Monday, December 13, 2010

Artist Responses

I attended Karley Klopfenstein's talk at the Boyden Art Gallery, with the yarn tank as the main exhibit. Immediately I saw that Karley is not afraid to combine sensitive subjects like war with a little bit of humour. The carpet bombs are punny, but the idea of dressing up something that killed millions is a bit unnerving. There's also the macrame M16, which I thought was a broom at first. I think that was the intention; to show how weapons are used to "sweep up" a problem. Finally there was the carpet tank, which is still unfinished. Karley wanted to show us how the process is important, and she explained how she did certain pieces of the tank. It was an interesting talk overall, and a bit educational too.

I also attended Anja Marais' talk the same day, and the pieces were a bit strange. Many of Marais' works give the feeling of something that doesn't originate from our world, and several involve water. This theme of unfamiliarity and the ocean is quite important to immigrants, who must face the initial hardships of even getting to another place before being seen as a complete outsider. While some of her pieces don't reflect this quite as much (I'm not sure what a vomiting kraken is supposed to represent), the piece with patterns drawn into a man's back seems to fit much better. Turned away with unusual, visible marks, the man does not seem familiar. Hanged Man also fits somewhat as immigrants might feel as if they're trapped in their old culture and can't get out to learn a new one. I can't make any statements from experience though.

Artist response

I attended the SMP-in-progress critiques at the Boyden Art Gallery. I attended the SMP critiques. I listened to several artists talk about their artwork a little, as well as listened to the critiques of their peers and teachers. I particularly enjoyed Courtney Teed's artwork and discussion of her artwork. She explained that she really was focusing on space, time, and the power felt in the ability to manipulate photographs to create a convincing sense of disorientation. She said that she was focusing on "seeing photographically" - looking at something and changing from binocular vision to monocular vision. I feel that she especially accomplished this with the picture of the bolts. The bolts were extremely enlarged in the photograph, giving them a "larger than life" feeling and appearance. The focus of the picture was on the bolts, while the rest of the photograph was kind of out of focus. The "larger than life" aspect of the bolts really gave the space and place in the picture a kind of new meaning, and definitely created a convincing sense of disorientation.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Artist Response

When walking through the art exhibit, one piece stood out from the rest. Tara Hutton's piece appeared to be very relevant to the topics discussed in class. In her piece, the character is represented in her school identity (costume), and then in contrast to her private personal identity. In her school/ public persona, the character portrays herself as a woman. However, when in her room, she "puts on her man suit". Instantly this made me think of the movie "Silence of the lambs". Although this may not have been the artist's desire, the piece took on a dark persona, which was heavily in contrast to the light colors used to depict the character.

The parallels to the class lie in the interaction that place has on the person. In this particular situation a person projects meaning for the place, and the place reflects the identy of the person.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Film Response

I have had no previous exposure to still life animation. I found these films to be creepy and a lot of it did not make sense to me. After learning that the films were completely hand made, I was able to appreciate the hard work that was put into each of the films, but I was not able to understand and appreciate the messages that were trying to be conveyed. There was a lot going on and as a scientist, I kept trying to analyze and try to come up with explanations for what was going on. However, I could not full grasp what was going on, so that was frustrating and pushed me away from the film. I do not want to say I disliked the films, because I'm glad I now have the experience of watching such a film.

Friday, November 26, 2010

11/22 Film Response

This was my first experience with "still" film like the videos we watched in class. I was amazed to know that everything was hand drawn, I really could not believe it. What really struck me about the videos was one of the recordings. I am not sure which video it was but one that that had a voice recording mentioned the fact that we as humans are constantly trying to make sense of what we view and hear each day. Throughout those videos things seemed kind of "crazy" or fictional. The book for a head for example, was irrational and it was hard to make sense of such a thing that seemed so strange. However, instead of just accepting the video as art, my brain was constantly struggling with trying to create a pattern, reason, or organization throughout the whole thing. Though I really appreciated the videos and all of the art, it was interesting how my brain would not settle while watching the films, especially in the first one.

