Danger of a Single Story | Sound Assignment

Danger of a Single Story | Sound Assignment

The Danger of a Single Story

Watch The Danger of a Single Story by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie and write a response on your blog/turnit

The speaker showed through personal anecdotes how much of our shared understanding of the world is formed as a collection of narratives that we create, share and consume over a period of time. Her anecdotes showed that these narratives can often be very narrow in terms of capturing the nuance of the underlying subjects. Consequently, they present simplistic caricatures that misinform our understanding of the world and skew our perception. In doing so, these stories deprive us of true awareness of our reality and environment and the context of our existence along with that of those around us.

Compressing the complexities of the world into a single story causes us to lose a lot of information. Fide's family is poor, but hard working. A novel can be about anyone, not just white blue-eyed characters with a penchance for consuming apples.

Speaker also argues that power dynamics affect the stories being told and the manner in which they are told. Thinking about the media landscape, propaganda machines and our general predispositions to prefer certain simple narratives is an example of how our perception of truth or of any objective reality is warped by the agenda driven narratives that dominate our media consumption landscape.

Stories are like compression algorithms for reality. You don't want to lose too much information in the process. ~ Wasif Hyder

This isn't to say that all stories and media have a negative agenda associated with them. Rather, the argument is that storytelling is a powerful medium and is subject to and an instructment of the power dynamics that exist within society. Take, for example, the changes made in the movie Doctor Strange. The canon version of the character "The Ancient One" is Tibetan, however, writers changed this to avoid risking offending the Chinese government and it's citizens. The Chinese government doesn't recognize Tibet as a nation. This example illustrates how stories are affected by political considerations.

Stories do matter. We think in terms of stories. We consume stories without even realising. Most of our worries, pains and insecurities are also stories we've told ourselves with varying levels of accuracy. It is important, therefore, to pay attention to the stories we are telling and consuming, and to seek out varied, nuance and complex perspectives. We have to be more sophisticated producers and consumers of stories in order to develop a more sophisticated and rich understanding of our world instead of it's caricature.

A History of Sound Art

Choose one piece from The History of Sound Art & listen to the accompanying audio track. Make a blog post on one aspect of the piece that stood out to you and why

Time - 00:00 to 00:60

00:00 The first 5 seconds feel ominous. Then it transitioned I had a sense of traveling through the air since the sounds feel a lot like the ones I hear in the airplane. My memory for that was triggered slightly.

00:10 A guy's voice came in a smooth transition. Immediately thereafter, the woman's voice was jarring. It was sudden and it had a high pitch to it. In contrast to the initial sounds that felt calmer, or atleast more tranquil in a way this was very jarring and a very sharp departure.

As she started talking the sound increased in its pulsating nature and I started to also feel a little disoriented. Partially, I suppose, because the manner and method of this sound has been used in horror movies to create a certain effect.

00:50 The noise of birds feels out of place against this. The feeling of me feeling a little overwhelmed or anxious continues since there are atleast three separate sounds now. The pulsating sound. Birds chirping. Then the vocals of a new person who's speaking.

I would say that the aspect that stood out to me, atleast in the first 75 seconds was how my internal mental state was influenced by the sounds I heard. They transported me to a memory but the sharp changes, contrast and quality of the sounds that layered upon each other after that created a sense of dread in my head. Like there were a lot of pieces in my head that I couldn't keep together or parse.

Sound Collage

Create a short sound collage 15 - 30 seconds in length that tells the story of a place or space entirely through sound. Don’t just record a space, but use clips to craft a space and story through sound. Upload and post this collage to your blog before next class.

I'm attempting to create a sound collage of trying to calm myself down in the lead up to a Standup Comedy performance. I want to capture the anxiety, stress and the process of breathing, relaxing and getting my blood flowing to calm down my nerves.


  • I don't think I did a great job of recording the sound of nervousness / nervous breathing
  • I didn't know how to record heartbeat so I wasn't able to add
  • I wanted to do a better recording of the sound of chair moving and footsteps but didn't know how to approach it.

Note: I plan on revisiting this soon and I will try to construct it in a more interesting way using the sounds as Aidan has suggested.