New Charlie Rebel JAPAN film-clip STARE AT THE SUN

The new film-clip for the Charlie Rebel STARE AT THE SUN single is out now. Compiled with footage from the Japan tour we had a few months ago, along with the full ep at We had a wild time and will be heading back to Japan in May 2018 with a new album.
Human Records.


Media Ecology: Is Technology Moral?

Neil Postman asks in his 1993 book ‘Technopoly: the surrender of culture to technology’ (Postman, 1993), is technology moral? As technology changes, the culture surrounding it and the way in which people use technology to communicate also changes. We are driven to participate in media through society, our western culture dictates that in order to stay connected with those around us, we must use the new technologies. The media environment that we exist in today defines the range of responses and actions that we take, the way we communicate with others and puts restrictions on the full human experience that we would have had prior to the digital revolution. Lance Strate suggests the following,

“As environments, media do not determine our actions, but they define the range of possible actions we can take, and facilitate certain actions while discouraging others.” (Strate, 2008)

His paper on ‘Studying media as media’ (Strate, 2008) delves into the study of media ecology focusing on Marshall McLuhan’s work in the book ‘The Medium is the Massage’ (McLuhan, M., Fiore, Q., & Agel, J, 1967). Media ecology is the study of media as media and McLuhan, Strate and Postman all point at the situation that as media and technology change, it is important that we are aware of how the medium (the technology) is altering the way in which we send and perceive the message it contains.

Technology is embedded in everyday life for most of us, access to the internet with customized information is available in our pockets and all around us. It would seem that the advancement of new technologies in entertainment, communication and connectivity is continually pushed forward for the sake of consumerism and financial gain without any thought into the social and human ways in which we have learnt to interact prior. Technology can shape the way we interact in a positive way by bringing people together geographically, giving rise to independently sharing ideas, events and concerns that would have previously been suppressed by old media and government control. This is seen directly for most people in the use of social media sites.


But in contrast, this new media environment is also growing unchecked and the overload of information, content created by all users in a convergence culture (Jenkins, 2008) is what Postman is suggesting could create a disconnection between using the technology and being used by the technology. Is technology being moral in developing ways and mediums of communicating media faster than we can make sense of the ethically right way of adapting to it?

“Whatever the consequences of the messages we send, it is the media we use that play the leading role in human affairs; it is our technologies that shape us individually and collectively. It may be true that a good part of what we call reality is a social construction, but the construction we end up with is not necessarily one that we intended to build.” (Strate, 2008)

In my lifetime since 1980, I have seen the rise of the personal computer and the connection of this to the network we call the internet. It has drastically changed and shaped the way we find and collate information, while much more is available with ease from my home, I have found less of a need to transcribe and collect my own thoughts on topics, rather relying on searching for others thoughts and research. In hindsight, it is clear to see where the moral and ethical consequences of the impact of media and technology on society have made mistakes and could be improved. The adaptation of new media and technology always seems to come first without the thought of its effects.

Neil Postman’s views on the effects of technology on culture (Postman, 1993) are drawn from a standpoint of creating the discussion around the topic. This awareness of the cultural impacts that technology has on us is perhaps the main trigger that is needed in order to make an ethical judgement on our use and interaction with new media. I don’t consider Postman’s views to be extreme, but rather an introduction to thinking before we leap into changing the way we communicate with each other. At the time it was introduced in the mid-early nineties, we were beginning to see the rise of the new internet SLIP/PPP protocols (PPP and SLIP protocols, 2017) that constantly connects our digital devices to a network that today spans the globe. Postman’s metaphor at the time was relevant to the change from written and oral communication to print and TV, but its even more important in today’s culture as digital mediums slowly reform all forms of print, written, oral and video media. In this video, he discusses his book and defines what he refers to as technology.


Strate suggested that McLuhan’s goals were to communicate that we should take care in paying attention to the medium, as it can direct the ways in which we live our lives.

“McLuhan’s goal was the liberation of the human mind and spirit from its subjugation to symbol systems, media, and technologies. This can only begin with a call to pay attention to the medium, because it is the medium that has the greatest impact on human affairs, not the specific messages we send or receive. It is the symbolic form that is most significant, not the content. It is the technology that matters the most, its nature and its structure, and not our intentions. It is the materials that we work with, and the methods we use to work with them, that have the most to do with the final outcome of our labors.” (Strate, 2008)

The discussion and study of media as media, media ecology is an important step to deciphering the paths and methods of adapting to the new media technologies. While not all new technologies are considered useful to our lives, change in technologies and the ways in which they integrate into our lives are inevitable. It is perhaps only after using and then considering what we have lost with new technologies, that it can become apparent the precautions that should have been taken. Each user has a choice to some extent to involve or not involve themselves in the changing media landscape, but failure to do so can result in being uninformed to the current situations and events. As new media technologies arise, it is important for users to change their habits and become more aware of how they themselves fit into the media environment and this awareness can help lead us to a more balanced media ecology.



Postman, N. (1993). Technopoly: the surrender of culture to technology. New York: Vintage Books.

Lance Strate (2008), Studying Media AS Media: McLuhan and the Media Ecology Approach, MediaTropes eJournal Vol I (2008): 127–142

McLuhan, M., Fiore, Q., & Agel, J. (1967). The medium is the massage: an inventory of effects. Harmondsworth: Penguin Books.

Jenkins, H. (2008). Convergence culture: where old and new media collide. New York: New York University Press.

