Monday, November 26, 2012

Beautiful things

Hello all!

I am thankful for beautiful things - especially photography!
I'm a big fan of the work of Jack Perno, who also happens to be a family friend.
He pioneered the emulsion technique for polaroid photography and used me as a model a few times.
Check it out!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Audience Decisions-post from my class blog

From Today, Thylias showed us a presentation she created where many different mediums were layered on top of one another and many different scenes were presented at once, in order to give the audience the freedom to decide where to direct their attention. This choice and freedom of choice is very interesting to me, and I think it would be fascinating to create a similar presentation and then survey the audience to see if there were any trends towards preferences. Because we are nearing the end of the semester and I am concentrating a lot on the progress of my final project, I am wondering if there is any way I can incorporate this audience decision onto my project. Unfortunately, I am thinking that books are a much more difficult medium to accomplish this. And even if I do incorporate sounds and pictures into my iBook, I think my specific project and exploration would not benefit as much initially from a similar presentation. Perhaps that would be something to think about continuing past the limitations of this semester.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Staring in Wonder

I have begun collecting photographs that help to demonstrate the way people experience the world--photos from blind photographers, as well as photos OF people experiencing the physical world. 

I was reading an article about Steve Jobs earlier today, as the author explored his thoughts on the accessibility of information online--he writes: "'I have given it all away': all our numbers, all our details, all our quirks and secrets and searches, and even our dreams, and we will stand naked. The computer that allowed us to stare in wonder at the world has allowed the world to stare pitilessly back at us." I want to explore this concept of "staring in wonder"...I'm still thinking. 

Thoughts about how to explore this?

Forked - a brief essay written before the second cup of coffee

I sit at the table with my date. I am drenched in sweat and ready to start screaming. It's not the company. Oh no, she seems pleasant enough. Middle aged, attractive, intelligent, and a 50/50 shot to offer to go dutch on the meal. No, it's not her. It's the forks. My place setting alone has four of them, intended for various uses. My date has a set. And the waiter, damn him, did not remove the other place settings, so there are forks there as well. The condiments jars with various foods soaking in oils and vinegars all have forks- tiny ones, yes, but still deadly.. I try to concentrate on her face but lose focus, and my eyes drift. But all the tables have forks as well and dear god, there are a lot of tables. It's an endless sea, with countless forks. Some are being used. The redhead with too much lipstick to the left of my date keeps catching my eye and she's putting her fork in her mouth, scraping the tines across her rather large teeth. She seems to be taking delight in my discomfiture. And then the moment. Somewhere, in the far corner of the restaurant, a fork vibrates. Maybe it was from a passing truck or the subway rumbling underneath the restaurant. No matter the cause, the vibration is picked up by adjacent forks, and they too begin to resonate, and it spreads like wildfire. The different forks resonate at various frequencies, a Ring Cycle gone mad. The vibrations gather momentum, a tsunami of metallic ringing that grows to monstrous proportion as it hurtles toward our table. The redhead smiles and pulls the fork from her mouth, lipstick smearing on it as it draws across her lips, and the taps it on her wine glass, the maestro conducting the horror. The wave washes across me. I am drowning. Dark spots swim before my eyes. I feel myself tottering on my chair, but summoning every gram of energy in my body, I struggle against the wave and manage to hang on. The wave passes, and my head pokes above water. Forks are strewn across the restaurant. The wait staff and patrons seem remarkably unconcerned. My date stares at me. "Are you okay? You look like you just saw a ghost. Are you having a heart attack?" I smile weakly, and making it look like an accident, sweep my forks off the table with my elbow. A waiter swoops in. "I am sorry, sir, let me bring you some clean forks." I shake my head no. "If you don't mind, I'd rather you bring me some chopsticks. And a double bourbon on the rocks please." He rushes off. I am better now. My personal space is clear of forks. I am safe. I look at my date. "Now, what was that about the time you hiked that mountain in New Zealand?" SZ 11/12/12 9:16am time for more coffee

Monday, November 5, 2012

shift, forks, tines, tangents

After happening upon the work of Angela Palmer,  a sculptor and video artist, a series of events has led me to shift my project's form (sort of) slightly. The body of Palmer's work involves the intricate mapping of MRI and CT scans using multiple layered sheets of glass. Her artist statement reads, "I have always loved maps. The process of investigating and visualizing topographies, natural forms and landscapes, and then producing them in a form which captures their essence is endlessly fascinating and satisfying." This eerily, magically correlates with my thought process and concepts discussed in our course readings.

I realized my project should illustrate both the connectedness and layered nature of my own process and thought.

Some more browsing and I stumble upon an article about Doug Aitken's Sleepwalkers, entitled Crossing the boundaries of the cinematic screenI was attracted to the article's emphasis of "intertextual, intermedial and intercultural references." Video installation artist Aitken uses multiple projections and screens to "animate" the installation space, in this case, specifically the walls of the MoMa. The idea of primarily interacting with a space, rather than an audience, appeals to my frequent desire to be an artist, rather than just a designer. Video installations utilizing multiple screens effect simultaneity, often an intentional confusion that is essential to the experience. Whispers of Limited Fork Theory can be heard in the article: "Instead of presenting a continuous narrative, Aitkin focuses on the common threads of existence that connect the workers despite their divergent lifestyles."

