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Showing posts from 2015

My First Month in Spain

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I can hardly believe it's been a month already, and [only] have three more months left. This is such a beautiful place to be and to live! I've been doing a ton of things, spending what feels like a ton of money, and generally enjoying myself. I'll try to condense as much of September as possible, even though there's so much to tell! If you have any questions that I don't answer within the rest of this post, please feel free to either post in the comments or email me. Here we go!

Home life: My host family is just lovely! My mom's name is Mari, and my sister's name is Omaira. Omaira, or "Oma" as she is sometimes called, is one of the most beautiful women I've ever seen in my life, and she's getting married next September! I'm so lucky to live with them! Mari is an amazing cook, and she really enjoys using Moroccan spices in a lot of her dishes (which makes me so incredibly happy). We live at the top of a very large and steep hill in a ne…

My First Week in Spain

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I cannot even really begin to express the emotions running through me even now, as I sit on the terrace in my casa, looking out at Granada por la noche. I've only been here a few days, but I'm already starting to feel familiar with the calles and the tiendas. Estoy muy contenta.

My first days in Spain were a little overwhelming, they were filled with touristy activities -- all of them important and exciting and different, but I'm happy to find where my home will be over the next four months. In Madrid, we went to several museums and saw two very famous art pieces that I've heard of, but never seen.

This painting is called "Saturn Devouring his Sons" by Goya. Its part of a series called the Black Paintings, all depicting gruesome images that he painted on the walls of his home after he witnessed the effects of Napoleon's war. This piece has always struck me on the computer screen, but seeing it in real life was incredible.

I also got to see Pablo Picasso&#…

frenzy

Unfortunately, I can’t at this moment publish frenzy because I don’t want to carry the burden of representing Bon Appetít as an institution. If you’d like to see it again (unlikely) I can find a way to get it to you. If when you’re watching frenzy, you find yourself stressed, annoyed, and bored at the same time, that is exactly what you’re supposed to feel. Welcome to the life of a Bon Appetít worker. These two videos serve two purposes; first, to show the near-constant and insatiable desire for food, which manifests itself through the enormous amount of dishes in the film, second, to show how the people who run and work in this environment become part of the machine that feeds the masses, as displayed by the blue shirts and constant movement. In De Certeau’s The Practice of Everyday Life, he says “Everyday life invents itself by poaching in countless ways on the property of others.” “Along with the lazy man... the dying man is the immoral man: the former, a subject that does not w…

Stroszek: Let's Talk About LADIES

As much as I enjoyed this film, I also found it highly unsettling, both in the unfulfilled way that we're supposed to feel at the end and in Eva's construction. The way that Eva is built up and made into such a shining and interesting character, only to be reduced to a plot device or catalyst for the upheaval in Bruno's life was (I'm not going to lie) very disappointing. For some reason, her behavior at the end just didn't feel like something Eva, the character the filmmakers constructed and made us believe in, would do. Perhaps in that way, it was the ultimate betrayal on Eva's part, one that tricks the audience as well as the main character. Even so, I less resent the character for leaving and more the [male] directors for deciding to move the narrative in that direction. I suppose it had to happen in order to drive the male-centered narrative about the trusting, helpless, honest Bruno who takes in this poor prostitute and gives her a new life, only to find o…

Judy Chicago

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Equality is the name of the game! Judy Chicago's art, in all mediums, sizes, and varieties features themes from the feminist movement. Her "masterpiece" installation piece The Dinner Party features 32 place settings signifying muses/artists throughout history that have marked founts of feminine creation. The first is of the Primordial Goddess: 

And ending with Georgia O'Keefe: 


Her medium fluctuates frequently, and but in many of her larger shows, spray acrylic paint is featured quite heavily, as well as embroidery, quilting, and other forms of needlework or "woman's" work. 