PPP and SLIP protocols. (n.d.). Retrieved November 27, 2017, from

B. (2009, October 19). Retrieved November 28, 2017, from


Creative Statement – Guy Cooper

Media Ecology share

AUD451 TET Distortion & Quantization Error

Guy Cooper Distortion TET.png

The sound used to analyze the quantization error created by the bit depth change was the preloaded full drum kit recording. The cymbal-heavy sections were difficult to determine the changes, but the lower frequency tom sections and quieter sections made it easy.

A sound with less audio content would make it easier to hear the quantization error. The dynamic range is 96.33dB at 16bit, 72.22dB at 12bit, 48.16dB at 8bit, 24.08dB at 4bit and 12.04dB at 2bit. (Smith, 2007)

Therefore it would be easy to determine the quantization error noise if you can aurally analyze the noise in the signal during sections with less audio content. (Corey, J. 2010)

The quantization error is more noticeable in the higher frequencies due to the larger and changes in level per sample. Sounds with lots of high-frequency content such as cymbals would make it harder to hear the noise created by the quantization error due to masking.

“Critical bands are important in many audio disciplines. For example, codecs such as AAC, MP3, and WMA are based on the principle of masking. A tone (a music signal) will mask quantization noise that lies within a critical band centred at the tone’s frequency. However, if the noise extends outside the critical band, it will not be masked by the tone. One critical band is defined as having a width of 1 bark (named after German physicist Heinrich Barkhausen).” (Everest, F. A., & Pohlmann, K. C. 2015)

Smith, J. (2007). “Pulse Code Modulation (PCM)”. Mathematics of the Discrete Fourier Transform (DFT) with Audio Applications, Second Edition, online book.

Corey, J. (2010). Audio production and critical listening: Technical ear training. Burlington, MA: Focal Press.

Everest, F. A., & Pohlmann, K. C. (2015). The master handbook of acoustics. New York: McGraw-Hill.

Affect and aesthetics in music creation & how does music make us feel?

How do you create music that affects people? I’m a person, can I not simply create music and media that speaks a certain aesthetic emotion to myself and assume that others will feel the same emotions? Are there universal connections that can be made between the emotions that people feel and the sounds that generated them?

Music is considered one of the most emotionally connecting art forms, it’s can conjure up memories in our heads, make us mentally stronger or help us process heartbreak. Blanchard & Acree talk about music and its effect on emotions, saying that music helps to enhance their emotions and compares it to a close friend.

“Music has been my steadfast friend on my happiest days and on my saddest. It has enhanced my fondest moments and soothed my greatest heartaches.” (Blanchard & Acree, 2007)

This comparison suggests a strong relationship between the music and the emotions it triggers, but are those triggers universally connected to the same emotions for every person? What emotion or affect do you feel when listening to this Adele song?

(Adele – Someone Like You, 2011)

Milliman suggested in his 1973 journal article ‘Using background music to affect the behaviour of supermarket shoppers’ that music is generally used as an entertainment medium but can also be used to achieve other objectives in production facilitates or retail stores to produce certain attitudes and behaviours. But despite the widespread use of the music in the marketplace, research documenting the actual effects of the specific music is limited and the results are varied and inconclusive. (Milliman, 1982)

Most of us feel something when a song connects with us, it might be the lyrics, the melody, or the tone and frequencies of the sound itself. Myskja and Lindbaek talk about this physical effect on the body in their book ‘How does music affect the human body?’. Their research leads to how music can affect physical reactions in our bodies, but again that the specific type of music to create different reactions are unclear.

“Research has shown that music may influence central physiological variables like blood pressure, heart rate, respiration, EEG measurements, body temperature and galvanic skin response. Music influences immune and endocrine function. The existing research literature shows growing knowledge of how music can ameliorate pain, anxiety, nausea, fatigue and depression. There is less research done on how music, and what type of music, is utilized and administered specifically for optimum effect in specific clinical situations.” (Myskja & Lindbaek, 2000)

In 2009 Marin and Bhattacharya discussed in more depth the research and connection between music and emotion (Marin & Bhattacharya, 2009), discussing that different people respond to music emotionally in different ways. Cultural differences, familiarity and even gender can change how different people perceive the specific affect in a piece of music.  Also that someone with more musical experience such as musician, might feel a completely different emotion to someone else due to focusing on other technical attributes of the song. Perhaps you are someone that listens to the lyrics and vocals or maybe you are focusing on a particular rising melody on the guitars.

It is possible, however, that our perception of the emotion in music could be connected with other people who have had similar experiences in life to us. Denora also spoke of a similar situation, that we can draw many different emotions from music when listening, attempting to definitively define the specific emotions and how they will affect different people is again unclear.

“At the level of the listening experience, for example, music seems imbued with affect while, at the level of analysis, it seems perpetually capable of eluding attempts to specify just what kind of meaning music holds and just how it will affect its hearers.” (DeNora, 2000)

Serrano-Puche also states when discussing the connection between emotions and digital technologies, that as well as the technology helping deliver the emotion, that this connection also affects those we are connected to around us on social media for example.

“We can conclude that the technology not only serves as a channel for the expression of the affections of the people but also contributes to model these affections.” (SERRANO-PUCHE, 2015)

Focusing back on an initial question of, can I not simply create music and media that speaks a certain aesthetic emotion to myself and assume that others will feel the same emotions? I would say yes, but only if the audience was from a similar generation and geographical location as myself.

Technology also plays a large role in delivering and persuading our emotions today. (SERRANO-PUCHE, 2015) Perhaps our reaction to events, music and film in the western world are closer globally, how we respond to music and the experience we all have is possibly becoming more similar and hence the emotions we take from certain musical cues can also become more similar. Although I would still expect that there is a divide between my perception of emotion in a piece of music and that of people in non-western countries.

