Website in progress

Thesis

This page is dedicated to my thesis project*: GENDER**. It is a non-fiction podcast series which aims to explore gender with the use of techniques like ASMR (Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response) triggers and binaural audio. On this page you'll find everything from my first research, to a literature list, some inspiration, a prototype and latest updates. It is written as a blog so that you can follow the process. The oldest articles are in the bottom, the latest articles, in the top.
Happy reading!
PS: you can also follow me on Twitter for more updates.
* This thesis project is part of a master in digital narratives at the ifs
** Working title.

July 2017

We're hiring!

We? Well, so far it’s just me, my microphones and my computer. But yes, we’re hiring. And yes, when I say “hiring” I do mean paying someone for his/her work. Because I’ve had too many unpaid internships to know that it sucks to work for free. And because I have the chance to have a budget for this project. And also because I am planning on finding more funds! To hire some more people and end up with a dream team of creative people who believe in the project.
For now, I’m looking for a sound designer who:

  • is as excited as I am to experiment with ASMR.
  • is a sound editing master.
  • is used to work with binaural sound.
  • would love to explore gender as a topic.
  • lives in Europe (preferably Copenhagen or Cologne).

Right now I’m considering making 10 episodes of 30 minutes approximately.

Send me a message here if you’re interested or if you have any questions.

“If the parents like what you do, then it’s shit.”

Gainsbourg said that.
So I didn’t ask my parents to give me some feedback on the prototype. Instead, I asked my sister. (Gainsbourg didn’t say anything about sisters.) And here is more or less the discussion we had on the phone:
“Did you know that kids who are stressed, well, their brain develops less!
- … and so?
- I read it in a health magazine. It also said that relaxation improves learning.
- ahh?
- And with your ASMR thing, I felt relaxed. It wasn’t aggressive, the tone was neutral and I didn’t feel stressed or tense which is often the case when discussing rape culture, sexism or gender based violence. I think your concept is working because people can focus. They can pay attention and listen fully. I think it’s super positive. I think you created a new genre. You have to keep experimenting! It’s really working!”
At that point I took my pen to write it all down. “A new genre”. Maybe that’s a bit much! But I like the idea. I am definitely gonna continue exploring in this direction!

June 2017

And then he tried to go in again


Before you click on the play button, I would recommend you to put on some headphones or earphones. I recorded this prototype using binaural sound, and ASMR triggers. My goal for this prototype was to test how to mix non-fiction with binaural sound and ASMR. So the sound is important for this mini episode. I decided not to use any music to let it raw and not try to influence the mood. But I would like to use music in the future to create even more intimacy for example. It is a 12 minutes’ episode called "And then he tried to go in again". It deals with rape culture and I produced it with my friend Léa when I was back home, in France. I tested it afterwards with 10 people: some podcast listeners, some who do not listen to podcasts at all, some ASMR addicts, some who had never heard of ASMR, some who worked in the media industry and some others who studied Gender theory. I received some really valuable feedback from all of them and came up with these conclusions:

  • Experiment with more ASMR triggers, not only whispering but nail tapping for example.
  • Hire a sound designer for the technical part but also to collaborate with.
  • Hire a composer to emphasize the content with music.
  • Continue exploring with this concept of talking about gender and mixing it with ASMR and binaural audio.

That last point is particularly important and I’ll get back to it in another post. But we can say that this prototype comforted me in the core concept of my project. And I cannot wait to produce a first real episode this summer. If you'd like to share your feedback with me, please write me here! I'd like to know how I can improve and if you felt any ASMR.

May 2017

Sorry, I can't tonight. I'm ASMRing.

I just borrowed some amazing microphones (a Zoom H4n and two small microphones) from school, to record some binaural sounds and try to trigger ASMR. If it turns out good, i'll publish some here!

Pimp my audio-guide

In Berlin, I participated in a collective audio walk by Rimini Protokoll called Remote Mitte. With a group of 30 persons, we walked around in the neighborhood of Mitte, with a headset on, listening to Rachel, an artificial intelligence. We started in a cemetery, walked through a psychiatric hospital, by the river and around the TV tower. We also took a train, stopped in the Hauptbahnhof, then talked in a church and finally walked 8 stores to end up on the top of a building. Quite a walk! Or maybe a fitness trail? For me, the narrative was off. And some comments from Rachel about old people felt discriminating. The many places we walked through didn't connect to each other. It is like it was missing a silver line. But I see so much potential in this kind of experience. Like for example the idea to get a group of strangers and get them to obey to a voice, to get completely immersed in the experience and be an active part of it. That to me was really powerful. And I'll definitely keep it in mind for my own project!

