Saturday, April 25, 2009
As a whole, the five posters I created address the social object and dynamic of questions. My artwork displays the beginning framework to the endless questions of life. Questions seek answers, and within each of my philosophical questions the answer is positioned in the visual center. Although this placement may appear clear to the omniscient eye, in reality the truth is often obscured by unforeseen circumstances of the present.
Friday, April 24, 2009
Writing has been the foundation of communication and knowledge from the beginnings of human civilization. Our ability to translate perceptions of the world through word is a defining quality of our identity as complex social beings. To illustrate the social nature of books, my composition attempts to illustrate the global, and historical importance of writing.
For our project we drew inspiration from the artist Allan Kaprow. He is famous for producing the 18 Happenings in 6 Parts and has forever changed the definition of a happening. A happening is a performance, event or situation meant to be considered as art. Happenings take pace anywhere, are often multi-disciplinary, often lack a narrative and frequently seek to invlove the audience in some way. We decided to take this definition to heart and produce a similar event, the 9 Happenings in 3 parts. The 30 second clip is one of the happenings we included in the project. We had a performance component for our presentation but weren't able to accomplish it in the setting. However, we feel that the video accompanied with performance art truly portrays what a happening is and gives credit to Kaprow's interesting take on lifelike art.
My goal with this piece was to show time through fashion because fashion is constantly changing; it changes every day, every season and every year, more and more. I read several street style blogs every day because they give inspiration and provide insight into the ways that people really dress, the (somewhat) practical side of fashion. I was inspired to incorporate these pictures because they are photos of real people and the blog I used is updated daily. These pictures were all taken by Scott Schuman of The Sartorialist. I used the song, "Around the World," by Red Hot Chili Peppers because it is fast paced and shows the movement of time.
My project defines shoes as a social object. I believe that shoes can tell a lot about who we are and what social groups we interact with. Shoes are also the means by which we travel through our social networks. In the pictures, the shoes are the only thing in color for emphasis. However, the black and white portions are also important as they show different social settings.
With this piece I wanted to contrast the different stages that wood undergoes over time. I used tree branches, craft wood, a table leg to create a tree-like sculpture. I also used common wood working tools such as nails, a hammer, a saw, and wood glue. I combined these elements in a nonlinear format, juxtaposing the ideas of pure nature with man's manipulation of nature. My video displays my tree in a very contradictory setting. The backdrop for my tree shows both untouched forest and a construction site. The statue is resting on a wooden stair case...another use of wood in today's society.
Visually in the project the athlete finds himself facing this question when he sees his own name in the crowd. The progression moves from a photographic public conception—dressed in uniform—to a dark outline, and as he begins to think back he fills himself with memories which progress as memories typically come to mind (not always chronological; one memory can instantly bring about the next in sequence, or one factor may bring another memory to the surface.) The magnitude of the athlete in the final outline, once filled with these thoughts, is greater than the crowd, which also becomes an image in his memory.
This is my 2nd Individual Visual Project for which I chose music as my social object. For me, music and art have always seemed to have an intertwined relationship. After all, both are aesthetic mediums which speak in ways as profound as they are intangible. This relationship was brought home to me on a recent visit to the Sichuan region of southwestern China. While there, I participated in the traditional Yi minority fire festival – an unforgettable experience. The mounting crescendo of a myriad of joyful voices, harmonizing even in their apparent dissonance, was exhilarating – and truly completed the ritual fireside dance. This social aspect of music is what caught my attention – each note and chord evocative of our activity.
I chose to apply the "rough pastel" effect to my 2nd crop because ideally, that is the type of medium I would associate with this type of music - free, uninhibited, flowing. However, my skill with "real" pastels isn't quite at the level at which I can achieve the visual effect I want in that manner yet - hence photoshop aid. :)
Thursday, April 23, 2009
To keep with the theme of games, I went with the game of "tag" for this project. Birds and other animals in nature (the squirrels on the quad, for example) often seem to be chasing each other around in a playful manner. Birds do so in a way that is graceful and beautiful, and I wanted to express this with my video. I also wanted to play on the fact that the birds allow the viewer to see through the canvas to the background of watercolor. When the birds meet, the game ends and the background becomes visible. I ended with a shot of one bird flying across the screen. This can be interpreted as the two birds became one when they met in the middle - metaphorically, all animals play games, therefore we are all one with nature. I hope you enjoy! This has been my favorite project!