The particular part that I really liked was the "view" pieces. The fact that the art could look like something, and usually smudges, random designs and then at the turn of the art the image began to develop. It was amazing to me and surprising at how an image and such creation came alive at just the turn of the piece. I did enjoy the films and they peaked my interest in the subject.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

film response 11/22

Up to this point, my only experience with still life animation has been with robot chicken plus wallace and gromet. Because of this particular preexisting exposure, I may not have been fully capable to appreciate the complexity of the program. During many phases i found myself laughing at scenes that were not found to be comical by others. Regardless of the clear bias i had brought in, I did enjoy the viewing experience.The dark yet friendly nature provided a cautious comfort to explore the world depicted within the show. The first short in particular provided such an experience.

Film Response

Stop motion is this magical thing that makes the viewer go, "oh my god that's frickin amazing" no matter what story it's telling. Just the simple idea that this is not a film but a series of pictures (each picture slightly different every time) makes the sane viewer wonder what kind of mental illness possessed the artist or director to go through such a tedious hassle. It's because the product at the end is SO worth it.

I have always been enamored with stop motion, ever since I first learned about it after watching Wallace and Gromit. My friend and I would experiment with our toys but as you can imagine, nothing very epic came out of it, I have learned that stop motion is extremely easy to mess up. The changes in lighting, if you move a limb to fast... And a little kid's attention span can only stretch so far. But the nice thing about stop motion is that it's relatively easy (just tedious) and the product is always fun to watch. In fact, when Caiti told me she wanted to do stop motion I showed her my favorite stop motion movie (which probably wasn't such the best idea because it is rather intimidating...) << The end product of this video required over 6500 pictures (and you can watch the number counting during the video).

Looking at videos like Wallace and Gromit, the youtube video, and the films in class are just couple of examples of all of the avenues one can go in with stop motion if they simply have the patience to do so. As for the films in class, I didn't really understand the story or meaning behind some of them... but that wasn't as important as studying the creativity and ideas behind the stop motion itself.

The most interesting points I observed from these films were little details. For example, there is a scene where the picture of someone's face becomes desaturated. The color just fades away... The use of color and lighting in stop motion is important. This reminded me that the picture's lighting must remain the same in every single shot in order to make it look like a real film. Though, this is not always true, for you can change the lighting between night and day, but such changes must be gradual keeping in mind that you want it too look natural. In the natural world there aren't these kinds of dramatic changes shifty strobe light changes in lighting. The same happens in the youtube video I linked too where one girl is holding a flame and it lights up and burns up the screen but really he's just taking a light and exposing the picture to it slowly and slowly until it looks like her fire is burning every thing up. This most likely required practice through trial and error a couple of times in order to learn how quickly to turn up the lighting. Just as the scene is stop motion, the lighting and colors must also be considered "STOP" motion as well.

Considering this, it is obvious that stop-motion artists require a great deal of creativity to think about what move they are going to do next and how exactly to make things move so naturally. How small their adjustments must be...

I also liked how instead of filming the characters in one scene he filmed them through the orb. I found this incredibly interesting, as they were able to capture the stop motioned movements through this orb instead of directly filming them. I could try it with a mirror on my own time and see what kinds of things I can do through that.

And I'm going to have to cut this short because I need to leave for break now.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Class 11/22 Film Response

I thought the films/videos we watched in class today were really fascinating because they created a totally immersive environment. The films left no trace as to where the film-makers were involved (although one can figure out how they were involved through the stop-motion process of the films). The films were presented to the viewer with no real explanation as to what is going on, which gives more power to the viewer to make their own meaning.
Personally, I found the films to be very disturbing and scary. The combination of parts used to make the pieces made me feel disjointed and I was unsure as to where "everything" came from, which very well may have been the artist's point. However, this does not mean that I did not like the films. I thought they were an amazing way of presenting a unusual, robotic, dusty, surreal world. I think these films are very interesting to view after the podcast project because they feel like a snapshot or view on a particular place that was important to the artists who made the films.

Artist Talk Reflection: Dr. Andrea Giunta

The Politics of Representation:

Art and Human Rights in Latin America

Honestly, when I went to Dr. Giunta’s talk I was unsure as to what to expect. I was not sure how Dr. Giunta would use her knowledge of Latin American Art to talk about politics, although I did know that there are many topics that combine art and politics. However, my confusion was immediately thrown out the window when Dr. Giunta began her talk and focused in on her topic: Abduction and Disappearance. I was really interested in how Dr. Giunta described abduction photos in Latin American newspapers as “ghost-like.” This was simply a description that I had never really thought of before and it was interesting to see how right Dr. Giunta was; the images had a haunted look to them, even though the photos were taken before any of their subjects had vanished.

