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date: 21 August 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This article appears in the Oxford Handbook of Sound and Image in Digital Media edited by Carol Vernallis, Amy Herzog, and John Richardson. In Watchmen (Zack Snyder, 2009) and Inception (Christopher Nolan, 2010), characters navigate the unusual spatiotemporal realities of fourth dimensional time and multiple-level dreams. The sound designs of each film shift between seamless and overt organizations, inviting audiences to also experience unstable spatio-temporalities. As the sound and image relations mediate between both coherent action and also potentially destabilized spatiotemporal realities, they work to hold contradictory tendencies in balance. The argument made in this essay is that sound bridges contribute to the transmission of knowledge about the unusual spatiotemporal realities of Inception and Watchmen. Even as the soundtrack is seamless in the sense that its transitions are smoothly achieved, bridging more than one location, the balance of the mix among music, sound effects, and dialogue sits unusually with the images. Consequently, the sound-image relations coordinate and generate a perspective on time and space.

Keywords: Inception, Watchmen, sound design, technological mediations, time, space

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