The Creation, for example, exhibits her work with needlework and also her desire to find femininity in a world dominated by men. This work focuses on the darkness of before birth, the genesis of the work, and the birth of all things living.  In the clip below, Chicago speaks about her the trouble she went through trying to "make it" in the art world, and also her experience…

Lawton Hall

I very much enjoyed Lawton's visit! A lot of his work resonated with me, for a variety of reasons. His introduction in particular was extremely relevant to what I've been thinking about recently, being: how the hell am I going to live after college? All we're required to do is make enough money to eat, supply the government, and consume. Where in this formula is the real action of living? I feel like for so many people, their job is not a part of their experience of 'life' - their real life starts after they leave their workplace. I do not in any way, shape or form want to live only outside of work. I'm hoping to eventually make money by creating film, something that I find both a worthwhile use of my time, and something that I genuinely adore to both create and consume. ANYWAY, with this in mind, my favorite piece of Hall’s was his work with Carl – I connect with the medium and understand the use of sound on an academic level. The thing that I found most surpr…

MINE

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I wanted to use my phone for this project, and to try to embody the feeling of a vine, but I needed it to be a little longer for my purposes. In the Eddie Izzard clip that I show, he is talking about British Imperialism, and how just the presence of a flag and a gun makes a space into a place, and beyond that a place that is OWNED. I don't know how a person really owns a place, but it happens! It happens on the large scale and on a much smaller scale. This happens all the time, every day--if you want to grab a table for lunch, you put a marker there, and that space suddenly becomes yours, if only for a short amount of time. And then, if people continuously own that space, it is thought to be their's, like a lunch table that is generally thought of as the 'nerd table'. I wanted to try to mimic this kind of behavior, while also making something kind of funny featuring my favorite comedian.
Featuring my friend Jacob, who very kindly was my antagonist.

Dissonance

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This project has a lot to do with our technological environment. I was struck one afternoon how silent and foreign our classroom was, so I decided to try to place myself within this space. As I created the video, I found myself focusing on time as a keeper of rhythm, but what does it really have to do with the pace of life? We use this tool to measure our lives, but (at least for me in that moment) I couldn’t find any value in it. The one shot that could potentially look like a POV shot is of the clock, hopefully communicating my exasperation with the time. In the end I wanted to create a feeling of tension. The audience, when watching the video, instinctually wants to breathe with the track, but it’s too drawn out and sporadic to be comfortable. That coupled with the displacement of myself, only anchored to the video by my possessions and blue computer screen, which again speaks to the tension I felt within this very regulated and concrete world. Also, kind of unintentionally, I …

Social Rule Breakers

For my first project, I'd like to do a social experiment.
This could also almost function as a psychology project, because what I'm most interested in is how everyone will react to my and another's behavior.
My idea is to sit down and play a card game, and that's it! Except that I want to do this in the middle of Woodman's. I'm not quite sure how to yet document this phenomenon, potentially with both photography and a short video. I want to both capture how shoppers react to it (my assumption is that they will be very curious but not actually do anything or say anything) and how my partner feels after the experiment is done. I assume that I will feel very uncomfortable and out of place, but maybe it will also be freeing in a certain way.
I'm also interested in seeing whether or not Woodman's reacts to our being there. I'm hoping to camp out for either a half an hour or a full hour. We'll just have to see!

Iconic Women

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Kyle Labak's Ach Mein Gott

So I made a music video! Yay! 
I wanted to use the platform of the music video because it's already a space in which experimental film is widely consumed, so in theory if Kyle became a famous singer, the messages that I'm trying to convey here would become part of the dialogue of this 'global village' that McLuhan expresses. 
Betty Boop as the main subject just kind of happened - Kyle was adamant that she had to be a part of the project and I found that the material went very well rhythmically with the song. From there, everything kind of snowballed into iconic moments featuring women. I wanted to question whether or not those icons should be immortalized for the reasons that they are. For example, Disney's Cinderella represents the perfect form of femininity, the shower scene from Hitchcock's Psycho is known to be one of the most horrifying deaths in cinema history (with phallic imagery), and Superman, our hero of all lesser bei…

The Beatles and McLuhan

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The Beatles were a very influential and iconic band from the 70's (as you probably know). What you might not have known is that they changed everything about the music industry during their time. Before the Beatles, studio recordings were only important in that they could replicate the live performance, but the live performance was the most important part of being a musician. The Beatles started as a band like this, but slowly they began to mess with the technology available. In studio, they were able to layer tracks and perform multiple parts within one song. During live performances, they were limited by technology, so by 1966, they almost completely stopped giving concerts.

