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.

Saturday, November 20, 2010


I decided to compare and contrast my own podcast with Jared's. We both did the Shoe Tree, however I felt as though our projects had very different vibes. Jared's podcast was more personal, because he used many images (and possibly songs) that pertained to his life. He included images of boxing related things and his own personal photos. His podcast also had a more comical approach. I thought his podcast was well done and showed what the Shoe Tree represents as well as adding his own personal meaning. He used image and different sounds and songs that worked together to show his ideas.

I never really paid much attention to the Shoe Tree and did not even bother to really appreciate it until taking this class. So, my representation of the Shoe Tree through my podcast was less personal. I decided to show through music and image what it might have been like for a couple to throw their shoes into the tree. The music was my focal point and I decided to mash two songs obviously about sex and slideshow images I took of my friends acting out the scene. We both showed our own representations of the Shoe Tree using image and music, however were able to have two very different outcomes.

Podcast Response

I was very impressed with Caiti’s response to Justin Bates memorial. The podcast was amazingly well-crafted, and very unique. I really liked the way this podcast showed various types of people that would visit the memorial. The fact that not all of the visits to the memorial were intentional added an interesting aspect to the podcast. While the podcast was certainly playful, this facet gave the podcast much more of a realistic feel. I also appreciated how the podcast added a whimsical feel to a typically melancholy place.
Similar to Caiti’s response to the Justin Bates memorial, Danie’s response was also very colorful, and fanciful. However, Danie’s podcast took on a much more personal tone. I thought it was interesting that she not only incorporated other’s stories into her podcast, but continued to add her own personal thoughts, and stories about the memorial.

Podcast Response

I decided to compare Caiti's Bates Memorial podcast with Danie's. Each had a different way of visually portraying the place. Danie used some actual video of the cemetary, along with other video and still images. Caiti didn't show the actual memorial, but made an artistic representation of it. The sounds effects were also different. Caiti's used sounds that would have been heard at the place, while Danie's featured her narration throughout. I felt like Caiti's focused more on the place itself and how it changes, while Danie's focused more on the concept behind the memorial.

The two podcasts also had some simularities. Both featured stories of how objects placed on the memorial got there. This was the main focus of Caiti's video, and Danie's podcast included a story of how a piece of driftwood got placed on the grave. Both showed how the place is connected with people. Caiti's showed how people change the memorial, like by contributing items to it, while Danie's showed the memorial can change people, like by bringing back memories.

Podcast Critique

I thought Jamie's was the most creative. I could imagine this in the Hirshorn projected on a wall playing in loop where instead of sitting and watching the whole video, you walk by it briefly and observe it like the other pieces of work. Though there wasn't much action in the video, the video still seemed to be just as important as the sounds. It was more like a feeling than a film.

This was unlike Caitlin's which told a story. Don't get me wrong, it still had feeling, but it wasn't the same feeling. It was less of a feeling of meditation (like Jamie's) and more like the feeling one gets when watching a movie. You got to see the place changing through time, the different people (and animals) interacting with it and leaving shells to be remembered. It was a history, it was a tale to be told, while Jamie's was a feeling, something that has no time or place.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Project 03: Podcast Response: The ARC

The two podcasts that I thought were interesting to think about in comparison to each other were the two podcasts that detailed the ARC. Specifically, I saw differences in how Hannah/Elisa's video and Natalie's video worked with the presence of people. On one hand, Hannah/Elisa's podcast had a very strong human presence, which could be felt through the overlaying voice clips and commentary. Compared to this, Natalie's podcast was very devoid of a "human presence." Her podcast concentrated, in my view, on the space of the ARC, of the walkways and areas that we pass through and may not pay attention to.
Another obvious comparison between the two podcasts is the fact that Natalie's podcast utilizes moving-video, while Hannah/Elisa's podcast is made from still photos. In my opinion, Natalie's use of video adds to a "ghost like" appearance of the ARC and emphasizes the "space" of the area. Hannah/Elisa's podcast's use of still photos places a greater emphasis on the dialogue heard throughout the podcast, which I think is the main part of the whole piece.
Both of these projects provide a different view into the ARC, an area that we often times see, but may not fully understand.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Friday, November 12, 2010

Podcast: Shoe Tree

I had a problem with the video uploader, too. However, here is my Youtube link. I'm not sure why the last 10 seconds cut off, but click here for the video.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Space and Place

After reading Space and Place, I gained a new view on what is space and what is place. I now view space as that which is open, new, untouched by experience, and place as that which is known and touched by experience. Whenever I visit a new space, it seems large, vast and confusing to me, even if the actual size of the space is not that large. However, as I familiarize myself with it and begin to associate memories, experiences, and thoughts with the space, it becomes a place. Then, as I visit, it no longer seems so large, vast, and confusing. It has a purpose and a meaning. In this way, Berlin and the Baltic Sea can evoke a sense of openness and infinitude. Yes, they are two very different spaces; however, when one first visits them and they are new, they seem vast, exciting, and endless. They are large spaces to begin with as well, so there is much to explore. One may find a few places within the vast space, and not be able to make the whole space a place for a long time. Only parts of Berlin and the Baltic sea may be familiar and full of experience and memories. Other parts may remain undiscovered, new, and untouched for a long time. It takes time to recognize and decipher space to make it become place. As Tuan says a child will not know that a triangle is a triangle until he or she deciphers the corners and shape. They gain meaning and become place, and thus the triangle becomes identified as a shape and place, rather than a space.