Regardless of other people picking up on the same affect I was attempting to put into productions, embedding any emotion into art is most likely going to be beneficial. So assuming the audience has had a similar cultural experience to me, how can I create music that affects people in my production process?

To me, the vocals in most music recordings and productions are often the most human element and the delivery of the lyrics can be as important as the lyric content itself. My production method on most songs starts with identifying the core emotion or narrative of the song. Sometimes this can be from lyric content but it is often more apparent from the tempo, flow and delivery of the main melody and/or vocal. Once this core emotion has been identified and discussed with the artist, we follow through with instrumentation, production, effects and layering that we feel best translates this emotion to the audience.

Below is a list of songs that I would consider have the affect of both heartbreak and then also strong in overcoming that pain.

In the verses of each vocalists tone and delivery, you can hear the dragging of the voice, the slight breakup and vibrato, long slower notes, a more whispered and almost traumatized vocal, suggesting the frailness of the singer. Quieter in level and more dynamic, less if perhaps any reverb/delay and more isolated vocals, often with just one or two other low octave ranged instruments (bass, piano, cello).

This is then contrasted with the change (often in the chorus, sometimes at the end of the song) into a louder and more even tone. A vocal that is rising above the instruments in level and thickness, opening up the diaphragm and projecting. Heavy compression, more balanced frequency range and heavier reverb/delay. Often more instrumentation adds to the rise and change in this emotion.

This change from heartbreak into strong was the same combination of affects that were used when I was producing Holly Terren’s’ song ‘Not The Same’, it was essential to translate the feeling, that the main vocal was delivered in the verses while in the same emotional state as Holly felt when she wrote the song.

(Terrens, H. 2016. Not The Same.)

The track deals with issues of relationship breakdown and the changes we go through in separating from a romantic partner, moving onto the strength of how she has changed. At the time we recorded this song, Holly had moved on from the emotions she felt when it was written and the initial recordings were strong and smoothly delivered, which suited very well for the choruses, but lacked the emotional connection to the original meaning of the song for the verses.

To get the vocal take that best expressed the affect of the song, I asked Holly to try and bring herself back into the emotional mindset she was in when the breakup was occurring. The resulting takes connected better with the intent of the track, coaching her towards the slight dragging of each line and breathing patterns help enhance the affect of the song to the audience. The breaking up of the breath at the end of certain lines added to the feeling that the singer was shaken and in some distress. This fragility in the vocal helped to translate the emotional state of heartbreak to the audience. This is complemented with the melodically complex piano part expressing the confusion in the thoughts by Holly. The underlying cello and flute parts were used initially to drag Holly’s voice and help her rise and fall while keeping the voice isolated and in an intimate space. As stated earlier this could translate differently to someone from a different age group and nationality to Holly and myself.

The transition into the ‘answer’ section is the chorus with the entry of the drums, bass, guitar and extra vocal parts, it changes the tone and affect into a strong and more positive feeling, the rise from the depression and confusion of the verses. The vocals are returning to be on the main pulse, double tracked, more compression and the introduction of thicker layering and more powerful sounds.

As a producer, the direction of the performing artists in relation to their emotional states as they perform is essential to capturing that extra 10% in the part. We are recreating and re-telling the affect that created the songs we write and produce. The choice of key, octaves, melodic and percussive movement, tonality in the instrument, pickups, amp, microphone and preamp choice, equalization, compression and effects all add to the affect, but the essential element was emotionally placing the performer into the mindset of the content. This was done in this case, by removing Holly from the studio, placing her in a more intimate space, changing the lighting and prompting her with questions that lead her back to feeling the emotions she was experiencing at the creation of the song. Followed of course by a hug and bringing her back to her current reality.

I applied a similar technique in the track ‘Kingdom of Glass’ by the band ‘The Matador’ from their 2012 album ‘Decent into the Maelstrom’. A long progressive metal track, it transitions between two main emotions, a softer longing and exploration of the main melody that transitions into anger at around 4mins.

(The Matador. Kingdom of Glass. 2012)

The initial instrumental intro over the first 4 mins is the introduction to the album and the live show, it was explained to me as setting the scene and was to express the amazing technicality of nature, life and the earth. The descending 4ths and overlaying polyrhythms from the bass and drums create two separate lines of production that follow the same base tempo, for this, the band was separated into two rooms and imagery was mapped out to help keep the flow of the progressions.

The issue with applying affect for this track came with the change around 4mins in with the vocals again. Musically and Instrumentally we can change the tonal mix, tempo, time signature, timbre, physical performance and sounds to match the anger aesthetic, but the vocals didn’t match the intensity required. The complexity of the melodies was being overthought and it caused the singer to deliver technically accurate lines, loud and throttled in an angry tone, but lacked the out of control anger required for the change.

To put the vocalist in a mindset to that allowed him to stop thinking about the timing and key changes and focus on the attitude, I removed the band from the live rooms and went in to make him angry. Attacking and somewhat physically assaulting him back into a physically angry emotional state and then making him do the new takes right away yielded a much better result. Again, followed by a hug and an explanation.

Both examples have shown me that while I can adapt the sound and production to suit the affect and emotion required for a song, the emotional state of the performer is required to match to get great takes. The difference in the takes is seen through the audience and industry reaction to hearing the songs. As humans, we have learnt communication through life with other humans and part of this is understanding physical and verbal cues that help us understand the people around us. It is essential to me when performing music that we not only attempt to recreate these emotions in small movements but to return to that mind space to fully and effectively translate this into the physical actions that represent them.