The Beatles were important to McLuhan's idea of a global village too, because so many people knew about them. Many different times, their music transcended time and space through technology, like for example their first appearance on American television; 23 million people tuned in live, therefore creati…

The Philosophy Behind Honor

The convocation brought up a lot of issues for me about interventionism, and both the positives and negatives surrounding the topic. Overall, I felt like he tried to fit too many concepts into 70 minutes and just mentioning problems without really guiding us to a logical solution. There is merit to addressing specific issues, but there were just so many problems brought to our attention, and I felt like he was only halfway finished at the end of 70 minutes.

ANYWAY, as I was listening to his speech, I was struck by the excessive use of 'honor' without really defining what it is, and I think the same problem extends to the honor code here at Lawrence. What exactly does "The Honor Code" entail? We have this basic sense of conditions drilled into our head: don't cheat, don't lie, don't steal material from the internet, return lost items around campus. The general idea is follow the moral code of a virtuous person. Appiah's idea of honor is similar, except…

My First Gallery

This whole project was very exciting. My book turned out really well, but I wish my thesis had been more clear, because on the surface it looks like I had several different topics; I was critiquing capitalism, making my photos look almost like pages in a magazine. Within that critique, I wanted to highlight how much value has been lost for so-called sacred ideas or people, like Confucius, and how we as a society are so focused on the past (like the drum or the Latest News container) yet we can't wait for the newest technology. I kind of wanted to communicate all of that, so I hope it was effective and everyone kind of understood what I was trying to get at. 
The print project was also very interesting, but less enjoyable and satisfactory than the book. My two prints, "Follow the Rules" and "$12.95 of Right" worked well together, and continued the critique of capitalism. 
This was my first time being part of a gallery opening, and I have to say it was pretty coo…

To My Fellow Classmates...

[Transcript from my book The Beatles and McLuhan]

Lennon: The medium is the message, you see.

McLuhan: You know there's a hyphen in there, didn't you? Mess-age.

Lennon: No. And then it was massage last time I heard it.

McLuhan: And mass-age. Put the hyphens in and you have the real message.

Lennon: Yes. Yes, very good.

McLuhan: They, they were - it was always intended to have hyphens.

Lennon: Well, I just got the hang of medium is the message, and then somebody told me, "Oh no, it;s the medium is the massage."

McLuhan: And the mass age and the mess age.

Lennon: I gave in.

McLuhan: So, this is - you're trying to tidy up the message a bit.

Lennon: Yes, yes...

Ono: Yes.

Lennon: We're trying to get it over in three-letter words.

Prototype

RETHINKING THE IDEA: This is how I would think a computer would breathe if we gave it life.

Photo Project

OKAY! I was unable to create a slideshow, but all of my photos are on flickr at this address:

I Have This Thing About Boxes

(That's the title)

There were a few different ideas going on in my head at the time that I was shooting, but the main theme is consumerism and more broadly capitalism. The order is important, because the first photo you see is of my friend looking at a box, and she said, "I have this thing about boxes", which I thought was such a telling example of how much our lives revolve around things that don't really have any meaning (like small ornate boxes).
Among that overarching theme, I also focused on an obsession for nostalgia that is present in American society. This is almost self reflexive in a way, because I also like to photograph old things--they're just usually more interesting to look at. In Mcluhan's book, he says "In the name of 'progress', our official culture is striving to force the new media to do the work of the ol…

Jason Yi in Time and Space