Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Project Therapy?

My last project of the term isn't what it would have been if bad things weren't happening in my life right now. I'll leave it at that. I'm not about to start using Blogger as therapy. Instead I used my project as therapy. I wanted to experiment with larger themes of body vs. mind in relation to a larger context, ie; the universe or the world, but also show how technology plays into these themes in the digital age that we live in today, the whole time relating all of this to my personal life. Think of it as a journal entry in video form, though slightly less angsty and hopefully more eloquent.

The text was written by me and placed over disorienting shots of the body (when I say disorienting I mean that you just can't tell what the heck you're looking at). I then used a lot of effects in Final Cut to show A.) what Final Cut can do and B.) how technology can be used to distort very natural forms.

Does my project have a relational aesthetic? If I think about it in comparison to Christine Hill, I would have to say absolutely not. Christine reaches out to people rather than focusing on her own little world like I have done with this project. She involves other people in her work, she talks with them, and she interacts with them. She benefits from her work financially, but she is more generous with what her work provides other people. I think my project might only speak to someone if they were going through the exact things that I am going through right now. You could stumble upon Christine's work at any time and benefit from its genius and heck, maybe even buy a new t-shirt.

I suppose I would have to step out of my journal entry a little bit more if I want my work to be relational. You can view my video below:

Brain Dance

Monday, March 5, 2012

Collaborative Ups and Downs

This was a great learning experience. As I mentioned earlier, I do not have much experience with collaboration. It was interesting, in my case, that my composers decided to split up halfway through the project, because I got differing results from each composer. Kari listened to my musical input and put careful consideration into the soundscape she composed. She also interpreted my ideas in her own artistic way, which added more to the soundscape than even I could have anticipated. I don't think either of us were offended or put off when the other suggested something, and we both respected each other's ideas. I'm very happy with Kari's video.
Connor is a talented artist in his own way, but we did not exactly see eye to eye. It's ok though because, like I said, he is still talented and has good musical ideas...he just wasn't interested in my ideas. I can relate-I hate other people's ideas!

I think all of this collaboration stuff relates to Nicolas Bourriaud because he talks so much about how the world that we live in today is contained in a rectangle that is the screen. I had a lot of trouble trying to convey to my composers that my video was not just a video but a performative piece. I think a lot of people will just see it as a rectangle on a screen but it is more than that to me. I guess this is the "trap of illustration" that artists in the digital age fall into sometimes.

You can view Connor's and Kari's videos below:

Connor's Video

Kari's Video

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Christine Hill- The Working Artist

Christine Hill in Volksboutique

Christine Hill is an artist that challenges the ideas of quotidian objects as well as the role of commerce and business in our everyday lives. Her most famous work, Volksboutique, is essentially a thrift shop where participants can buy used clothes to take home with them. One might ask, what's the point? By setting up these fully functioning "stores" within a gallery or other non-traditional places, Hill forces the people who come across them to consider the act of buying in a different way. She wants us to think about why we buy material objects so often. Why do we need them? What do they do for us? What is the difference between an item that we collect and an item that we need? Her work also has a strong relational element to it, as much of it would not exist without the interaction between artist and "customer" or participant. To me she is one of the most relational artists we talked about in class because her work is so dependent on people. It is as if the medium itself is people, where as the other artists still utilize more traditional, tangible mediums such as photography.

Hill also questions the role of artist in commerce. Many of her works, such as Tourguide? revolve around the direct transaction of money between artist and participant (in Tourguide?'s case, $12, to be exact). Hill does indeed keep this money, and she uses it to make a living, along with grants she receives to continue making her art. By doing this, Hill changes the role of making money from something that she needs to do to survive to something that is art. I think she is actually a very brilliant artist, even though I think her work is lacking in emotion. Hill, who wanted to be a lawyer when she was growing up, proves that you don't need a business degree on top of your art degree to keep from starving in the "real world."

Monday, February 13, 2012

Nick Olson Talk

Nick Olson's talk showed one possibility of what you can do with your life after Lawrence. He showed that it's possible to live that crazy dream Christopher McCandless or Thoreau so desperately wanted to live. And you can document it. And show it to people. You can still go on spiritual pilgrimages and build log cabins in the woods. Even though you have a college degree.

Not so sure about this guy anymore

I thought the talk was interesting but probably not in the right way. As someone who is also interested in nature, the environment and sustainable living, I really do respect what Nick is trying to do. I am just afraid for the future of environmental art if all we continue to do is emulate the ideas of the past. The past is irrelevant to the way that the environment is right now. The ideas of Thoreau don't really stand up anymore. Sure, it's great to get in touch with yourself by living simply. I totally agree. But this isn't an environmental statement anymore. It's not about yourself. It's about the bigger picture. It's about the way in which humans are destroying nature. Is building a log cabin really the most sustainable thing you can do? What does it prove? Where is that going to take us?

Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying that I have the answer to an art that speaks for the protection of the environment. I just think it has to be pushed farther. We can't just look to the past and be nostalgic for what we've lost. We have to be visionaries of the future if we have any hope of restoring the balance of nature.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Cherries, collaboration, other things....

And, finally, the moment of truth: My video is inspired by the quote,
"The cherries had been plucked at
midnight, and
the coldness of the moon had entered into them."
Quite possibly the most beautiful combination of words that has ever been spoken or written in the history of the universe. I knew I must use these words for something the moment I read them in Oscar Wilde's classic book, "The Picture of Dorian Gray."


Concept:
•Video will revolve around anxieties and depressive feelings about winter

•Set in a dreary winter day

•Will revolve around the feeling of absolute cold

•Not a literal interpretation of the text-more about the imagery of cold, winter, cherries

Partial storyboard/ line that I came up with:
1.Starts with quote being spoken 

2.Slowly pans/fades into an image of person (me) sitting on a chair

3.Long, straight-on, agonizing shot of me

4.Maybe views from the side as well

5.Would like there to be fades in and out throughout the shot

6.Ending- TBA

(I am very reluctant to give away too many details, as you can see.)

Cinematography that has inspired me recently:

"The Tree of Life," 2011 Terrence Malick 


Sounds that I find to be appealing:
Dolphins Into the Future for "Canto Arquipelago," 2012

For my video, here are some ideas I had for sounds and what each sound will represent:
Occasional attack to reflect anxious mood

•Some percussive sounds: anxiety

•White noise background: also anxiety

•Vocals: discomfort

•Low Bass: depressive mood

•Violin: melancholy

•Saxophone: discomfort

I have met with my two collaborators, and we seem to be on the same page. It is weird for me to collaborate with people, quite honestly. The only other person I have really collaborated with is my boyfriend, and it was less of a collaboration and more of me telling him what to do. This is a good thing for me to learn, and also for my composers to learn.

Monday, January 23, 2012

In(capable of)Design

Cover Image

So, I think I made an okay book in InDesign. I'm not totally sure. I found the program to be a bit confusing. But then again I thought Final Cut Pro was confusing too, and now I'm like, acceptable at it...I think. Anyways, I had to export my project as a PDF at least 20 times to get a sense of what it actually looks like. I wish there was a "Preview" button in InDesign like there is in Blogger so that I could see what I am doing. I have never really thought of myself as a designer, so a program called "InDesign" is relatively intimidating just by default.

Technical difficulties aside, I do like my concept. Like my video for this project I decided to focus on color and the idea that color (because color in food equals health) is just a mirage in the food desert. I grouped images together that I thought encompassed the ideas of scenery, water, health, growth, and, of course, color. The images were mostly horizontal, at first except for the last page where there was one page of vertical pictures, but then I reorganized and made everything horizontal. I tried to accurately portray a kind of relational aesthetic with this photo set. Although I didn't do much interacting with people on my walk, I think these logos and colorful images acted as a kind of interpersonal reaction, because it is people who made these signs, people who want me to look at them and think that they are selling colorful, healthy food.

I wasn't sure how to post a link to my PDF, but here is a link to my Flickr Set as a reminder of which images I used.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Is Food Just A Mirage in the Food Desert?


"Division to Badger Street"

On my journey through the Appleton Food Desert, I decided to focus on color. More specifically, I decided to focus on the idea that good nutrients and antioxidants are found in foods that contain a lot of color. I figured since there is not a lot of healthy food available in the food desert, there would not be a lot of colorful foods in my tract of the desert. So, what I decided to capture on my journey was pictures or advertisements of food in restaurants or stores that portrayed the food they sell as very colorful. This was my "event score," as mentioned in the article "Auto-Maticity," by Margaret Iverson, that dictated what my journey would focus on.What I found was a lot of colorful posters, pictures of fake fruits, and allusions to animals or wildlife. I didn't just want to capture the boring streets of College Avenue, so the challenge that I gave myself made it really fun.

