Saturday, November 19, 2011

Final Project

The Fight

Although I am slightly exhausted at this point in the term, I am still happy with my final video. I called it "The Fight." I got the idea when I had a fight with my boyfriend, Josh, about smoking cigarettes, but it goes much deeper than this petty little argument that we commonly have. I realized that often times when I get into arguments with my friends it is much easier to text them or call them or send them a Facebook message than it is to confront them face to face. I really wanted this video to show our decreasing ability to confront each other directly due to these other, digital forms of communication that are available to us.

Struggling to not make it too heavy-handed, like with the last project, I tried to create a mood with:

1. The placement of the actors (Me and Josh) to create a feeling of distance even though we are close together.
2. The strobe light to create a feeling of anxiety.
3. One single, continuous shot.
4. Overlapping two takes to create more depth in the shot.
5. A silent "soundtrack." I really struggled with this one. I tried a bunch of different noises but in the end the silence just said more than any song or noise could have.

I had fun with this project, I hope you enjoy it. Also, mad props go to David Lynch, who uses the strobe light effect in the finale episode of Twin Peaks. He's the man.

Final Project Description

A short video demonstrating a decreasing ability to communicate directly with each other in the digital age.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

The right to "copy"

For this project I decided to create a nostalgic video about National Parks in America using found footage of the National Parks. I wanted to critique the way in which people abuse the parks, such as Yellowstone, which now comes with a built-in grocery store, but I wanted to do it in a way that wasn't too obvious. I decided to use the color palette of the videos that I found to create an unnatural, slightly nostalgic view of the parks. I also used juxtapositions and overlapped images with the keyer and luma keyer tools to create scenes that to me felt very unnatural...two waterfalls running at once, one of them backwards, a butterfly flying through the desert, a setting sun in an underground cavern. I also used found sound (a "Romanze for Viola and Piano" by Vaughan Williams, a clip of a guy saying "mountains" over and over again, and rain sounds) and editing to help create nostalgia and a feeling of uneasiness.

I decided to interpret the copyright laws and fair use factors by making sure that the new feeling of my video was a very different feeling than the original video. By mixing different shots together you can create a whole new composition and tone, and this is what I tried to accomplish. In the article by Negativland they talk about how folk music is all based off of sampling and reworking already existing melodies, so, that's what I tried to do...make a new song out of old tunes. I felt like this was the best way to avoid any kind of copyright infringement. When it comes down to it, I really just think you have to be tasteful when sampling others' work, and your final product has to be as artful or more artful than the original work to be taken seriously.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Ryan Trecartin: I TOTALLY understand you!

Still from video A Family Finds Entertainment (2007)

In the past I have researched artists that I really respected and enjoyed: Anne Hamilton, Christian Marclay, Brian Eno. But none of these artists even come close to the kind of appreciation and sheer awe I have gained from researching the work of Ryan Trecartin. Who IS this person? I would not be surprised if somebody told me that he landed on earth in a spacecraft. Since researching him my self-esteem and artistic motivation have both been flushed down the toilet. Although I completely respect and idolize him, I also envy him in a way, for possessing such a beautiful and brilliant vision.

His art speaks to and critiques my generation: the kids who can't remember a life without computers. He presents a cynical view on the hilarity of the internet-culture-playground that we have grown up with. He realizes that living our cyber-lives has serious consequences on our actual lives and relationships. He is not the first person to have realized this, definitely, but he throws this message at us in a way that is so subtle we might think we are watching just another Tim and Eric concoction, or a reality TV show on acid. Through his use of fast-paced editing, avant-garde sets, unintelligible narratives, and colorful costumes, he gives us a daunting view of what might become of us if we don't take the logic of the internet out of our real lives. His characters seem like they are desperately searching for meaningful relationships while all the time battling with severe ADD. They are some of the most truthful creations I have seen in a very long time. I enjoyed researching his work because it so closely resembles the message I was trying to create with my Facebook Project. Check out his work on the link attached to his name above.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011


The Mudd Gallery at a past exhibition

Sorry Mary Ann Doane, but I don't take you seriously at all. I really don't believe that I am an idiot for not understanding the concept of indexicality. First of all, it isn't even a word, according to Neither is indexical for that matter. I had to resort to looking up the word "index," of which I was given the definition, "a sequential arrangement of material." I am not sure what this means in the context of Doane's article, because I could not decipher a word of it. I understand the need to use imaginary words, because sometimes there just simply aren't words that exist to express a concept. However, Doane does not really give a clear definition for this word and many others, therefore leaving us in a Clockwork Orange-type confusion over her text. Here is an example of a paragraph that needs a team of Rosetta Stone translators to get the point across:

"We tend to think of a medium as a material or technical means of 
aesthetic expression that harbors both constraints and possibilites, 
the second arguably emerging as a consequence of the first."