On of the works that Dr. Giunta showed and described during her talk, and the work that I found to be the most moving, was the work by Gustavo Germano Ausenc’as. Ausenc’as work consisted of a pair of images right next to each other, one is the original image (with the missing person in the image) and the other is a new version of the photo, with all people in the same position, which emphasizes the missing individual. I thought that this work was extremely complex because it not only deals with the issue of abduction and disappearance, but the photo pairs also evoke all of the emotions and details of the other people and the place where the photograph was taken. I found these photograph combinations to be the easiest to connect to because, even if I knew nothing about the people in the images, I could try and put myself in their shoes and feel the sense of loss that permeates the new image of the pair.

Some of the other works that Dr. Giunta discussed that I found very interesting were works by Luis Camnitzer and the Buenos Aires Memorial. The work by Camnitzer was interesting because it represented the people who have disappeared by showing them as blank lines in a phone book, giving no contact information for those who have disappeared amongst the regular list of phone numbers and addresses. The Buenos Aires Memorial was also very interesting because Dr. Giunta described it as a “visual record”; a continuously updated memorial, that as new people are listed as having been abducted, their names are added to the list on the memorial. All of these works helped me to understand the connection that Dr. Giunta was making about art and human rights: that even though these people have disappeared, they have in no way been forgotten.

Podcast Response

I thought it was very interesting to see how many different ways people could approach the idea of podcasts. I did not consider that people could make their own images to demonstrate the purpose and mood of the site such as Caiti's podcast. Her work was very to the point, yet extremely creative and insightful. Instead of just showing the Bates memorial, she recreated it in her own way, and used her own artwork to show how people respond to the place. I really enjoyed how she created a variety of individuals and had them all treat the memorial slightly differently. I also like how she incorporated the sounds of nature and the water. By using her own artwork, she created her own style and flair to the piece. Also, everything had a unity and a clear purpose. Hannah and Elisa's podcast also had unity and a clear sense of purpose. They took a very different approach than Caiti, but the arc is also a very different place than the Justin Bates memorial. They used interviews and images from the arc to convey how people interact with the arc everyday. Their choice of medium allowed them to convey the everyday, casual aspects of the arc. The arc is a place that people use and visit all of the time to get in shape and hang out. They strongly conveyed this concept by using comments from a variety of people that visited the arc. Both podcasts took a creative approach to the task and had a clear sense of purpose and meaning. They became intimate with their place. They connected to it and figured out what it meant to them and to others.
Our podcast on the other hand lacked this clarity and intimacy. We showed the different aspects of historic; however, we failed to unite the purpose and mood of the place as a whole. The podcast was more a tour of historic than a podcast. In order to make a successful podcast, an individual must become intimate with the place that they are commenting on. I did not fully become intimate with historic. It was not filled with as much meaning and emotion as were those podcasts. This lack of purpose, unity, and intimacy weakened our podcast and made it less interesting. I realized that its not only important to think about the moods and experiences of a place, but also its overall purpose and use. It is also important to really connect and become intimate with a place before creating a piece about it.

Podcast Response

I really enjoyed both Caiti's and Danie's podcasts about the Justin Bates memorial. Both were extremely bright and lively, and both told a story. A main point included in both podcasts was the symbolism associated with the idea of placing an object that had sentimental/memory value on the actual grave (shell, driftwood). Caiti's podcast used a combination of paper animation and site specific sounds to create a story, while Dani's used some computer drawn images and narration, as well as a little bit of actual video. Overall, though, both podcasts did an excellent job at portraying the significance of the place, and the space, of the memorial.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Podcast Response

I thought that both of the Arc Podcasts were very interesting. Hannah and Elisa's created more of a sense of place, by showing familiar still images repeatedly and playing voices of people who interacted with the Arc. They created a portrait of how the arc looks, and how it is used specifically by the students that go there. They did include a few images, but the podcast was dominated by the overlapping, repeated, and continuous voices. The comments that the voices made limited the "place," it defined the Arc and what it was, how it felt, and how people used it specifically (the hours, the weight room, and reasons for going). Natalie's felt much more like a "space," especially since it was devoid of people. The emptiness and darkness of all the spaces in the arc, including the unusual ones like the back hallways, kind of... disassociated the arc from it's use to what is actually is as a building, a feeling. Natalie's was more lonely, and gave a sense of the arc, versus Hannah and Elisa's podcast, which was more a definition.