Tuan also discusses much about how our feelings and sense effect our perception of place. A newborn child cannot perceive the world the way an adult does; thus, a newborn child’s perception of space and place is vastly different than our own. Much more seems to be space to the child, until associations are made and the senses decipher and associate meanings to the object, room, building, outdoor space, etc. For example, children are not bothered much by dead or decaying things even though they have a strong smell. They will play with trash and will be greatly curious about dead animals. However, as people grow older they begin to associate negative feelings and experiences with the smell. Trash is considered dirty and untouchable. Death is considered disgusting and scary. People who know or have faced death remember that when they smell or see the dead animal. These cultural and personal associations begin to shape those spaces and make them places full of strong emotional responses and meaning. Experiencing a space or place involves more than just one sense, it involves all five. Sights, smells, touches can all become associations with a space and make it a place. For example, every person has a smell. We often do not notice or associate people with these smells when we first meet them. When we meet them they are mostly space. We may see some familiarity in them; however, overall they are new, novel, and seemingly infinite in internal depth. However, as people get to know each other, especially couples, they will begin to associate that person with a smell. If a girlfriend sleep’s at her boyfriend’s house one night and leaves the next morning, the boyfriend can remember and associate her with that place by smelling her scent on the pillow, or sheets, or bed. She becomes part of the experience. Her smell leaves a lasting emotional and memorable impact.

Space and place is always in our lives and it defines and shapes how we view the world. Space becomes place through experience and senses; these factors shape our perceptions of the world.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Space and Place

Sorry this blog post is a little late and thank you for allowing my sister to sit in class. She very much enjoyed our discussion and told me afterwards she kept wanting to comment but was too shy. So silly! I'm sure we all would have appreciated her input!

Anyway, without further ado... My reaction.

The first thing that came to mind during the reading and our discussion in class was a concept we had discussed after reading The Ways of Seeing, and that is how experience not only affects artwork, but also affects words in artwork. I noticed how the author pointed out that "I see" also means "I understand" in the English language which is not it's literal definition... This is similar to how he treats the words "Space" and "Place" giving them a meaning beyond their practical definition. These definition can only be created with experience. Artwork has the power to change the definition of a word like that. By pairing a word with a piece of artwork -giving it a title- you change the idea of the piece and the definition of the word. For example, Colby brought up the urinal that an artist tried to show in a gallery and that he named it "Fountain". The definition of "fountain" has changed, and so has the idea of the urinal.

Another thing that piqued my interest was later on when he was discussing how infants learn the world around them. I wonder if an adult goes through the same process upon discovering a new "space" and through that process it becomes a "place". I'm sure you could compare the two. For example he pointed out how when you ask a younger child, "Where do you like to play" they answer simply, "Outside" or "Inside" and when you ask an older child they will get more specific, "in my room", "in the basement". I'm sure that adults act similarly to unfamiliar and familiar places.

For example someone could ask a St. Mary's student, "Where were you today?" and a first year might reply, "I was in the campus center." but after a couple of months they will most likely get more specific, "I was in the grille/quiznos/bookstore/cole cinema/etc."

And of course, last but not least, the vantage points. Along with where you are standing I feel this also has to do with everyone's personal experience. For example, I am short, my mother is tall. If I am standing in the backyard of the house she grew up in, I am not only seeing it from a different angle than her because I am physically different but I am EXPERIENCING it differently from her since she grew up there and I did not. It made me realize that everyone looks at a space/place differently. No two perspectives are the same.

Monday, November 1, 2010


For me what most stood out were the examples Tuan used to illustrate his points in the reading, “Place and Space.” I liked when Tuan was dissecting how each sense is used to orient our selves in our own concept of place and space. I found his example of how music can have a sense of space very interesting, because I’ve definitely noticed a huge surge in the amount of music with an abundance of artificial space in it. Bands purposefully cloak their guitars/synths/samples in tons of reverb to gain that feeling of space in their music. I also felt that Tuan’s point about our experience of place and space being personal was very well illustrated by the figure on page 13. Tuan shows the reader how gender can define how we locate our selves in a place. The Eskimo women use trading posts as landmarks while the men use the coast to define their position in the world. The third point that immediately jumped out at me from the page was when Tuan mentioned how when the physicists Bohr and Heisenberg visited the Kronberg Castle in Denmark their perception of the castle differed radically depending on if they considered it Hamlet’s castle. Tuan illustrates how our perception of place is incredibly dependent on what context we place the place in.