Blanchard, B., & Acree, C. (2007). Making music and enriching lives : A guide for all music teachers(Music for life). Bloomington: Indiana University Press.

Adele. (2011, September 29). Someone Like You. Retrieved November 23, 2017, from

Milliman, R. E. (1982). Using background music to affect the behavior of supermarket shoppers. The journal of Marketing, 86-91.

Myskja, A., & Lindbaek, M. (2000). How Does Music Affect The Human Body?. Tidsskrift for den Norske laegeforening: tidsskrift for praktisk medicin, ny raekke, 120(10), 1182-1185.

Marin, M and Bhattacharya, J. (2009). Music induced Emotions: Some current issues and cross-modal comparisons. Music Education. Nova Science Publishers.

DeNora, T. (2000). Music in everyday life. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

SERRANO-PUCHE, J. (2015): “Emotions and Digital Technologies: Mapping the Field of Research in Media Studies”. MEDIA@LSE Working Paper Series, nº 33.

Adele. (2011). Someone Like You. 21. [digital] XL Recordings, 11.

Mars, B. (2010). Grenade. Do-Wops & Hooligans. [digital] Atlantic Records, 1.

Tyler, B & Steinman, J (1983). Total Eclipse Of The Heart. [digital] Columbia Records, 1.

Gotye, Kimbra. (2011). Somebody That I Used To Know. Making Mirrors. [digital] UMG Recordings, 3.

Timberlake, J. (2002). Cry Me A River. Justified. [digital] Zomba Recording, 5.

Smith, S. (2015). Latch – Acoustic. In The Lonely Hour. [digital] Capitol Records, 12.

Terrens, H. (2016). Not The Same. [digital] Gold Coast. Retrieved from

The Matador. (2012). Kingdom of Glass – Decent into the Maelstrom. [digital] Brisbane. RRetrievedfrom

AUD451.1 Delay & Reflections

Guy Cooper Delay Lvl 1Guy Cooper Delay Lvl 2

Sound reflections from surfaces blend with and affect our perception of the direct sound in differing ways depending on the delay time, directional angle and level. The result of these reflections is how we analyse the environmental acoustics of closed spaces. Understanding how the impulse response is used in acoustic reverberation analysis prompted me to use a similar sound source for delay exercise. The sound source used in the above technical ear training exercise was a single snare drum hit due to its strong attack transient, making it easier to identify the delay time by ear.

Delays over 30ms are also more easily identifiable as echo’s by the ear and therefore the delay time is more easily identifiable using impulse sounds with a strong attack transient that have an initial duration of 5-15ms such as a snare drum or click.

The experiments indicate that the localization of impulsive sounds, with strong attack transients, is independent of the room reverberation time, though it may depend upon the room geometry. For sounds without attack transients, localization improves monotonically with the spectral density of the source. Localization of continuous broadband noise does depend upon room reverberation time, and we propose the concept of direct signal to reverberant noise ratio to study that effect. (Hartmann, 1983)

Sounds without attack transients can make the delay time harder to hear, as the comparison of the sounds original source with the delayed sound is more difficult to identify. The resultant combined sound has a less defined repeat of the initial wave pattern and sound when analysed with the ear so the use of gradually increasing sounds such as cello would make it more difficult to hear the delay times in the exercise.

Environmental characteristics are determined by comparing our memory of the sound source’s timbre outside of the host environment to the sound source’s timbre within the host environment. We must go through this comparison process carefully, scanning the composite sound for information and then comparing that information with our previous experiences with the timbre of the sound source (at times considering how the source appeared within other environments). Differences in the spectrum and spectral envelope of the sound source we remember, and as heard in the host environment, form the basis for determining most environmental characteristics. (Moylan, 2014)

Utilising a source that I am familiar with also made it easier for me to identify the timbre change from the short delays. I am familiar with the snare sound used in the example from its production in this recent track and this has helped me to recognize the comb filtering effect and timbre change in the snare sample when combined with the delayed sound.

Hartmann, W. M. (1983). Localization of sound in rooms. The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America,74(5), 1380-1391. doi:10.1121/1.390163

Moylan, W. (2014). The art of recording: understanding and crafting the mix (3rd ed.). Boston, MA: Focal Press.

Harry, L, Campbell, I & Cooper, G. (2017, November 14). The Dash, Gold Coast: Human Records. Retrieved November 16th, 2017, from

Everest, F. A., & Pohlmann, K. C. (2015). The master handbook of acoustics. New York: McGraw-Hill.

Rindel, J.H. “Diffusion of Sound in Rooms – An Overview.” 15th ICA, Proceedings vol. 2, 633-636. Trondheim, 1995.

CIM402.1 Community is a postmodern metanarrative & Do we consume media or decode it?

Community is a postmodern metanarrative

The show “Community” is built upon a typical US TV sitcom situation in which 7 unlikely students from a community college are drawn together into a study group that sets the scene for a repeating set of scenarios. From the outset the inclusion of a 7th member to the typical 6 person, 3 male, 3 female situation lends itself to the shows main focus Jeff, being left as the narrator or commentator of the situations which is where this show makes it first postmodern announcement. The pivotal character sets the tone of the show and allows for a sarcastic turn, starting to define a postmodern take on the usual sitcom situations that arise from the storyline.