In my video, I inserted a couple of these images of "color in the desert," but I wanted to focus also on the actual food that I ended up buying. I wanted to give the impression in the video that it was hard to find healthy food in the desert...because it was! Instead of documenting myself eating the food, I made a more abstract version of the journey by including some of the food that I bought in the video, portraying it as a sort of illusion or mirage. I was trying to expand on the idea of the "Journey Form" that Nicolas Bourriaud talks about in "The Radicant." Specifically I liked the quote that he mentions by Victor Segalen: "My journey is (...) a confrontation, in the field, between the imaginary and the real," because my video focuses on the idea of mirage. On my journey I encountered many mirages of healthy food: pictures of fruits and animals that made it seem as though there was a plethora of color surrounding me. But when it came down to it, finding actual healthy food was difficult, just like a real journey through a real desert.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Picturebook vs. Art Book

Cover of Jane Eyre by New York: Random House

I originally  looked through all the art books looking for a book layout that I liked, but in the end, decided on a classic, Jane Eyre, to serve as my book layout inspiration. I can use this book as an example of how images are used in books because it has beautiful illustrated pictures interspersed throughout.The front and back covers of the book are entirely taken up by a drawing. There is no title on the front cover of the book, which adds an element of mystery to it. The title is found only on the spine, and it is in a simple font with elegant embellishments surrounding it. The title page is my favorite page of the book because of the way it combines text and image. There is a drawing of a tree with a man on a horse underneath it and the title of the book with the author is placed right in the middle of this drawing. When images are used throughout the book, they take up the entire page, and there is only one image per page. The text on the page is divided into two sections, a left hand and a right hand section. At the top of the pages there is elegant text with the title of the book.

Even though this is not an art book, it is very artfully made, and the integration of text with images are what I will mimick with my book layout.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Cook Crash Course


Nummer Twee by Guido Van Der Werve

Cathy Cook's visit was a gift that brightened a snowy day. Not only was she a great speaker, but her crash course on film-making techniques and use of text in video was invaluable to our film-making careers. I found all of her examples to be very relevant to our upcoming collaboration with Asha Srinivasan's composition class, but there was one in particular that stood out to me, and most likely to everyone in the class. Guido Van Der Werve's quirky, 2 minute 40 second video Nummer Twee (uploaded above in disappointingly bad quality), is a prime example of how text should be used in film. To me, text should not be used to tell us how should feel or what we should see when watching a video, but instead should be used as a part of the art itself. In other words, it should be used as a catalyst that sets the video in motion, not as a stepping stone that dictates how we feel at certain points during the film. Nummer Twee succeeds in posing delicate questions about life and death, motivation and purpose, all by using about four sentences that set the tone for the entire piece. It is eery and provacative, and has given me several ideas for our upcoming project.

Besides her examples, Cathy also talked about the importance of making storyboards when doing video. I don't think I have ever actually made a storyboard before, choosing to just rely on the chaos that's in my head to help me come up with a more interesting idea, which works sometimes, but not all the time. For this project I will definitely utilize the storyboard when making my video to see what comes of it. Not only is it a good organizational tool but seeing your thoughts laid down on paper can help you better articulate whether or not this is an idea that should be expanded on, discarded, or left untouched.

Cathy Cook's talk enlightened me to many of the things I should probably already know as a beginning filmmaker, and I'm so happy that I had the chance to hear her speak.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Bernard Gilardi- Basement Visionary

Pink and Pallor, Bernard Gilardi

For the first time last night a lecture became a source of comfort on a Friday evening gone horribly wrong. As I headed back to my dorm room after many failed attempts to reach social competency, it dawned on me: I don't have to go out on Fridays. For 50 some years, Bernard Gilardi probably didn't go out very much at all, and the result was a basement of visionary paintings filled with references to counter culture, religion, and, oddly enough, Wisconsin. I don't think my Friday evenings, should I choose to spend them in pajamas rather than high heels, would ever prove to be as fruitful as Gilardi's, however, there is a comfort in knowing that a fantasy world, one created inside of your head, can be much more enticing than the world a couple of residence halls over, where the booze and loud music create a false sense of excitement into the late hours of the night.

By looking at Gilardi's work, I can easily tell that he was not tempted by the pull of cheap entertainment and frivolous interactions with people. In his head, people were strange beings, and he paints them thus in his plethora of assorted portraits. Maybe this is why he spent so much time in his basement: because he saw humanity as too strange to interact with. In his isolation he was able to discover more truths about humans than he could through interacting with them. His paintings, though often whimsical, offer fresh new takes on subjects that have been beaten to a pulp. The birth of Jesus, to Gilardi, could have taken place in Wisconsin, and Mary could have been wearing red heels at the time. His wittiness and secret messages in his paintings, such as the cleverly placed "WisconsIN RIbbon Company" above a burning cross, show that he was very insightful, and probably would have brought joy to many people had he chosen to interact with them more often. Instead, he left behind his paintings, and in this way he will offer insight to those who are lucky enough to see them. For this we can be thankful that Gilardi chose the basement over the real world. Maybe if more people chose to analyze life from their basements, they could save themselves from the strangeness of humanity that Gilardi so accurately portrays.