Republica, or the media-nerd convention

The International Film School, where I study, did it again, and offered us a trip to Berlin to attend Re:publica, a 3 days media convention about digital culture. I tried to go to conferences related to my thesis project, like this one about Female in Tech. But I also participated to funny workshops from Fab Lab Berlin and went to conferences about diverse topics like Internet's health, Psychedelics experiences and VR, performing art and VR, tackling disinformation ecosystem, teaching kids to code or not, and safer digital sex... It was a lot to digest. But if I had to pick a favorite, i'd pick this one because it was about 3 great spoken word poets, slamming about women and tech. You should watch the second half of the video if you have time. (You can also just watch the first minute and see me in the crowd being all awkward if you have less time).
The lack of female in tech role model seems to be a recurrent problem, and was mentioned several times during Re:publica, but I definitely found one in Juliet ‘Kego Ume-Onyido. "She is unbreakable code." (Thank you for letting me go with one of your notes.)

April 2017

Prototype n°1

Right now, I'm prototyping the first episode of the podcast. One of my mentor advised me to write a fictional script of my ideal prototype. It’s really interesting to work that way because I’ve never done that before. It allows me to be determine my angle and to be really specific about the kind of answers I want from my interviewees. It’s also a lot of fun to figure out what kind of host I want to be and to find my own voice. Right now, I’m listening to a lot of podcasts to find inspiration. If you have any recommendations, please write me a little message here. That would be really helpful! The next step will be to record it with the help of an actor, and then to edit it and test it. I’ll let you know how this goes!

March 2017

"But why?"

In March, I participated in a project workshop to “evaluate, develop and define the core idea of the project” with Hayo Schumerus, who’s a professor at the ifs for Documentary, Director and Director of photography, and mentored the workshop group I was in. During this workshop we discussed who would be interviewed. It still wasn’t clear what was the content really about. And what were my criteria for interviewing people. But mostly, I answered the “why” question. Why am I doing this project? Why is it important to me? Because gender-based violence affects me, as a woman, and I’d like to contribute to a positive change with this project.
On the 4th day, we had to do a presentation in front of the class, a few teachers and our mentors. Here is the feedback I received:

  • What kind of host do I want to be?
  • What tone?
  • WHAT IS MY ANGLE?

After discussing that last point, I came up to the conclusion that this podcast will be about my journey, wondering about gender, meeting “ordinary people with extraordinary stories”, activists, interviewing experts and making portraits. This angle is coherent because it allows me to document my personal concerns about gender and to follow the research process, starting from rape culture, then feminism, masculinism, and gender studies. I still need to find out what kind of host I want to be, as I’ve never written journalistic content from a personal point of view. But for that purpose, I’m planning on analyzing podcasts’ hosts and their style. How do they position themselves in the podcast? Are they more like a guide? How personal do they get and why?
Here are my next steps for April and May:

  • Podcast analysis
  • Write one or two fictional prototypes
  • Find someone to act for the prototypes
  • Record
  • Edit
  • Test

Postcast, potscast, podcast!

I’ve been wondering about the project’s form since I started in September. At first, I thought I wanted to experiment with web-documentaries. But to be honest, I haven’t watched a good web-documentary in a long time. (The last one I loved was StainsBeauPays about teenagers talking about the Parisian suburb where they live.) And I see a lot of flaws in the concept itself (too time consuming, reaching small audience and short life span). But if not a web-documentary, then what should it be? I’ve been listening to a lot of podcast for the last 4 years. Mostly when biking or on a plane, but also instead of watching series while eating for example. I love podcasts. And my favorite ones are the one who tell extraordinary stories from ordinary people. I love them because they’re personal yet I find them really informative on a humanistic level.

AMRS, ARMS, ASMR!

Another thing I’ve been interested in lately is ASMR. This acronym stands for Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response. It’s a physical reaction that can be compared with a tingling sensation in the back of the neck and a feeling of relaxation. It can be triggered by binaural audio stimuli like someone whispering, or some gentle touch sounds or close personal attention situations. But some people are more sensitive to visual triggers like watching someone doing a repetitive task like folding towels, or mixing paint like this artist does. I think I discovered it via a French vlogger Solange te parle in a video where she whispers and lists her 10 favorite feelings. And then I also read this informative comic about ASMR. What I like about it is the positive outcome. People do feel better after watching or listening to ASMR. So I thought, how about, I make my own podcast and experiment with ASMR to discuss people’s relationship with their own gender.