The application of the term “meta” and the definition of the show as a postmodern metanarrative begins with the declaration that the show’s audience is educated enough to understand the concept of meta. The joke of the term “that’s so meta” takes on a sarcastic meaning in the show when applied to multiple mundane situations that the characters refer to as meta and in turn expresses an awareness of the term meta to the audience to get the joke. The term metanarrative is perhaps used in this situation to describe the standard base storylines of each episode, but then the ridiculous direction each of these easily predictable storylines take. The underlying storyline of each character as it progresses throughout the series takes on a developmental and different approach to the usual TV sitcom.

“They told very different over-arching stories of the progress of their research. Within each tradition, accounts of research depicted human characters emplotted in a story of (in the early stages) pioneering endeavor and (later) systematic puzzle-solving, variously embellished with scientific dramas, surprises and ‘twists in the plot’.” (“Storylines of research in diffusion of innovation: a meta-narrative approach to systematic review”, 2005)

The underlying storylines in the show Community are what provide this direction as a metanarrative. The narrative of the show is typical in its school location (‘Saved by the Bell’, ‘Beverly Hills 90210’ & ‘The Wonder Years’), but the bigger picture that the characters and storyline creates suggest a more relatable and connectable truth to the audience through their commentary on the situation, primarily through Jeff’s character. It suggests a drive towards the every city scenario of similar colleges and how these extreme sitcom scenarios are played out in less TV fashioned ways, but with similar experiences across the lives of college students.

The postmodernism of this show is only expressed in the following of typical US sitcom shows such as ‘Friends’ & ‘Roseanne’, Community is a giant postmodern joke on so many of the typical US sitcoms from the 90’s and 2000’s. Its sarcastic storylines and characters only work in the space of the post-sitcom scenario presented by these previous shows. Taking on situations that lend themselves to the typical scenario, but then applying a different direction and also running commentary on that scenario as it plays out in a less than usual fashion.

So the combination of the postmodern scenario and the metanarrative storylines in each episode and then in turn with the season progressions, the show itself becomes a joke and sets up its own demise as a series. Caught between being able to reset itself each season as a typical sitcom does and progressing to fill the metanarrative of the storylines, the show must come to an end and this in itself is discussed and commented on, also creating another postmodern take on the TV sitcom series.

Storylines of research in diffusion of innovation: a meta-narrative approach to systematic review. (2005, January 26). Retrieved October 25, 2017, from

Sheehan, Helena and Sweeney, Sheamus (2009) The wire and the world: narrative and metanarrative. Jump Cut, 51 (Spring 2009). ISSN 0146-5546


Do we consume media or decode it?

In Stuart Hall’s ‘ENCODING / DECODING’ he talks about how “reality exists outside of language, but we constantly mediated by and through language. What we know and say has to be produced through discourse.” The consumption of media is a misuse of the term consumption, media doesn’t become used up when we consume it, we take it in and although we pass it out, it isn’t consumed and it doesn’t go away. What we get out of it is related however to our perspective on how we view it. Entertainment media is typically used to distract and fill the void of time and thinking for most people, but even when we are just watching, we are still decoding the media we consume. The content affects us and changes our subconscious beliefs of what is possible and makes us think or at the very least believe that what we are seeing or hearing is possible.

The aspect of if we believe the media we are seeing or if we reject its content as possible is itself a form of decoding, we are not just consuming the content, but constantly processing its validity and meaning. Its meaning may not be obvious, but even when we think we are simply being entertained by color, light, and sound, it is being processed by our brains to serve a purpose to us. That purpose may be unconscious, but we are constantly taking in the world around us and when we view media, entertainment, informative or otherwise, we are still decoding its meaning or processing the images and sound for decoding at a later stage.

It is perhaps not just the delivery or distribution of the media that changes our thoughts, but our interaction with the media as we reproduce it to our friends, peers and even our own selves in dreams or unconscious thoughts that allows this decoding. Not thinking at all about the media we consume is a difficult line to take, switching off completely with sound and images coming into our senses is not possible as we have been wired to be aware of our senses for survival. Some forms of true meditation can occur when our subconscious is let to flow, even in the presence of auditory and visual stimulation, but that conscious flow of thoughts is still relying on the decoding of the world around us to put itself in the place of physical safety.

When we take in media, we are always decoding it. Though it may not be thoughtful and meaningful analysis, it is still being processed and affecting our sense of reality. We usually put ourselves and the media in its context before and while consuming and this can define how much we are aware of the media and how much we can choose to ignore its true meaning. Popular entertainment, when considered and believed to be simply for entertainment purposes, is perhaps not given the same gravity as news media when we consume it, but it is affecting our vocabulary and discourse with the world when we view it. Simply not decoding and only consuming is not an option for a functioning conscious human brain.

CIM402.1 Simpsons Banksy Opening Sequence

The remaking of the Simpsons opening sequence by controversial street artist Banksy covers a lot of pop culture areas. A show that has achieved popularity, is considered a mass commercial culture and also still retains its folk culture heritage. As an animated comedy TV series it is considered not high culture and also a clear postmodern take on western American society. The Banksy collaboration is the first time an outside artist has been asked to create the opening sequence and he has made a statement against the shows commercialism in true Banksy form. (Halliday, “Banksy takes Simpsons into sweatshop”, 2010)


The Simpsons TV show itself could be considered not high culture with a combination of low brow humor and a post-modern take on American society. And the artist Banksy, who’s street art once considered also not high culture based on its delivery format of old street walls and buildings, but his art is now considered to be high culture by the definition of himself as a respected artist with a high financial value on his individual pieces. The combination of these two creates a unique commentary on the value of animated art in a TV series. Banksy makes a joke of The Simpsons animation being done in Asian sweatshops and merchandising in the sequence showing kittens being fed into a shredder to make Bart dolls, a severed dolphin head sealing boxes and a unicorn used to punch holes into the DVD’s. Having an artist that was once considered not high culture and now reaching into a space of high culture in the modern art scene, poke fun at the mass commercialism of The Simpsons is in itself a postmodern statement on both Banksy and The Simpsons.