Space et Place

Tuan’s writing spent a lot of time focusing on individuals and their minds as opposed to places, which is the crux of his paper: place is nothing without the person. If a physically restrictive place is immediately discredited as a space in our minds, this seems to be because the place itself has an active and direct effect on us – the walls of a closet, for example, as opposed to wind on a vast tundra, which is a mere element of a place, and not the place itself, which in its size has acquired too many elements to be described as just the grass on the ground, or the wind in the air. Just as we use a mix of metaphors to describe tastes and smells, we use metaphors – usually subconsciously – to describe places and spaces. This allows a place, one we may not have ever visited or heard about, to affect us in an emotional and rational way, through comparisons between it and other places, or its elements and other objects in our lives. Tuan touched on the idea of vastness and recurring patterns in various places. At this point, it is interesting to think of “space” itself – that is, outer space, or areas of space at exponential levels that we don’t or can’t interact with fully on a personal level. When we think of the country as a whole, we may think of ourselves as a state or region within it; when we think of the world, we see ourselves as a country; when we think of a solar system, we see ourselves as Earth. We can’t envision a place unless we envision its relation to our self, whether or not we are representing our self with a symbol. Imaginative force lets us envision places that are much smaller – a hole in a tree, for example – as inhabitable and explorable. It is this creative and symbolic aspect of our mentality that essentially makes it impossible for any “space” to be devoid of meaning, or to be lacking any element of “place”. If place itself is a fabrication, then we can always place ourselves in our surroundings.


Please create your own separate ENTRY and POST your response to the readings by NOON on Monday November 1.

Space and Place

I enjoyed the reading for its symantic slanting on the difference between space and place. What became apparent was that space was in a way the actual, and place was what we have been led to interpret. The difference is that place is given character and and an egocentric purpose, while space is a simple area of existence.

It was interesting for him to include animals idea of place. What that made me think of was warthogs and thier bunkers. The behavioral differences illicited by a warthog when in the bunker and when away from one are incredibly. One place directs a warthog to be more aggressive, while the other does not.

As for his discusssion on an infants experience, he makes claims based of research that has recently been disputed. As for and infant not being able to "distinguish familiar to unfamiliar faces", hes is incorrect. This statement is a far different from claim then stating an infants distress when with a stranger. Further more, when drawing conclusions from infants drawings, he fails to encorporate the possiblity that the drawing may not be an actual measure of their capacities. Instead the drawing may reflect the inability to draw said concepts by simple artistic deficiency and not conceptual deficiency.

Space and Place

I was interested in the perception of space as mostly visual and conceptual. I was thinking about smell, and how it defines space or place to me, or for that matter how my other senses do, too. I nearly always associate smell with a certain place or a type of place, for example, there's a salty, brine smell that makes me think of the beach I always go to, or the smell of beer and chili that makes me think of my uncles' houses, or the different coffee smells that remind of coffee shops and gas stations and my kitchen. I think that I rarely associate smells with a sense of space. Perhaps I would with a mood, like the smell of flowers with a meadow or a garden. I still think this is relative to a place, just maybe less specific. Sound could very well denote space; a tiny, cramped room is loud, whereas outdoors sound is soft and ambient. Even a colorful, busy atmosphere could be described as "loud", while a muted, comfortable place could be "quiet." Places do not really seem to have a specific sound, it's more that the sounds in a place may change as it's used for different things. Place is a very specific, defined thing by an individual, whereas space is based upon feeling, and experience as Tuan discusses. "Seeing is a selective and creative process in which environmental stimuli are organized into structures that provide [meaning]." and I think his analysis is correct, because with sight, I consider myslef to be comfortable or uncomfortable in a good or unpleasant space. With my other senses, I find myself simply categorizing and defining spaces more acutely.

Space and Place

I thought it was interesting how there is a difference between the meanings of the words "space" and "place." Space is somewhere that has openess and freedom. A space only becomes a place after people have given meaning to it. A place is somewhere which has a sense of security or attachment for a particular person. This sense of place develops through experience. A person experiences something through the use of thier five senses.
One part I thought was really interesting was the difference between how a child views places, and how an adult views them. An adult can see an image of a place, and associate it with an emotion or sentimental memory. Children are generally very imaginative, so its fascinating that they do not see places in this way. This is because children have less of a past then adults, so they focus more on the present and future. Its interesting that adults imagine something, which children do not, about places. This imagining almost makes adults come across as being simular to children, just in thier own different way.

Space and Place

The section of Tuan’s book that struck me was the end of his “Experimental Perspective” chapter.  It is in this section that Tuan begins to explain how “places and objects define space” (17).  Additionally, Tuan explains, “An object or place achieves concrete reality when our experience of it is total” (18).  Therefore, since experience defines objects and place, and objects and place define space, experience helps to define space.  This concept, though confusing at first, becomes clear by the end of the chapter.  Though a person may “know” a place through pictures, movies, or stories, it may still “lack sharpness unless we can also it from the outside and reflect upon our experience” (18).  It is the experiences one has with a place or an object that makes it a unique space.  For example, senior year of high school I visited many colleges.  Through tours I was able to get a general vision of each college.  However, since I had to pick only one school, I view the other schools I visited “through the eyes as tourists, and from reading about it in a guidebook” (18).  It is my four years of experience at St. Mary’s that make this a unique space for me.  

Space & Place

While reading the early section about how a mere space can be emotionally charged to become a place, I was instantly reminded of a Hey Arnold! episode, Gerald Field. Arnold and company couldn't find a good place to play baseball and complained about how adults were never letting them have fun, etc. One day, Arnold and Gerald walked by an old, abandoned lot. It's practically a junkyard, but they saw a place in it, and recruited their friends to clean it up and turn it into a baseball field. It was an amazing transformation of a space into a place.