The object is clock, under the background of the modern Greenwich clock system.
I added 2 layers on the original clock: One layer is the ancient Chinese timing system, in China Calligraphy, the second layer is the Chinese explanation of the body system, and how the body system works in different times.
I used the second layer, the "mysterious" Chinese medicine as the bridge that connects the ancient Chinese timing system, with the modern western timing system, as no matter it's western or east, our physical body does not change, the Chinese medicine is applicable to all the people
YELL: "OWCH" is a game based on color intensities. The purpose is to wipe out all yellow bubbles which have the least intensity thus least power. While blue has the highest intensity thus the most power, other colors are assumed to be more powerful than yellow and less powerful than blue. Therefore any color can undermine yellow bubbles but none has the power to undermine the blue ones. As rings of bubbles form, any color except blue wipes out the one it overlaps. If a bubble ring forms but doesn't wipe out any of the yellow bubbles the player gradually loses points.
The video I prepared portrays what one can see playing the game or watching someone else play it. I used Power Point slides and created 600 frames by editting a former slide to create the latter one. Then I merged them all one after the other, so we can consider this a stop motion video.
There are two parts to the game. First one being the wiping out of yellow bubbles by other ones while second one being the "revenge of the yellow bubbles" by turning into a "Pacman-like" shape and eating out all colors.
The name of the game YELL:"OWCH" is the combination of yellow and to yell: "ouch" which refers to pain. Since there is no literal kind of pain in this game my goal was to make reference to the weak getting beaten up by the stronger, followed by revenge of the weaker.
My inspiration for the video was the circular overlapping patterns of bubbles I have used in my previous game project: "Bubble the Trouble"(IVP2). First my aim was to create a visual entertainment by creating a sequential video of how I formed those patterns. Then I added a twist to it by applying a basic game strategy: strong vs. weak. However, since I was dealing with colors and shapes I used the notion of "strong/weak" in terms of colors which is color intensity.
Enjoy watching the competition between colors before the GAME is OVER.
The recent millennium has promptly ushered in an evolution in the communication of language. Although we can now visually see the language (via Facebook, iChat, BlackBerry Messenger, or text messages), we have sacrificed our vision of emotion and personality in favor of convenience and 21st technology. I have depicted a young woman, detached and isolated, using binoculars to see through the fabricated text and into the colorful reality of her friends and family. I represented binoculars as a social object to comment on the disintegration of personal communication in the 21st century.
For my project, I made a book dealing with people's superstitions and beliefs. What irrational things do people believe in and why? Are they really irrational? The book has two sections: BAD LUCK and CONTROL FATE. First, I created 4 pages of different things that bring people bad luck: a black cat crosses your path, walking under a ladder, braking a mirror, and opening an umbrella indoors. Second, I created 4 pages of different ways to control your fate, or to get rid of the bad luck: knocking on wood, throwing salt over your left shoulder, forwarding chain emails/text messages, and crossing your fingers.
The Podcast--Colleen Ugliano
When we see others with earphones in, listening to an ipod, we often associate this state with introversion as the listener is separated from the social and interactive world, occupying the world of music specific to his or her own tastes. However, the free podcast feature on iTunes enables people from various countries and social groups to cross borders and share interests and news with the click of a button. Whether the topic is sports, entertainment, art, literature, or music, podcasts update daily, weekly, or monthly, and are produced and uploaded by large organizations such as the Discovery Channel, ESPN, or The New Yorker, along with individuals, often in collaboration with others. My project attempts to portray the individual side of listening to podcasts (the person listening with earphones and interacting with the podcast) in connection with the broader social context (connecting different countries with world news and interests.)
When I began this project, I wanted to do something with the image of ideal female beauty and how it changes over time. Specifically, how people manipulate the idea of how beauty should be based on cultural forces. When I thought more into it, however, I realized how fluid the ideal image of beauty can be, especially when I broadened my perspective and explored the general concept of "beauty". What is perceived as beautiful can change from second to second, based on thought, influence of new ideas and opinions, new perspective, slight alteration, etc. In this way, beauty is truly difficult to capture (artists of all kind have been attempting to do so for a very long time after all), and I wanted to illustrate not just beauty, but how perception of beauty interacts with and is manipulated by time.