The Simpsons would also be a pop culture icon that has achieved popularity and is also mass commercial culture through its distributor and production company 20th Century Fox. The depiction of the Fox logo at the end of the opening sequence by Banksy surrounded by barbed wire fences and spotlights, takes another stab at the employers of The Simpsons series and this even being able to be shown is another example of the postmodern culture that the show is able to get away with.

While there is much serious commentary to be made about the realities of outsourcing and exploitive labor practices in the U.S. and abroad, the criticism implied by the Banksy opening is significantly blunted by the impossible extremes to which the gag is carried. A bedraggled unicorn being used to poke holes in DVDs and a giant panda being whipped like a draft animal undermines any potential seriousness of the critique. Of course, the ability of capitalist institutions to absorb and even thrive on that which seeks to destroy them is well-understood by critical theorists and corporate media conglomerates alike. The closing image of the iconic 20th Century Fox logo surrounded by barbed wire and guard towers would be a lot funnier if it gave viewers any real tools to critique Fox’s ongoing, shameless support of some of the most irresponsible public discourse of modern times. (“The Simpsons opening by Banksy”, 2016)

Having been on air for over 20 years now, The Simpsons to many in the western world is a folk culture icon. The branding and merchandise is a large commercial machine, but the content is a commentary and considered to be culture of the people.

The commerciality of the series and the joke of the Asian sweatshop animators by a controversial street artist such as Banksy is also an example of the hegemonic struggle between the large corporate 20th Century Fox, big business, the republican party of the USA and the creative writers of the show.

This is a cartoon about blue-collar Americans that always makes it clear who their oppressors are – not foreign terrorists, but big business and the Republican party. (Jones, “Banksy’s satire on The Simpsons”, 2010)

In an interview with one of the executive producers, Al Jean states in relation to the opening sequence and approval by Fox that it was,

“Approved by them. Obviously, the animation to do this was pricey. I couldn’t have just snuck it by Fox. I’ll just say it’s a place where edgy comedy can really thrive, as long as it’s funny, which I think this was. None of it’s personal. This is what made ‘The Simpsons’ what it is.” (Itzkoff, “‘The Simpsons’ Explains Its Button-Pushing Banksy Opening”, 2010)

The opening sequence splattered with the tag “Banksy” on the billboards and with Bart writing “I must not write all over the walls” is the artist Banksy also making fun of himself being involved with a series that is highly commercial and mass produced, a far take from the delivery of his usual art form.

The concept of having an artist such as Banksy involved with this show is a postmodern take on the both Banksy and The Simpsons, showing that popular culture icons can be stretched to cover a wide variety of areas.  A series that is highly commercial and on one of the most commercial networks, having its opening sequence being satirically written by one of the strongest independent street artists in the world. It still however manages to bring credibility to both parties, The Simpsons for being able to secure such an elusive and anti-capitalist artist such as Banksy and for Banksy being able to have his opening sequence comment on the Asian sweatshop rumors of the animators of the show. A combination of pop culture icons from different widely different areas that were able to collaborate and hold each other in their own space.


Halliday, J. (2010, October 11). Banksy takes Simpsons into sweatshop. Retrieved October 11, 2017, from

The Simpsons opening by Banksy. (2016, January 04). Retrieved October 11, 2017, from

Itzkoff, D. (2010, October 11). ‘The Simpsons’ Explains Its Button-Pushing Banksy Opening. Retrieved October 11, 2017, from

Jones, J. (2010, October 11). Banksy’s satire on The Simpsons. Retrieved October 11, 2017, from

CIM401.1 Experimental Project Report

Please visit the link above to view the video presentation. I have also provided a text version below if any of the voices are annoying or difficult to understand, the links from the video are also available below, as are the references, enjoy 🙂


Research Report
Guy Cooper

What is being experimental? Is there anything in art that is truly unique and new to everyone and does that define what experimentation is all about? Is doing something new and unexplored enough to be considered an experiment or is there a deeper discussion that needs to take place in order for a project to be considered truly experimental?

A process is considered an experiment when the outcome has yet to be tested and proven, taking a path that is yet to have a defined outcome. In the arts, perhaps is yet to have a place and purpose in its chosen field.

In music, it is said that.

“Being an experimental artist often means that your music challenges listeners. It’s a beautiful artform where you imagine what hasn’t been done – you explore areas that aren’t traditionally “safe.” In music, and all arts, avant-garde artists are the ones who end up making new genres and creating new movements.”[1]

Part of the experimental process requires you to use your imagination and explore possibilities of things that have yet to be, deliberately moving towards areas that are traditionally unsafe and attempting to challenge the audience into rethinking the concept, field or genre of what they are experiencing. Being experimental and innovative can also be doing something unfamiliar with older familiar things. Taking a well-defined existing process or product and changing the purpose or delivery, innovating with an existing topic and challenging how it is perceived.

“Innovation does not necessarily mean something new. It means doing something unfamiliar, often with old familiar things.”[2]

The combination of art and structure through technology and science can be experimental. In the example of BlingCrete, an experimental light reflecting concrete, an existing and widely used construction material is redefined into a visual art form. A material that was previously used as construction transformed into a living canvas for visual design. While this is not an entirely new concept, it shows a system that involves both the artistic and scientific lines of inquiry in equal measure and promotes dialogue about them.[3]

Perhaps it is that dialogue that is the important aspect of the experimental. Creating a new discourse of thinking from the creation of the art is possibly what ends up defining something experimental. If there is no previous discourse or dialogue about the piece, then its existence is creating a need for a discussion and in part a new definition.