Tuan mentions that sound is a space. When I'm editing some audio, though my body is in my room or studio, my mind is in the space where that audio was recorded. If I personally recorded the files, then it becomes a place because I know how everyone was acting at the time, along with the location, time of day, etc. This changes how I work, but it's a bit hard to explain how exactly. Conversely, a place without sound feels unnatural and even creepy. Sometimes it can even be disorienting if you are able to hear in only one ear, if you were to stand right next to a soundproofing panel, for instance. One major example of a soundless place, though I can't remember the name, is a large, perfectly soundproof room with just a small catwalk so people can walk into the middle of the area. You can hear your heartbeat in your ears, and if someone faces away from you and talks, you can't hear them. There's a feeling of unease but also if intrigue, so this soundless space becomes a sort of place.

Space and Place

In this reading, it was interesting when Tuan explains how space and place relate to a child in chapter three. All people grow up with their own experiences and cultural influences, but the view of a infant and child is very different from that of an adult. Tuan explains that at birth, the nerve cells are barely developed and functional in the cerebral cortex, so an infant "has no world" (20). It cannot distinguish space or place or even itself. It responds to stimuli, but in a very simplistic manner. As the infant develops and gains more sensory experiences, it is able to somewhat feel space. It was also interesting to read about how a mobile and immobile baby differs. A mobile baby is able to explore space, though more vulnerable to dangers. Also, the crawling baby is aware of the cliff and somehow knows not to continue crawling when reaching this cliff point.

Tuan also explained how as a child ages and matures, it is able to understand perception, different view points, and feelings for places through their own experiences. Therefore, as adults, place acquires its meaning through our experiences and feelings we have obtained throughout our lives. We can cannot a scent, a feeling, a sound, a flavor, an object or something we recognize with our eyes to a place. We are able to associate certain characteristics and feelings to places. I liked how Tuan closed this chapter by saying " Young children, so imaginative in their own spheres of action, may look matter-of-factly on places that to adults are haunted by memories" (33). The mind of a child is so creative and full of fantasy, doesn't that make you want to go back in time to childhood?

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Space & Place

One of the most interested aspects of the reading was how place can become charged with meaning. One’s perception of a particular place can be dramatically altered by a significant event, or experience. Outlook and perspective can also significantly alter the way one interacts with space. One could look at a building, and notice the amount of hearth, or comfort he/she feels from that place. However, an architect may look at a building, break it down to its main components, thus interacting with the building in a completely different way. The objects within place or space can also dramatically change the space, and vice versa. If one looks at a piece of art in a gallery, he/she is more likely to take that piece of art seriously because of the connotation, and function of that particular space. Another aspect that I found interesting was the way one can physically interact with space. Muted senses, such as blurry vision can drastically alter our perception, and therefore, how we feel in/about a particular space. The negative and positive spaces of a space were also very interesting. While people seem to prefer places where there is enough room to move freely, if a room becomes to free it can be perceived as stark, and cold.

Space and Place

What struck me about the Space and Place book was the overall discussion between human interaction and space and place. Tuan says, “Space is experienced directly as having room in which to move” (12). However, space is not really just about an actual place or a denoted area, rather it is much more. Tuan develops his argument throughout the chapters how personal, human senses interact with places to give people their personal experience and meaning attached with a space and place. As humans, we all can have different interactions even with the same place. Throughout these sections, he marks the most important term or key as experience. I particularly liked the section that discussed a birds’ eye view from a human view. Birds, because of their physical location, point of site, have different experiences with space, than we do as humans.

Throughout this book, I was reminded of my Cultural Studies class. We discussed a theory about spatial text and how it is arbitrary. If a person has an interaction with a certain place or space, it is completely arbitrary because a different person can have a completely different experience, based on his or her personal senses and past experiences. The fact that a place is the same (doesn’t change for different people) but can create different meaning for people, amazes me. When we think about how we interact, as humans, with all of our senses, with our environment, it is amazing to consider how our individual differences shape our experiences in different places. For example, if we think about a place like the ARC, it could create different emotions for different people. An athlete may gain an excited feeling from the ARC, especially a basketball or volleyball player. However, if an athlete from a different sport (that does not use the ARC arena), may not get those same excited feelings. People how do not enjoy sporting events may get negative emotions when entering the ARC. Thus, though the ARC remains the same, it is different for all people, based on personal senses and past experiences.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Space and Place

One of the things that really stood out to me from the passages from Tuan's book was the idea that dead things/carrion act as a memento mori for adults and at the same time, have no effect on young children and animals. I thought this was an interesting idea, but I am not sure how much I agree with it. I think the smell of dead animals/rotting food is thought to be repulsive because they are things that are unusual, no one is really used to the sight of a dead animal or rotted food, it is unusual and people are unsure of how to handle those situations. I'm sure that some people are reminded of their own death through seeing dead animals, but it sounds sort of foolish to me to assume that people liken their own death to the death of an animal.
Another thing that I found interesting was how Tuan said that hearing could not be used to create a "spatially organized world." When thinking of this idea my mind immediately thinks of bats, who are blind or practically blind. Bats use hearing to pick up the sounds of their calls bouncing off of structures to organize themselves in their world. Of course it is a bit of a stretch to connect this to humans, but I think it is possible to use sound to help make a picture of the space around you.

Sunday, October 17, 2010


Create a separate POST FOR EACH GROUP and POST by NOON October 17, ok?