Podcast response

It was interesting to see how each individual perspective influenced the podcasts.  Some people focused heavily on sound, while others focused on pictures and visuals.  Some podcasts told a specific story, while others were very ambiguous.  I enjoyed comparing and contrasting podcasts done by different people about the same place.  Though each person was given the same place on which to focus, the product of each person was extremely different.  I especially liked the contrasting Justin Bates Memorial podcasts.  Jamie's was the most ambiguous, using only what seemed to be the sounds from the actual memorial.  It was very simple and raw and forced its audience to think for themselves about the memorial, rather than telling them what to think.  Anneka's also focused mostly on the memorial itself, showing a video of the memorial while reciting the poem found on the grave.  Caiti's focused on the idea of the memorial; however she created a story around the memorial, using her own illustrations to portray how the sea shells ended up on the grave.  Finally, Dani took the idea of "memories" from the memorial site and used pictures and stories unrelated to the memorial but still relevant to the idea of a memorial.  Even though all of these people were given the same place on which to focus, their podcasts were diverse and interesting in their own way.  

Podcast Review

I really enjoyed the diversity of approaches to this project. Though they were all fantastic and entertaining, the two most striking presentations to me were Caiti and Allen's presentations. They both enrich the spaces they are focused on, but in very different ways. Add that to the skill and quality with which they were made, and you have two excellent works. Caiti's use of stop-motion was really impressive technically and creatively. Allen's plan also succeeded with honors, his narration and storytelling truly skillful and creatively justxtaposed with stills of empty streets and seats. Their more creative and abstract designs were a refreshing departure from my and Alex's more descriptive, documentarian style of turning a simple space to a vivatious place.

I also really enjoyed Hannah and Elise's piece. I thought it was hilarious and on-point, and it did a really good job of bringing the stark landscape of the ARC to life.

Podcast Comparison

When viewing the podcasts, I realized just how many methods, techniques, tools, etc, there are too create meaning of space and place through sound and image. Though sounds and image sounds simple enough, the tools that different students used were all very different, no podcast was the same as another. Two that struck me as similar yet different were the Historic (by Alexander and Paul) and and ARC (Hannah and Myself) podcasts. What I saw in both podccasts was the element to tell a story. Though the stories were quite different, they both told a story and reflected reactions of people in that particular site. However, the techniques were very different between the two. Throughout the videos I saw similar characteristics, yet used in different ways:
Narration-both the ARC and Historic videos used narration. While the narration from Historic was a continuation of two people talking, in a story form, the ARC used narration but more in a dialogue fashion (manipulated dialogue).
Movement-while the ARC podcast included pictures, on site pictures, to flash movement, to contrast with the dialogue, the Historic podcast also used movement. However, this particular one had video rather than still pictures.
Reactions from people of that site-While listening to the video in the Historic podcast, you can hear certain reactions to the site such as descriptions and labels, as they call it a beautiful view. While walking through the site, we are getting a first hand reaction that the videographer is feeling. The ARC podcast, too used reactions from people from that particular site. However, those reactions were not on site, the viewer does not experience the reaction with the person, rather, they are being told later.

Podcast Response

Both podcasts made in the arc were awesome and unique. In Natalie's representation, it began with the warnings and the hazards that are present within the arc. This induces a strange feeling because it personified the building in a way i have never perceived. Furthermore, one is forced to view the nonhuman elements because there is an almost creepy lack of human participation (except for the kicking foot).

In contrast, Hannah and Elisa's piece deals much more heavily with the human element. By integrating individuals thoughts about the experience, the arc gains meaning by what individuals perceive or label it as. This gives is a rather comfortable feeling for it correlated strongly with my previous perceptions of the place. It was cool how they molded it by providing tension between opposing views, which created a small game of tug of war with my ideas.

In conclusion the arc as done in Natalie's work addressed the arc as almost an individual in itself, while Hannah and Elisa's viewed it as an extension of the individuals who use it.