Breaking down experimentation into 4 possible areas we can start to more deeply discuss how we can define being experimental, technology, technique, process and audience.


Utilising new technology or old technology in a new way is one path to being experimental. The rise of digital processing equipment and in particular its availability to the amateur or home user has opened up many fields of production in the arts to new and younger users. While there has been a focus on redesigning old processes with the new digital equipment, there are some that are using the new technology in different ways. The unconventional learning of the technology and its use in the home setting by nonscholarly artists plays a large role in the outcomes becoming experimental. A more traditionally taught artist would not explore the bounds of their art form as much if they have been taught in a structured way. What is acceptable and what isn’t. They may have a more thorough understanding of what has been done in the past, but they are usually less likely to step outside this structure unless directly asked to be experimental.

Perhaps either stepping out of your comfort discipline or completely redefining how you use the technology around you can help you become more experimental with technology.


Approaching a topic or artform from a different perspective or expanding on the concept could be considered experimental. Developing new ideas and concepts on from a different angle can provide a whole new area of exploration. Often we are directed to the “correct” technique for each art form through our education system. A series of defined paths that lead to the desired outcome that is qualitative for the purpose of definition and grading.

Experimentation in technique is not supported through our western educational system, in music the pre-defined technique of writing or composing using a set structure of chords and notes will typically deliver a mainstream aesthetically pleasing project. Deliberately breaking the rules can start to lead you down a path that opens up to experimentation and something new.


Similar to technique, the process you undertake of making your art, can lead itself to be very experimentational. It may be going about the creation of your project with different tools or executing the creation of the art form in a different way to before. Perhaps the creation of the product is being done live and on the spot, perhaps you can take a new direction right from the start with different elements. Whatever you choose to do you should try and walk the path most unfamiliar to you, what would be the furthest thing from your usual process. How can you change and come at the creation from a different perspective?


Redefining the audience’s role or what the audience is expecting to hear, see, feel can also be considered experimental. We have so many preset expectations for art in the modern world. What is it? Why is it? is often already answered long before the audience even engages with the art. A visual canvas in a gallery has already so many predefined expectations, an audio piece you find in Spotify, a video that is delivered in the cinema or on Netflix under the ‘Action Movie’ section. The audience’s expectation of the art based upon it distribution point sets a series of guidelines for what is about to happen and what they may experience. Changing this norm can create an uneasy feeling for the audience and a confusing or misunderstanding and interpretation of the art. But this is where the experimental lives, challenging or forcing the audience to define their own perspective, their own interpretation of the art often engages the audience in a more thoughtful way and leads the piece to a new area of experimentation.

My project this trimester will be based upon multi-disciplinary experimentation. I will be attempting to touch on and pass through all four areas of experimentation and the process of attempting to do so will be an experimentation in the technique itself.

“Pragmatically, cross-disciplinary experimental research demands multi-objective evaluation. It is argued that projects of this nature can easily have multiple modes of success, multiple modes of failure, or an interesting mixture of successes and failures when measured from different viewpoints. These projects are referred to as “multi-component” in the sense that they are composed of elements that work together to create a unity and yet, when separated, each component should still function independently—these projects are therefore amenable to deconstruction.”[4]

Focusing on drawing and poetry as the main driver and then incorporating music and sound along with an interactive and moving image delivery to make the audience redefine how they are receiving the art and what genre or field the art actually fits into will be one of the main focuses. Utilising some possible interactivity with the audience in the form of a choose your own adventure piece and requiring the audience to follow cues targeted at different senses, visual, auditory and emotional. Delivering a poem that is actually a drawing, that could also be considered a song, that is conceptually a moving image and then returning to being a poem. Not designed to be any one art form and its distribution to the audience will be altered and placed in conceptually challenging places. It can be viewed as a poem and drawing delivered on Spotify and youtube and also a song delivered on blogs and Instagram for example.

I have always loved the multi-disciplinary use of story and visuals mixed with music, opera is a very defined process that also incorporates live performance, but also musical storybooks. Stories such as Peter & the Wolf have been delivered in a large variety of different formats and versions, from books to film and symphony, this version[5] from the chamber orchestra of Europe and the Spitting Image Workshop shows a good example of a project that is neither solely music, stage, film or story, but instead incorporates all four. Another favorite of mine is Harry Nilsson’s “Me and My Arrow” from the 1971 movie “The Point”[6]

Recalling back to our google sheet and goals stated for CIM401 and our projects, for us to make the most of this trimester we should be,

Screenshot 2017-09-26 17.51.06.png

Doing something new

-Getting out of our comfort zone

-Keeping it new and sticking to it

-Ignoring the haters

I’ll be Rebuilding society from the ground up and looking if anyone wants to join me. I would like to challenge you all to follow this and really move out of your comfort zone and possibly discipline into an area that forces you to experiment. Something new, not just for you, but so new that you can’t find an existing path to follow. So far out of your comfort zone that you don’t know what you’re doing. Sticking to it and Ignoring any haters including the ones in your head. Don’t doubt yourself that it’s not good or not new…. if you make it with your hands and heart, then it is good.

Rebuilding society from the ground up sounds like a large task, but for me, it is just about starting that avalanche, pushing that tiny stone off the edge into the scary and unknown. Deliberately walking a path that changes the audience’s perception of what your piece of art is, taking the audience into your song or film or story and leading them into something new without their awareness and forcing them to redefine what it is they just experienced.