For project 02, our place was the ARC. Our group walked around the ARC to see what we had to work with, but we realized that there was not much we could use to make a work of art without getting in the way of those exercising. We thought of placing snacks and sodas from the vending machine around on the machines and rearranging the weights, but ended up creating our piece using people from the ARC.


This is the wall with the pictures of the five basketball players. Each person is striking their own pose and we thought it would be a great idea to juxtapose these 5 "macho" basketball players with 5 people (preferably of smaller stature) from the ARC.

We asked people that were working out to come pose for us. There were some rejections to our idea, but we managed to find women of smaller physique to come pose under these photographs for us. We also decided to find a guy similar to those guys in the picture as the centerpeice of our work.


For our project, we used people to create our work, so it was very temporary. As we looked for people to pose in our photographs, it was easiest to find the petite women running in the cardio room and we were able to find the male in the center in the weight room lifting. This photograph shows all five of our people lined up with the pictures. Each person copying the pose of each basketball player they are under. We purposely chose the more petite women so that it was a comical comparison of 5 of our tough basketball players and the 4 petite women. The guy in the middle was chosen also as a comparison to the women, because it is easier to see the comparison of a bigger guy in 3D rather than the photographs to the smaller women.

We often relate the gym and ARC to more masculine characteristics and the photographs of the basketball players in their tough poses do not help but support that idea. However, we found there were more women in the ARC at the time that we went. There were more women in the cardio and abs room and more males in the weight room. We find that juxtaposing the smaller women doing the same poses as the photographs as comical. It is due to the societal norms that it is strange and funny that women are acting tough and posing in manly stances.

Shoe Tree

When we were assigned the shoe tree as our site, at first we all thought our project we be a piece of cake. “This is easy. The site already has so much meaning,” we all thought. However, when we discussed how to approach dealing with the site, we soon realized that the shoe tree was actually quite difficult to deal with. There was already a sculpture there that had a huge amount of life and meaning. We couldn’t tamper with that. Instead, we needed to add to it, to expand the metaphor and meaning that was already there. So we thought about all the meanings with the tree. We discussed the long life of the tree, its connection to sex and new beginnings, its interactive role with the students, the sculpture’s ability to surpass time and generations, and the overall connection formed by putting all the shoes together in one place. Even though each pair of shoes tells a different story, they reflect the lives of the college and its students as a whole, past and present.

As we worked on our project, we began to emphasize the idea of connection between all students on campus whether they be male or female, or from the past or present. We bought long shoelaces and long white elastic bands, and tied them to old shoes that had fallen off the tree. Then, we threw the shoes back up and used them to connect the bands to the branches.

Then, we wrapped the bands around the center trunk of the tree, resulting in this branching out effect from the trunk. We connected each branch of shoes as one whole, uniting all the trees participants, and more metaphorically, uniting the sculptures meaning: life, interaction, sex, and new beginnings. From here we decided to expand on the ideas of people interacting with the tree, keeping the sculpture alive. We created cardboard footprints that we put on the trunk as if they were walking up the tree. We used cardboard from the Daily Grind to further reflect the fact that the tree represented the life of St. Mary’s.

Then, we created chalk footprints, some all the way from the dorms, some starting closer to the tree, and had them all walking towards the tree, showing its role as an interactive place, and showing its unity: all these different students came to the same place.

Finally, to really focus on the ideas that the metaphors stemmed from the whole tree, we took leaves and wrote words on them such as sex, love, life, and new and placed them at the little hole in the base of the trunk. We made it look like the leaves were spilling out to emphasize that these metaphors are so strong they literally pour out of the tree. We chose to write on the leaves because they age and change over time, just as the tree does as some shoes get old, and new ones are added.

As we finished in the late afternoon, the end effect was stunning. Our sculpture had made the tree evolve: it added to and emphasized the life that was already there. The shoe tree will always connect the students of St. Mary’s together and it will change, grow, and evolve just as they do.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Justin Bates Memorial

Danielle, Alex, Melody, and Caiti
Our place was the Justin Bates memorial. For our site specific artwork, we chose to write the words of the poem on the memorial with materials we found on-site. The materials especially lent meaning to the words "He has become one with nature," since even our representation of him was tied to nature. We decided to place all of the five lines in separate places, starting with the water next to the cross on the Point and ending at the entrance of the graveyard. The first line was in the water, and we moved across the beach, up the hill, and through the graveyard. Part of our intention was to mark the path that Justin would have walked down to the water, but in reverse. So much life passes through the graveyard, and by his memorial, that it felt appropriate to bring his words back up the path towards all of the life at St. Mary's. The full poem:
He is made one with nature: there is heard
His voice in all her music, from the moan
Of thunder to the song of night's sweet bird;
He is a presence to be felt and known
In darkness and in light, from herb and stone

Project_02: The Daily Grind

When our group thought about the grind, we thought about the feelings that go along with the environment. Because the grind (and the area in front of the campus center) is a walking area, we thought about the constant movement filled with people trying to get to their final destination. People walk by to get their mail, to the dining hall, to buy things at the campus center, or to go to the grind. Though it is filled with tables and chairs, there is a constant form of movement throughout the grind. However, because the grind is a coffee shop and because there are tables and chairs set up, there is an element to the grind that invites people to stay a while.