My mixed-media sculpture consists of a metal shell comprised of old, rusted lawnmower blades. These were hand-forged into a structure to hold the strip of canvas presenting an acrylic Venus that is suspended in the metal structure from lines of thread.
Wednesday, April 22, 2009
In one of our previous classes, we explored the different primary colors via paint. What I found interesting about the exercise was that my finished product looked nothing like what I had on my paper - it had somehow "morphed" into a whole new thing. Interestingly enough, I was quite pleased with the final result - despite the fact that I had not planned it out.
This is we the kernel that grew into my final individual visual project. I decided to do a painting - yet in a novel (at least to me) methodology. Unlike my previous works, I didn't start out with a well laid plan. Instead, I started on intuition, made multiple changes to the original painting as inspiration struck and changed, and finally landed on what I had before me. Along the way, my work began to resemble more and more a close-up of an embryo - a seed of life coming into being. In a way, I found this a fitting subject to end my piece on - as the development of life is (as mentioned by others in our class as well) an extremely non-linear progression of different and unique happenings.
In my second part of the progress, I made my painting (and the process by which it was developed) into a short film. I hope that the quick flash-backs and forwards present in the short film mirrors the changes in perspectives and evolving of aims that was key to the production of the piece. The music, "I just wanna live" by Good Charlotte was chosen to pair with the theme of the painting - life fighting (and succeeding) to emerge out of seeming randomosity. :)
I chose to focus on letters as a social object. In order to achieve this, I created a collage by making numerous photocopies of actual letters I have sent and received throughout the year. The letters are all displayed in black and white, documenting the antiquity of the art of letter writing in a society that demands instant communication. I also chose to include address labels, mailing codes, and stamps in the collage, which emphasize the social paths the letters had to travel in order to connect individuals in a social way.
I am currently taking the 3d modeling and animation class here at Duke. I decided that I wanted to work with the maya software for this project. Everything from the modeling to animation was created in maya. I decided I wanted to do an animation with balls. I took the phrase 'the grass is always greener on the other side' and decided to make an animation around that. I created three different types of balls. There are three yellow balls which are easily able to bounce over the fence, two orange balls that can slip under and one black ball that is massive and unable to bounce or roll under the fence. He needs help if he wants to make it to the other side and he recieves it from one of the small orange balls.
Tuesday, April 21, 2009
For my project I documented people playing my favorite board game, which is scrabble. I decided to add dramatic motion to the generally tame board game (by making my friend throw the scrabble board) in order to illustrate the competitive nature of many forms of "play." I wanted to create a piece that displays the anger games often ignite in people, because this reaction seems to contradict to the purpose of play.
I originally planned to document the game with video. However, I chose to use a series of still photographs played quickly because I thought this would create a nice parallel between my medium and my content. Like a scrabble board, photographs are not usually in motion. My project is silent to make it seem like a flip-book, emphasizing the fact that it is a series of still pictures changing rapidly.
The longer version of the video shows one player play all seven of her letters (a rare success). Another player looks at the score, becomes incensed, throws the game board, and walks out of the room. The sequence of photos in which the player throws the game board and walks out is then played backwards until its beginning. After this, there is a slight but noticeable shift in the photos, and the three players clean up the board in a civil way as they normally would. The reversing of the game throwing sequence shows that it was only a fantasy of the angry player. The shift in photos that occurs just before the players begin to clean up the board game illustrates a return to reality.
Most of the photographs play for .5 seconds, but the pictures in which the player is throwing the board game are on screen for a considerably longer period of time because these were the most interesting, time-worthy photographs. Dwelling on the pictures where the scrabble board and letters are airborne, my video addresses the fact that their is a certain beauty and excitement in succumbing to irrational passion. The monotony of the quickly shown photographs in which players follow both game and social rules is meant to show the contrast between fantasy and reality and to demonstrate the fact that anger, stress, and competitiveness are often internalized or repressed during play.
I included a sequence of "blooper" photographs that show the natural reactions of the players when the angry player first tried to throw the board. She threw it too hard and it fell on her head. I thought this sequence of photographs was valuable and entertaining because it unintentionally showed a different kind of play in which people enjoy being shocked by something unexpected. The blooper photos contrast the performance photos, displaying a spontaneous form of play that lacks competition, a form of play that seems most true to "play's" definition as something for amusement, fun, and recreation. The blooper photographs also demonstrate the powerful ability of flip-book style artwork to dwell on details, by freezing them, that don't stand out in film.