So right now, I challenge you all to respond to this presentation not only in words but in any way you choose on this google drawing sheet. It might be a color or a shape or a picture or meme you copy and paste, an interpretive dance or pose, or whatever your brain and body is feeling right now. Close your eyes, cross your toes, put yourself in an uncomfortable zone and let flow and define with your expression what experimental means to you.

And remember no guts, no glory, don’t just step outside your comfort zone, build a giant metal whale and ride that sucker down the main street until you forget where you are supposed to be. Don’t turn around and look back at the haters, smile, breathe and move forward, explore your way past insecurity, scare the fears out of your mind and trust yourself when you are free-falling, the end doesn’t need a definition.

You all remind of the babe, the babe with the power…. You have 4:02 mins of this link playing to respond on the google sheet, Dance Magic Dance[7]

[1] Sonicbids. “What Separates Experimental Artists Who Get Mainstream Attention From Those Who Don’t?” Sonicbids Blog – Music Career Advice and Gigs. Accessed September 29, 2017.

[2] Jameson, A. D. “What Is Experimental Art?” BIG OTHER. March 12, 2010. Accessed September 29, 2017.

[3] “BlingCrete: Materials Development as Transdisciplinary Research Process.” BlingCrete: Materials Development as Transdisciplinary Research Process | Studies in Material Thinking. Accessed September 29, 2017.

[4] “Multi-Objective Evaluation of Cross-Disciplinary Experimental Research.” Multi-Objective Evaluation of Cross-Disciplinary Experimental Research | Studies in Material Thinking. Accessed September 29, 2017.

[5] TheBananaNababa. “Peter and the Wolf: A Prokofiev Fantasy.” YouTube. February 14, 2015. Accessed September 29, 2017.

[6] MVDEntertainmentGrp. “Harry Nilsson The Point: The Definitive Collectors Edition – trailer.” YouTube. July 15, 2016. Accessed September 29, 2017.

[7] Edward982. YouTube. October 17, 2014. Accessed October 01, 2017.


Guy Cooper’s “Migaloo’s Song” sculpture receives Environmental Awareness award at 2017 Swell Sculpture Festival & “We Become the Fire” single released with Kinetic Wind Harp and Gold Coast Musicians.

It’s great to see a big project come to full fruition and this song is the final piece of the sculpture I made for SWELL Sculpture Festival this year, Migaloo’s Song.

Music follows a harmonic structure like that found in nature. We as humans have a connection to our natural world, utilizing acoustics & science, to create harmony with all living things on our planet. Sound is an auditory perception of the brain’s response to vibrational patterns observed by our senses. Art, design and psychoacoustics create a hidden link, that connects all life. Humpback whales are described as ‘inveterate composers’ of songs that are ‘strikingly similar’ to human musical traditions, a kinship we share with these mammals and a shared language.

A giant kinetic wind harp shaped like Migaloo the white whale. An instrument and wind-powered music box that plays a score in 3-part harmony I wrote that correlates to the humpback whales song in E major 7. The piece was honored to also receive the Environmental Awareness award from the Max Fabre Foundation and Leanne Sanderson, the sculptures lights and audio is powered by the wind and sun and brings awareness to the connection between nature, science. The world around us is deeply intertwined, we are responsible for the planet and our government could be doing a hell of a lot more, starting with stopping the Adani coal mine and helping to save the Great Barrier Reef.

The full meaning of the sculpture and why I built it is a symbolic and emotional expression of how I feel. Through a series of unfortunate events, life can deal you some bad situations. This sculpture represents to me the energy and passion to break through that, rise above it for myself and do something epic, challenge myself to do better and bring it to life. You are in control of your actions, sometimes things seem insurmountable, but these are the moments you need to stand up and move forward. You can give into depression and let trauma eat you alive, burning in the flames… or you can become the fire.

Break my heart, break my head, I’m getting stronger.
Throw me around, then turn me upside down.

Rising-up and making the most of it, shining lights to show me the way,
Raise the globe up with a little love, raise it with your hands each day.

I know I can do better than, better than the way I am,
I know we can do better than, so get up and take my hand.

Love and thanks to all my friends and family and especially the amazing Gold Coast musician souls that helped me write, perform and sing on this track. Please check it out and donate if you feel inspired, all proceeds from the song are going to Sea Shepard Australia to help protect the whales…and Migaloo. Please head to…/guy-cooper-we-become-… to hear the song and donate to Sea Shepherd Australia.

Guy Cooper (Charlie Rebel, Mickey, Sook, Reichelt, Too Right Mate) – Lyrics/Melody, Vocals, Keys, Migaloo’s Song Harp, Percussion.
Nick Rebel (Charlie Rebel) – Guitar, Vocals
Chris Torr (Charlie Rebel) – Drums
Teigan Amy Le Plastrier (Being Jane Lane EP) – Vocals
Mickey Van Wyk (Mickey) – Vocals
Ben Le Strange (The Ok Cowboys) – Guitar
Jules Cottonbud (Julia Rose) – Vocals, Bass
Kirk Mesmer (Sook) – Vocals, Guitar
Loustar (Banks of the Beautiful) – Vocals
Benny Danny Willy (Benny D Williams – Music) – Vocals, Percussion
Kate Leopold (Leopold’s Treat) – Vocals
Felicity Lawless (Felicity Lawless) – Guitar
Lecia Louise Mcphail-Bell (Lecia Louise) – Vocals

You can also still vote for #17 Migaloo’s Song in the Swell Sculpture Festival People’s choice award at