When creating our project we wanted to show both feelings of movement and tranquility. We wanted to express the juxtaposition of stationary and moving people. To show the movement we placed painted footprints along the walkway. At the end of the walkway, where the room separates, we put an enlarged coffee cup to show the elements of a coffee shop, where one stays and sits for some time. To attempt to slow people down we placed a quote on the “steam” of the coffee. We put a quote from Gandhi that says “There is more to life than increasing its speed.” We found this quote appropriate because it deals with the movement and speed that is gained both from the grind itself and the caffeine from the coffee.

The next day our project was gone, so we assume it was thrown out.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Friday, October 1, 2010

Artist Talk: Heather Harvey

The work of Heather Harvey is something that goes beyond sculpture, and art in general, it morphs the line of where inspiration and meaning start and where they end. The thing that jumped out to me about Heather Harvey’s talk was her belief that her work was composed up of a “fragile interweaving of ideas”; her work is open to our own interpretation and our own ideas. However, she was quick to point out that it is dangerous for any artist to not to try and convey their own meaning behind a work. She explained that failing to provide your own meaning will invite people to give a meaning that was the complete opposite intention of the artist’s.

The way that Harvey explained how she found meaning in her work was very interesting because she explained her work in terms of meaning as being similar to poetry. She explained that poets have an initial “trigger subject” that compels the poet to begin to write, however, the poet should allow the poem to grow and shift as necessary, without doing so will cause the poem to become stale, contrived, and boring. Harvey explained that it is this “shift” in subjects, the zone between what is known and unknown, that intrigues her and helps inspire her work.

Another interesting point that Harvey brought up in her talk was of how she saw her sculptures and the wall on which they are fixed to. She said that she sees the wall as meaning to be fluid and tangible, and her sculptures, these wire-like and amorphous protrusions, portray the wall as seeping into the environment that they enclose. Also, it was interesting, and a little bit unsettling, to hear her talk about her use of materials (wax and plaster) as having a connection to the human body, by representing bones and flesh. However, this was the best way to think about the pieces because they are coming off of the wall and into a human environment, so it would make sense to see these “forms” as containing elements of what makes up a human being.

Finally, I have to admit that it was really cool to see an artist who describes some of their work as being part sculpture and part drawing; this was a combination that I had never really thought possible before. But now that I have seen examples of Heather Harvey’s work, I can see how interesting and thought provoking just such a thing is. Her work, like she said, blurs the line of what we see and what we think we are seeing.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Monday, September 27, 2010

project 1: 4 examples of place as self

NOTE: My internet is not cooperating. I'm posting links, and I'll try to properly embed the images later.

To start furthest back chronologically, I find a connection to the luminist paintings of the Hudson River School, a collection of 19th century American artists who aspired to capture nature in all its honesty and beauty. The works of Heade, Church, and Cole have always piqued my interest, but I think this painting by Samuel Coleman best encapsulates what I love about 19th century American landscape painting:

This painting shows the revolution of the century - Industrialization. It was a common foe of the Hudson River School mentality. In this picture, I see a sense of loss at the intrusion of modern, smoke-emitting technology in an otherwise serene landscape, but there is also the excitement of advancement. In these four samples of art, technology and science play a recurring theme, because my mind has always tilted in that direction. I am curious not just about the world, but specifically mankind's place in it, and the push and pull between how we affect the world and how it inspires us.

Okay, this is a bit of a leap, both chronologically and... in terms of realism, obviously:

This is a screenshot from the videogame Myst. I purposefully chose a screenshot with crude graphics, as opposed to the more refined graphics of the later games in the series, to explain that this was the blocky and unrefined imaginary world I essentially grew up in. No screenshot could convey the experience of playing - though exploring and analysing would be more accurate terms - in this game, which is quite literally a place made entirely by man - with both naturalistic and manmade structures within it. First-person adventure games like those of the early Myst series demonstrate man's ability to fully transport ourselves through imagination and technology. In this way, we can fully imagine ourselves through places - we have the capability of fabricating imagined places of our own. I find that this idea can be applied far less literally all over the world.

(THIS IS WHERE I RAN OUT OF TIME AND I WILL EDIT THIS LATER. I'll be going on to talk about "Do You Realize" by the Flaming Lips and developmental art from Pixar, specifically the work of Lou Romano. Ciao! <3)



Margaret Muller Kempson, 2008

Margaret, aka “Molly,” is an artist from Charleston, South Carolina who currently resides in Gainesville, Florida.  She graduated from Agnes Scott College with a degree in studio art in 2009 and continues to make artwork wherever and whenever she can, lately focusing on staining and painting wood.  This is one of her screen prints.

I chose this piece because I resided in Atlanta for a short period of time, but while I was there I witnessed two separate tornadoes.  This is from the first one, and shortly after the picture was taken the second struck.  I remember seeing Cabbagetown, which is a small community just shy of downtown, the day after the first tornado and I remembered when I was a child growing up in Reisterstown, Maryland when our neighborhood was also struck by a tornado; the mental images I have are somewhat similar of these two places that are hundreds of miles apart.




Margaret Muller Kempson, 2009

This is the same artist as the first image.