Here’s a first draft of the core idea of the project:
“In GENDER*, an immersive podcast series using ASMR and role play**, you meet people questioning gender and redefining it, while confronting yourself with your own definition of gender, to see what could possibly make this world a more tolerant place.  
* Temporary name
** Need testing to know how ASMR and role play can work with non-fiction”


It will probably change in the next months but this is where I’m at. And here are the open questions I still have:

  • Who is my target audience and how do I reach them?
  • Is the use of ASMR triggers serving the content?

I think that to answers these questions, it is time to stop conceptualizing and start prototyping. So this is what I’m going to do for the next months.

February 2017

Berlin

I just got back from a short study-trip to Berlin for the Transmediale, an " annual festival for media art and digital culture”.
There I participated in a collective urine ceremony to learn about hormones and gender or, as they called it “the xeno-political process of queering”.

But the best part of this trip, was actually this theater play called Stören, directed by Suna Gürler. (Thank you Guillaume for taking me there!)

I cried during the whole play because the texts were so strong, violent and on point, and because the actors/dancers had so much aggressiveness and still such a beautiful energy. I felt pumped up when I got out. I was really touched by the way it dealt with tough subjects like street harassment, rape culture, gender inequalities and what it means to be a woman, today. And what I like the most, is how the director, Suna Gürler, doesn't pretend to have THE solution, but still managed to start a discussion around these issues and create something beautiful out of it. When I left, the Gorki theater, I thought: this is what I want to do. I want to discuss those societal issues in a digital form, and maybe, contribute to a positive change. I contacted the director of the play to know more about the project and how it was developed. I’ll keep you updated here.

CHAMPAGNE!!!

February was also the month I received a scholarship from the friends of the ifs, for my “outstanding performance, high motivation, dedication and commitment for the master program”.
O.O !!! Endless gratitude to the friends of the ifs.
Thank you * Thank you * Thank you
This gives me extra motivation to give my best during the next two years.

January 2017

What men think about feminism

For a course on Digitality and Change, I wrote an essay about Men in relation to feminism. The idea came after doing some research on feminism. It started with the idea that there is a certain fear of feminism and a lot of confusion about its meaning. This is partly due to its different movements (liberal, Marxist, radical, intersectional, queer, etc.) But I also questioned the fact that there is no equivalent of feminism for men (masculinism is more of an anti-feminist movement rather than a movement advocating for men’s rights). I analyzed Grayson Perry’s book The Descent of man, and this feeling of nostalgia that describes patriarchy. His point is that “old school masculinity” is no longer needed. He then asks what sort of men would make the world a better place and gives us his definition of “progressive masculinity”. In her book called “Feminisme au masculin”, Benoîte Groult lists and analyses male philosophers and writers who advocated for women’s rights in 1673. They could see the need to end patriarchy for society’s sake but were marginalized for their avant-garde ideas. If you’re interested in reading more, let me know and I’ll send you the essay.

Winter 2016-2017

September 2016

“Rape culture? Like a culture of rape?”

That was the naïve reaction of a male friend from Denmark when I told him my Master degree project was about rape culture and how to fight it. My friend had just never heard of such thing. He was born and raised in Denmark, in a city close to Copenhagen, and was probably not aware of how privileged he was. I had completely forgotten about rape culture too, when I was living in Copenhagen for four years. It was only when I visited my friends in Lyon, France, that I was reminded of how bad it is back there. From that man in the street who yells at you that your lips are made for his dick, to the man who just grabs your butt on the dancefloor. This just never happened to me in Copenhagen. Never. And then I moved to Germany and got reminded of what rape culture means.

Rape culture is a social environment that makes rape banal. It sounds awful but as soon as you know about it, you start seeing it everywhere. Rape culture sneaks into your daily life, without you noticing it. It tells you to choose a pair of pants rather than a skirt. It advices you not to go home alone. But not to take a cab either. You never know with taxi drivers. It makes you buy a pepper spray. Just in case.

Rape culture is also that dirty joke about rape you heard from a stand-up comedy show. And it is all the rape threats female artists, activists, feminists receive on a daily basis on Twitter.

It is this toxic environment we grew up in, and it is this same environment the next generation is inheriting. But why is that so? Should we continue to raise our girls that way, offering them a pepper spray when they turn 14? Should we continue to watch those series who contribute to the banalization of rape? Or can we think of a way to fight rape culture by offering new narratives and rethinking education?

Another question was why had I never experienced street harassment in Copenhagen? And what can we learn from the Danes?

As this semester is dedicated to research, I will keep my subject open before I decide what I want to explore with my project. I’ll try to keep this page updated so you can follow the process and give me some feedback.

Thanks for reading,

clo-oui