Translation: I don't know, but I do think she should team up with Ted Nelson because she shares his ire about the limitations of traditional mediums.

That being said, I am proud to say that our exhibition, "Watching," is almost ready for viewing tonight at 6:30 in the Mudd Gallery. I have learned that everything you see in a gallery is most likely the result of hundreds of drafts, and dozens of steps, edits, do-overs, and tweaks. Nothing that goes up on a wall got there after one attempt. It is this arduous process that makes the final product ready to view. I enjoyed watching the class as they perfected their projects, and I hope that tonight's audience appreciates all the hard work that we put in. I learned yesterday that more than half of the people who are featured in my photographs cannot attend the exhibition due to a Wind Ensemble rehearsal, which was disappointing. However, I guess this is one of the aspects of being an artist that we have to learn about, as well.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Putting It Together

Cover in MagCloud just minutes before finalizing...

Hopefully I will be able to sleep again soon. (Last night I dreamt about my MagCloud joke). When I went back and revisited my original idea I finally felt like I created what I intended to create with this project: a view of a world in which no one feels like they're safe from the ever watchful eye of Facebook. I included more people's "statuses," and incorporated more tangible objects with Facebook mantras attached or written on them to create the feeling of being constantly "tracked" in the real world.

In the beginning, I viewed this project as a collage of photos that would be slapped onto a wall and would therefore be read in a continuous manner. The thought of arranging them into a book-like sequence never really occured to me. Arranging images in a book, using juxtapositions and page turns as catalysts for surprise and emotion, can be a better method for telling a story (well duh, it's a book) and creating a mood (in this case, an anxious one). Robert Frank used this method to convey a view of a "hypocritical" America in his book, The Americans. He did this by juxtaposing images of extreme wealth with extreme poverty. He would not have been able to do this if it weren't for the large number of images that he captured. By taking many images he had the option to create a narrative out of his photos rather than just lumping them all together.

His book reads as one photograph for every two pages to create a stark contrast between the page being viewed and the page that follows it. To avoid redundancy, it does not simply show wealthy, poor, wealthy, poor, etc., but layers images of desparity to create an even greater contrast once the page turns to an image of wealth and vise versa. I tried to arrange my book using his "building up" technique instead of just providing contrast between each page. However, due to MagCloud restrictions, I was not able to format the book to be one photograph per two pages, which is a more professional/dramatic option. The book is two photographs per two pages, and the front and cover are included in the set, not as pieces separate from the set. In a year MagCloud will probably have way more variety with their organizing options...

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Facebook "Tracking"

 Oh man, have I lost sleep over this project. What was originally supposed to be a project about "Facebook stalking" turned into something way more personal. I have always realized but never totally acknowledged the ways in which Facebook makes me feel insignificant. For example, I look at what everyone else is doing all the time and I compare what people are doing to what I am doing. I compare how many friends people have to how many I have. I take very personally what people say about me on the internet. To narrow the message of my project down, it's that we DON'T need to know what everyone is doing all the time.

Had Facebook been around in 1994 when Philip E. Agre was writing about surveillance and capture, he would definitely have labeled Facebook as a "tracking" device. A few examples he gives of "tracking" are GPS devices that allow us to find directions while we are sitting in our cars, and package tracking using bar codes after we ship out of UPS. It's not that these systems aren't useful. My GPS has definitely saved my butt a couple of times, and tracking packages on the internet is a nice convenience as well. It's just that these systems are invasive. It's like we have given up our privacy in order to live a more convenient life. Facebook is the worst perpetrator. Now it's so convenient to track our friends that all we have to do is sit down at a computer and we can know every detail about their lives for the past 3 years.