Henryton is a very special place for me.  I grew up on the opposing side of the Patapsco River from Henryton and ever since I was a child, I was mystified and terrified at the same time by the abandoned institution.  1984 was the last time these buildings had seen any official business and by the time my friends and I began to explore the halls, it was 2002.  When we first arrived, we began spending every day exploring the buildings and there were only traces of human activity; a few shoes, a pillow, writing on the chalkboards that indicated the police had used it for training, etc.  By the time I had left for college, the place was nothing like what it used to be.  I returned after a few years at school only to discover that the theater had been burned down by arson and that was when it became painfully clear how time had worn down the place that I used to wander day and night with my friends.  This is an image of the Henryton Sanitorium after the fire had taken place.



 I have two songs to share because music is my favorite form of expression; however, since I can not post these I will bring them to class.



“Pompeii Mouth”

Esmeralda’s Eyes, 2009
Evan Chapman, Alex Jimeson, Mike Chappell

Esmeralda’s Eyes is a progressive rock trio from the Marriottsville, Maryland area and made their first debut at a talent show at Marriott’s Ridge High school back in 2008.  Shortly after, they started playing shows around Baltimore and saving up what little money they had earned.  After the summer ended, all their savings went straight towards studio time in Philadelphia with producer Justin Chapman to record a six track EP, and this song is from those studio sessions.

I chose this song because I know all of the people from this band and they are all good friends of mine.  I have grown up with some of them since the tender age of 6 and have explored Henryton with them and even played music with some of them and their older siblings over the years.  We all started playing music together and when I returned from Atlanta, they had just begun the process of writing their first songs.  I went to all of their shows and the music they played always corresponded to exactly what my friends and I were in search of.  This song is also a bit of an inside joke, so it holds a very special place in my heart.

“Mother and brother”

 Aaron Mirenzi, 2010

Aaron is a friend that I made here at school in the first few weeks of freshman year and we actually used to play music together back then.  However, we only garnish a few opportunities here and then to actually play together these days, and now Aaron has taken his music in his own direction and I believe this was the first recording he ever made.

This song has such a great feeling to it and I remember the first time that I saw Aaron perform this at a coffee house; I was blown away.  I had known that he was working on music and I definitely did not expect it to be bad, but I most certainly was not anticipating it to be this catchy and aloof even though I had heard Aaron play before (never a song he had finished writing, though).  He recorded this inside of the school’s library on the third floor and this song just makes me think of all the time that I have spent at this school growing into who I am today.

Project 01

Castle in the Sky

I love the sky and wind, and I always have, and there is an artist who shares the same appreciation for the sky, flying, and the wind as I, and that is the director Hayao Miyazaki. Miyazaki, most known for his movie Spirited Away, has had a fascination for the sky and flying his entire life, as he would doodle planes, zeppelins, and other flying machines his entire life, and even named his studio, Studio Ghibli, after the Ghibli, an Italian airplane model. His love for the sky and flying has definitely be reflected in his movies especially the movie this painting is from; Castle in the Sky. Though this picture has nothing to do with the actual storyline, I love this depiction of the sky, a woman (most likely a goddess) blowing the clouds along. I want to be that woman in the picture, overseeing the sky and blowing the clouds along. I love the wind; I love sailing and feeling the wind push you, even flying a kite is exciting to me. I have been utterly smitten by the sky and the wind. Even in third grade when we were all sharing what we wanted to be when we grew up, I didn’t say a teacher or a doctor, but I told the class that I wanted to be a witch, just so I could fly away on a broomstick. (Yeah, the class laughed at me…) I still wish that when a breeze rolls in, I can just lift right off the ground and go flying away with it.

Scotland the Brave - Song
When you said we needed to collect a piece of work concerning a place that is a part of us, bagpipes, fairies, and the Renaissance Festival were the first things that came to mind. Scotland the Brave, the unofficial Scottish national anthem, is one of the first things anyone thinks of when they think of Celtic, Scottish, and the Renaissance Festival. I can’t give much of a bio on it since the history of this song is very vague… Nonetheless, it represents everything I have been raised on; fairies, kilts, bagpipes, and other celtic folklore which was something I believe my entire childhood and even a little now even though I am an adult. I chose this specific rendition of it because it is played by my favorite band at the Renaissance Festival, thus this particular song holds a place in my heart and some of my favorite memories.


Unfortunately, I cannot recreate this piece (but I do have a picture) as it is a Landscape Garden, also known as a Zen Garden located in Kyoto, Japan. It was first created around 710 – 794 by the Zen Buddhist Gyoki, and has been maintained ever since. The garden has of course changed though, and more recently has been known as “the moss garden”. These gardens are in fact works of art that are carefully put together by Zen Buddhist designers with very careful planning and just as careful maintenance. They are meant to be an escape from the world humans have created and be one with nature. I would escape to such places, the woods behind my home for example, to feel one with nature. I completely understand the meaning behind Saiho-Ji (and other landscape gardens) and that is; nature is where we were all born from, what we are a part of during our lives, and where we go when we die... and we should never forget that, and it is easy to forget in our busy lives on the computer, on the bus, trains, at school and work... This is the philosophy which I have been raised by, which is why I have added Saiho-Ji to my list of places.

