. 12)


         The break from the experience or forms of art is also described by Jacques Ranciere in The Future of the Image in which he calls forth Adorno’s dialectical reasoning:


“The autonomy of artistic forms and the separation between words and forms, music and plastic forms, high art and forms of entertainment then take on a different meaning.  They remove the pure forms of art from the forms of aestheticized everyday, market existence that conceal the fracture.  They thus make it possible for the solitary tension of these autonomous forms to express the original separation that founds them, to disclose the ‘image of the repressed, and remind us of the need for a non-separated existence.” (Ranciere, pg4.0)


This call for a cohesive existence is in part what Virilio is seeking with the return to empathetic society through a distancing of ourselves so as to find space in order to understand that which we have lost sight of in our “endlessly revolving broadcast satellites of ‘world vision’…” brought about with in a compressed temporality of the “TELEPRESENCE in the real-time world delivered by the instantaneity of a ubiquity that has now gone global.” (Virilio, pg 27,20)


Photography advanced the perception or image of the real with two dimensional representation of an instant in time.  This act of looking at the world has an entire vocabulary built into our language.  What was once experienced and realized through a careful representation through the manipulation of different mediums was replaced with instantaneity.  In harnessing the energy of light to mimic perception the ocularcentric vocabulary witnessed a large paradigm shift.  A two dimensional representation of perceived ‘reality’ broke the tangible and tactile form of artistic expression.  


The photograph was not considered an art form. Walter Benjamin and Paul Virilio both address this technological advancement of reproducibility and how both the space between observer and observant and viewer and viewed changed not only artistic practice but societal structures as well.  We see the shift from the autonomous artistic experience that Dewey speaks of and the mechanized destruction occurring through advances of technology. 


“Because of changes in industrial conditions the artist has been pushed to one side from the main streams of active interest.  Industry has been mechanized and an artist cannot work mechanically for mass production.” (Dewey, pg.8)

The bridge between society, art and technology is at a very rich crossroads.  The loss of control of mechanized reproduction has brought space closer together but people are farther apart.  The community of art cannot be relegated to the museum any longer for the museum itself is empty.


In the attempt to recreate an aesthetic rewire I have been shifting my aesthetic from the form of 2 dimensional works whose experience lie within a type of response to a more conceptual 3 dimensional form whose reconfiguration of larger parcels of information and realities are both politically and holistically challenging.  As an artist my goal is not to persuade the masses but to understand and study them.  Specifically, I am beholden to all things natural.  The term natural has been an area of dispute by many theorists and sociologists as well as within the scientific community.  It has become my goal to understand and mediate a dialectical conversation with the mediums I choose to represent the information with forms that take up space and attempt to reveal very complex ideas in very simple metaphorical forms.  Sometimes these forms are not natural.  Take the cube for example.  Not a natural form.  One does not find cubes in nature, but one does imply or construct them through geometric analysis which is an invisible language to understand abstract ideas about space. When one shifts the celluloid layer of a photograph to a pixelated binary code of information that is accessed through a myriad of interfaces the form changes and is the coded bits of information that is reasonably non-existent able to return the nature of human distance to a state of equilibrium?  Is the experience that Dewey yearns for decidedly dead when the conflict and resistance in space that Virilio suggests is responsible for a failure of technological networks and space through high speed information transfer? 




Virilio, Paul. Art as Far as the Eye Can See. Berg Publishers, New York, NY. 2005.


Dewey, John. Art as Experience. 


Ranciere, Jacques. The Future of the Image. Verso. 2007.