However, as I got more involved in the creative process, I began to experiment with combining contrasting images and sound to produce a subversive political message. Ultimately, I found that even if I paired images reflecting relatively negative messages about America with majestic, overtly positive music, I could create a commercial that generated a positive overall atmosphere.
My final product is a short commercial that chronicles the evolution of Brand America over the last eight years (the real extent of my political memory). The below clip mainly focuses on the changes in Pres. George Bush's expressions over time and the juxtaposition of his face with Pres. Barack Obama's- signifying a major change in American history and the future of our brand.
The process of creating this short advertisement has been an interesting one, since it is my first foray into putting together video clips. However, the project has definitely encouraged me to consider how I can incorporate video compellingly into future projects for other classes as well. Perhaps this summer I will use video to chronicle parts of my Duke Engage experience and to capture interactions with locals that will become a useful aspect of field research for my public policy thesis!
Monday, April 20, 2009
Danielle and I worked together in making a documentary type movie reflecting on female athletes and the image they embody. We used interview audio, music, text, photos, and film together to create about a five minute video. This 30 second clip is a short segment from the start of the movie just to provide a taste of the real project.
My project is an animated rendition of Richard Connell's short story The Most Dangerous Game. This tale is of a hunter named Sanger Rainsford who crashes on an island owned by the bloodthirsty General Zaroff. The General has hunted many animals--buffaloes, tigers, jaguars--and has grown bored with hunting. To entertain himself, he brings people onto his island and hunts them. Rainsford is forced to be his next catch. General Zaroff tells Rainsford that if he survives for three days, the General will let him leave. Rainsford tries to make a confusing path in order to vex the General but is found. The General lets him live, wanting to play the game a little longer. As a result, Rainsford assembles traps to kill Zaroff. He makes three in total (one each day)--but they are only successful in killing the General's hounds and bodyguard. Zaroff chases Rainsford through the jungle until Rainsford jumps off a cliff and supposedly to his death. The General returns home, only to find Rainsford waiting for him. Rainsford then kills the General. This story was always a favorite of mine and so when I saw the syllabus, this project came to mind.
For my film, I wanted to keep the theme of games throughout the story. In order to do so, I used board games as the set and characters. The Clue gameboard was an easy choice for the General's mansion. While looking for character pieces, chess pieces were the most easily available. These pieces were very useful since a hierarchy of the pieces is already well-known. Thus, dividing the General, the bodyguard Ivan, and the dogs was simple. On the other side, Rainsworth was also a simple choice. When thinking of which gamepiece was the most clever, I instantly thought a Mousetrap piece. The other major choice I had to make was the three traps that Rainsford installs. And so when I went to my dorm's collection of board games and I saw a box of Dominos and Connect Four--great traps. Of course, I had to use the Mousetrap trap as the final trap as well.
In terms of filming, I reread the story a number of times and worked from there. The process came easily since I had done a stop-motion film earlier in the semester. All in all, I had to collect two gigs worth of pictures and clips.
Editing was the most difficult portion. iMovie on my computer seemed to have a difficult time after over a minute of film. Regardless, I got through it and was very satisfied with my product. Choosing music was also difficult but I was able to get very lucky in finding songs that fit the timing and theme of my movie.
The clip above is one of my favorite features of my movie--the Connect Four trap. I really like the slow motion and how the music moves the story.
I filmed on a Saturday night at Caffé Driade, a coffee shop on Franklin Street in Chapel Hill. I’ve always been fascinated by coffee shops—the way unrelated individuals occupy the same social space and the interactions that result—and Driade is particularly fascinating to me because of the eclectic clientele it seems to draw. I was looking to capture on film the way people interact in this public space. Do you act differently if you know you are being watched? The film reveals the dynamic in which people are both watching and being watched. I decided to make a silent film to heighten the viewer’s attention to the smallest of visual details in these social interactions. From the girl biting her nails, sitting alone at a table to the barista staring at a woman as she walks past, I think the film reveals the subtleties of the game of human interaction. The reoccurring motif is the framed sequences of the barista who—in between putting away dishes and serving customers—with a furrowed brow, stares right into the camera with an inquisitive eye. This social game is a spectator sport, and I reaped the benefits of this observer’s status last Saturday night.