Searching for Fireflies
This is a picture taken by my mother, Elaine Reinhold, who was a professional photographer for a while but has just recently began to do it more for recreation than for a career. When we watched Sally Mann, it reminded me much of my own mother as we have many pictures that are similar to Mann’s children. Just as her children would stop and pose, I too have gotten used to stopping and posing whatever I might be doing. This picture is one of my sister, Madeline Reinhold, walking down the street of my hometown, Frederick. This picture is very haunting to me as my mother took it and uploaded it a few days after I moved out for college. The dark lighting, my sister walking away from me, it’s as if this picture is symbolic of the life I once knew saying goodbye. Goodbye Frederick…


Untitled (The Red Room), by William Eggleston is probably my favorite image of all time. Eggleston was an artist who worked outside the artistically accepted medium of the time, (black and white photography) and instead chose to work in color, a medium reserved for commercial work. What I find most powerful about The Red Room is the sense of menace that emanates from the picture. I first saw it at the William Eggleston exhibition in the Corcoran, and to view it on a computer screen really does not do it justice.

McLean, Virginia by Joel Sternfeld is an image that continually manages to stun me. What might not be apparent from first viewing is that Sternfeld uses an 8 x 10 camera, a camera that takes upwards of 5 minutes to set up and focus. It is large and unwieldy, and yet somehow Sternfeld manages to take a perfect snapshot-esque picture. This is also a direct inspiration for me, because I am currently trying to work in large format color photography. However as I am finding out, the money factor practically discourages people from taking photographs like this.

The first photograph I chose for my Place as Self is Steer, Slaughterhouse, Amarillo, by Richard Avedon, from his book In the American West. I first took notice of this image about 2 years ago when my photography teacher left out the book and I was scanning through it. To put it simply this image stayed with me because it was way hardcore. I’m definitely drawn to things that explore themes of death.

The next source I chose is the visual aesthetic of the band Salem. Although they could hardly be considered influential aurally, the way they present themselves, and their image, is something numerous bands have hijacked. Salem combines disparate elements of black metal, hip hop, and white trash culture to come up with something entirely new. In a way Salem is a post-modern reinterpretation of the goth culture that first arose with bands like Joy Division and The Cure. Salem is quite similar to Steer by Avedon in that their aesthetic is formulated around the various concepts of death.

Another picture that I chose as a source for my Place as Self project is the Market Woman of Rissani, by Irving Penn. In a way this picture ties back to Salem and Steer by Avedon, in that it’s an exploration of darker themes. To me the women appear as a trio of shades, emulating the fates of Greek mythos. Irving Penn’s style of strict formalism has appealed to me, ever since my aunt gave my sister a book of fashion photography. Like a child sneaking candy, I would take the book from my sister’s room and gaze at the pictures taken by Avedon and Penn, and admire their strict still-lives.

Project 01: Sources

These first two pieces are by John Frederick Kensett. John Frederick Kensett was a 19th century landscape painter. He lived from 1816 to 1872.

This painting is named Sunset and it was made in 1872. When I saw this it made me feel like I was on a Caribbean cruise. The image is so calm and tranquil. It’s quite simple and plain, yet stunningly beautiful. The power that comes from the image’s simplicity amazes me. Also, sunsets have always been a place for me to think. It’s like they are the connection between reality and a dream world. Whenever I view a sunset I get lost in it, temporarily entranced in its beauty. I become something else like a placid lake or a cool breeze summer breeze. I am calm, at peace. In those few moments of bliss I forget that I have a body. I forget that ultimately, I’m firmly grounded on the Earth, in reality.

This painting is named Lake George and it was made in 1869. This particular image reminded me of the ski vacations that I had with my family every year. I was always awed by the majesty and curves of the mountain. The rugged, rough landscape both entranced and excited me. This painting brought me a quite different reaction that the sunset one. Even though it is tranquil, to me it is full of the energy that I experienced every time we drove up the mountains to the ski resort; the energy of looking out from the top of the mountain right before whipping my way down the slopes; the energy of feeling free as I viewed so far into the distance. The painting is the calm right before the storm, the tranquility right before the explosion.

Shadow of the Day by Linkin Park

My next piece is actually a song by Linkin Park called Shadow of the Day. Linkin Park is an American Rock Band. They formed in 1996 and have been making music ever since. Shadow of the Day was released in 2007.

I think the nature/sunset theme is beginning to become obvious. In the chorus of the song they say the words “And the shadow of the day, will embrace the world in grey. And the sun will set for you.” I take this phrase as bittersweet. The song is so beautiful and melodious, yet the lyrics are somewhat melancholy. Again, this reminded me of the state between dreams and reality, where reality begins to slip away and the world temporarily feels like a completely different place. It’s an escape. When they day wasn’t that great I just looked at the sunset and was taken away. As it set I became rejuvenated, a new person, ready to take on another day. The sun did set for me. It still does.

My last piece is actually Fallingwater made by Frank Lloyd Wright. Frank Lloyd Wright lived from 1867 to 1959. He was a great architect as well as a worshipper of nature. He created over a thousand art pieces in his lifetime. In Fallingwater, he flawlessly combined nature and architecture into one being. He Nature became part of the piece, and the piece part of it. In my life, nature represents many sides of me as well as being my source of inspiration. I can’t live without it. I notice the trees, the water, the air. Even my bedroom is made to look like it is outside with its Hawaiian theme. In my life, one flows into the other just as nature flows into over and around the house.