Richard B. Woodward, a more contemporary writer, seems to share many similar ideas with Agre. While Agre compares tracking devices to Nazi Germany, Woodward states in is article, "Exposed: Voyeurism, Surveillance, and the Camera Since 1870:"

"In defiance of George Orwell's warnings, most people
seem unconcerned by the erosion of the wall between
a private and public self. Snapshots and home videos, once
confined to a family scrapbook or attic trunk, are now
indescriminately shared."

Both men seem to agree that the ability to track people should only belong to some sort of dystopic society, and that by allowing ourselves to be tracked so easily we are careening dangerously on the border of "Big Brother." Is Facebook a great way to keep in touch or are we sacrificing our privacy so we can be monitored by the ever watchful eye? And what about the smaller repercussions? What about our sanity? Can we stand to know every detail of our friends' lives and have them know every detail about ours? 

Thursday, September 15, 2011

The Internet- Our New Best Friend

I think what astonishes people the most is how human technology can be. In the book Computer Lib/Dream Machines by Ted Nelson, Nelson accuses people of categorizing computers as “dull” and “sterile” machines that can only perform mundane tasks. He wants to people to get friendly with computers because this will enable computers to reach their full potential. Tim Berners-Lee also envisioned very human relationships with computers, and thus his idea for the internet was born. It was supposed to be a system that could work like a brain and could make connections between people’s thoughts, like a synapse. Not everyone in the world is as comfortable as these two men are with the idea that computers can be so human. In the article, “Art After 2.0” by Lev Manovich, Manovich poses the idea that the internet has shifted gears since the ‘90s and is now mostly a communication medium. Whether his views are neutral or not, they do show that the human machines that Ebbers-Lee and Nelson envisioned are now becoming a reality. Not only does the internet now sometimes know us better than we know ourselves (hello, Facebook?), but we can connect to other people better than we have ever been able to connect before via blogs, YouTube, chat, photo websites, and many more. Perhaps one of the first people foresee the scary side to the internet was Josh Harris, who, in the ‘90s, created a hotel with residents in which the residents were filmed at all times, even their most private moments. Near the end of this experiment the tenants seemed to be going crazy, claiming that they felt like they had “lost themselves” due to the constant observance. Whether we will lose ourselves completely to technology in the future still remains to be seen, but the reality is that the internet has now become the brain-like organism that Berners-Lee once envisioned. Now all it needs is a body.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

This week I FINALLY got a song from the band....after weeks of making video with only my previous knowledge about their music to go off of, I could finally see if what I was doing was going to work at all. Conclusion: It kind of worked. I still have a lot of editing to do on the video. The thing I'm having a problem with right now is that the track they gave me has this pulsating beat through out most of it and I am unsure of how to line up the beat with the video without making it look cheesy or redundant. I also don't know how to make a still of the video so that I can put it on here. Does anyone know?

Monday, May 9, 2011

Here's a first draft of a poster I've been working on. I think it was Mari that brought up the idea of using the album cover I created to make the poster, to create a kind of cohesive image/theme for Perennial's work. I like the use of that image as the background, but I am hopeless when it comes to picking the right font. Also, I don't know the name of Perennial's album yet, so all I have is the band name smack dab in the middle of the poster, which I'm not sure that I really like.

Monday, April 25, 2011

In class today I mentioned the videos of Stan Brakhage, and I thought I would provide a reference for people who don't know his work. What I really like about his films is the fast-moving static in the shots because it creates a kind of tension and chaos in the frames. He creates it without using an overabundance of color or fast cuts. I've been experimenting with this idea in my video by adding an "earthquake" effect to all my shots (I'm not nearly as sophisticated as Brakhage). Here is a video, called "Mothlight."

Mothlight- Stan Brakhage

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

So this week I got to use a giant(!) scanner that in Science Hall. It fit my entire 13X13 album cover on it, so I am pretty pumped. There it is, up there...I didn't edit it in Photoshop or anything so the colors may be a bit dull, and I don't think it will upload on here much larger than it did in my last post, but at least nothing is cut off.

Along with getting to use a giant scanner this week, I've been researching the work of Christian Marclay. Marclay was popular in the 80s because of his weird collag-y type work that incorporated music a lot of the time. 
I don't really want to say much about his work right now other than that I am fascinated by the way he combines art and music and blurs the lines between the two. He has even recorded "albums" that focus on this concept, such as an album that he released where he placed thousands of vinyls on the ground of an art exhibit and then let people walk on them, the scratches from the walking becoming the music. He is really fascinating and I hope to write my research paper on him.

Monday, April 11, 2011

First attempt

Nice, highlighting the similarities between collage and sampling will bring cohesion.
I enjoyed looking at Agnes Montgomery's work--are there other collage artist's that you're drawn to?
Will your album cover and poster be done by hand or digitally?
Also, something to think about--what kind of role will these things you mentioned in the post--beauty, chaos, and order--have in your work, conceptually and aesthetically?

This weekend I took a shot at making my own collage. To answer Annie's question, there is another collage artist that I'm drawn to, Kurt Schwitters, particularly the Merzbild series from the MERZ exhibition in 1972, shown here:

I like his work, because of, to allude to Annie's question again,  how he conveys very solid concepts using abstraction. This particular series was revealed to be about his "artistic, private, and public concerns during the inflationary period in Germany that followed World War I" ("Collage: Critical Views" by Katherine Hoffman, p. 226). What he did for this series was " 'paste up pictures and drawings so that sentences should be read in them,' " but what I was really drawn to in his work was the way he develops a sense of frustration using seemingly unrelated sources and combining them to make cohesion. His use of sentences and words as an almost subliminal messaging system is a bit too obvious for me, but I like his basic philosophy. I also like the scattered, seemingly disorganized image that came out of this combining of random sources. While most of the other collage artists I have looked at were using very solid images of people or flowers or boats or eyeballs, Schwitters uses different patterns and shapes that aren't necessarily recognizable. It is beautiful because it looks like there is no cohesion, but really it is all trying to convey one single message.

When making my collage, like Schwitters was trying to convey a message about inflation, I was trying to convey a message about my boyfriend's band's music. Here is what I came up with:

(I can't find a scanner big enough to fit the entire 13x13 image on, so some is cut off of the bottom.) It's made entirely out of a J. Crew catalog, and what I kept in mind while making it was using different colors and shapes that create an emotion. I noticed that in a lot of Schwitters' work there were triangular shapes, so I used this shape as I was cutting the pieces out of the magazine. It creates a sharp, sort of splintered feeling. The thing I like most about the collage is that, although it is very colorful, I only incorporated ONE word on the entire thing: BLACK. You might not be able to see it at this small scale, but it is on the black part. I used Schwitters' word idea, but not in such an obvious way. I guess, if I could summarize the idea for this collage it would be beauty out of chaos using colors and shapes from different sources to create one cohesive piece of art. Maybe that's redundant but I felt I needed to summarize it somehow, haha.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Album art that I find pertains more to what I'm trying to make....

I recently discovered another album artist off of whose art is PERFECT for what I am trying to make for Perennial. Agnes Montgomery is a collage artist, so literally only uses glue and scissors and paper in his work. I like his images because they are made up of images from elsewhere to create beautiful new images.

This is a lot like what my boyfriend's band does when creating their music. They take music from other places and combine it and distort it and edit it to make an entirely new, beautiful sound. The random yet organized effect created by Montgomery's images is exactly what I envision for a Perennial cover. However, in my eyes I don't have as many obvious images, but more of a chaotic assortment of colors and shapes taken from images. We will see, I just have to play around with this idea.

Agnes Montgomery's website

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Website with album covers

I found this website the other day while I was trying to get some ideas for album covers. I like the site because it gives a description about many well- known album covers. We might have seen these covers so many times that we don't even think twice when we see them, but this site makes us stop and think: WAIT, what actually goes into these album covers. It not only gives a description of the cover, but it gives the artist who made the cover, and the ideas that went into making the cover, along with the collaborative ideas between the musical artist and the artist who made the cover. I think this is important for my project because I will be collaborating with my boyfriend and his bandmates. This site can give me ideas as to how to work with them, and also bring imagery and ideas from their music into my cover, and potentially my poster.


Monday, March 28, 2011

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Project Idea

I didn't exactly know what I wanted to do for this class at first, but I remembered after awhile that my boyfriend had asked me awhile back if I would make the album art for his band. I figured I could now use this class as a resource to not only make album art, but an entire body of work, such as posters and a music video, for his band, Perennial. When I talked to the band about my idea, my boyfriend's brother said, "Ok, but I don't want there to be any people in the video." Well, ok, Luke. Here is a video for Burial and Four Tet, two electronic bands similar in style to my boyfriend's, that I think is similar to something I would like to create for them.
Burial and Four Tet- "Moth"