Similar to the events in my head, these concurrent projections successfully communicate a "bigger picture" fragmented. Perhaps, instead of aiming to force the viewer, or experiencer, into recognizing a specific message, my perspective, or my intention, I can create an immersive environment that allows them a choice. I'm at odds, in general, about the notion of intention. I'd much rather linger in expression, even if it is unintelligible, or uncommunicable.

Thus, I've decided to translate my project into a video installation.

The form isn't all too foreign to me. Last fall semester, I took Cynthia Pachikara's course on video installation and completely fell in love with it. The projects were all collaborative, except for the final, so I'm interested in seeing how far I can get without an explicitly collaborative system. It may be good for me to externally think and work since living in one's head isn't always pleasant. Although we discussed the use of multiple projections, I never had the chance to try my hand at it. I'm hoping to use this project as an opportunity to experiment with different projections and screens, as well as explore modes of interference (recall an earlier blog post on glitchr art).

In the meantime, I've been reading Maeve Connolly's Place of Artists Cinema: Space, Site, and Screen. This shift in form creates some new questions: What is the difference between interactive art and art that necessitates an active "viewer," or participant? Which am I more concerned with? Do I want to maintain a distinction between projection and the actual space, or emphasize the seams? Will I transcend the flatness of a monitor and successfully create tangible space? How can I facilitate the activation of space? If I had all the time in the multiverse, I would fully pursue something like the Khronos Project.

Project Time

I have recently changed my project quite a bit. Before I was working on ideas for a children's book for adults and an adult book for kids. However, after much thought and consideration, I realized that those ideas were too finite. I wanted something that could be continually altered and added to, which also had an element of interactivity. My new project idea fits those parameters (which are really non-parameters) perfectly. I am working on the content for a website to be built in iWeb, that will allow the viewer to determine his or her own path. My inspiration for this ranges from limited fork theory to cootie catchers, and the content will draw from a wide variety of sources-including some of the poetry we have read for this course. I have not yet decided whether or not the viewer will have the opportunity to go back at times, but I would like them to mostly be pressing forward into the depths of the site. The site will include a variety of media, research for which I will be working on today. Additionally, the prompts to the viewer will have dual (or even triple or quadruple) meanings, which will be up to the viewer to read into (or not). For example, if one chooses to make the site darker, the content might be of a "darker" nature. Or, if the options are different shapes, one's choice will correspond not only to visuals, but perhaps also to the shape of a sound wave. Preferences will be grounded in research to present to the viewer something crafted for their particular mood or tastes without them explicitly realizing it. For example, someone interested in bright, vibrant colors might generate a page that includes louder, faster-paced, or more upbeat content. I want each page to have a central focus, and be pretty simple. The website will be more of a game, rather than having a practical purpose. Any suggestions or thoughts would be greatly appreciated!

Trees and Doctor Who

Ch-ch-check it out!


A beautiful Video

This video is a film of the redwoods in California. These trees are hundreds of years old, and this video kind of follows their lives from the beginning of the forest through a poem. 

"It was very quiet all the time because the trees needed to focus on their lives"
This is my favorite line in the video. I think that trees are so much more powerful and thoughtful than humans. I know that they don't have brains, but they have to have some sort of spirit that causes them to stretch their branches out in the way that they do, and to choose how their leaves will fall and grow. I think that these decisions just aren't made as quickly as humans change, because trees are so still. But really they are growing. They are always growing, and they never stop growing, and that's why trees are awesome. 

On Trees

Talking about trees in class brought of many thoughts and memories in my mind. It is hard not to love and appreciate trees. For their humbleness, patience and overall grand appearance. They are deep and rooted in every sense of the word. However, something else that we talked about in class sprung another idea. The idea that we can change our minds as we please and that we should. I think the same is often true for trees because they can change direction and alter the course of their existence. It is almost as if trees have a mind of their own. I am glad we talked about trees in class today because it made me think about one tree I planted when I was little and how fulfilling and thought provoking it is when I go back to see it. Signing off. Thank you!


Trees remind me of a lot of things. First, I think of my Mom. She loves trees and has certain trees that are "hers." The tree on the corner of our street is very old and tall, and in the fall it always promises vivid oranges and reds. This brings to question location: my relationship with trees, as someone from the East coast is probably much different than someone from California's relationship with trees. I look forward to and celebrate their changes. I also love when they become a frosted white in the winter.

In high school I was involved with an environmental organization on campus that has been around for many years. We have our own farm within a stone's throw from campus called "Paddock Farm." All of the trees that grow there were planted by members of the EAC and we have our club traditions upon picking their apples, and adding to the collection of trees. During my junior year of high school, threats were made to tear down this farm and build in it's place a golf course. This was an emotional time for our group and to the years of history and memories that filled Paddock Farm. We fought back, sending letters to newspapers and funders of the golf course. Ultimately it was decided that the environmental damage of the golf course would not only be detrimental to Paddock Farm, but also to the town as a whole, as pesticides from the golf course would be distributed everywhere in rain run-off. I still go back to visit Paddock Farm with my friends and we love to check on the trees we planted as they progress through their childhoods.

Progress on Physicality

In prepping for my project, I have begun to think about what my iBook would look like, and in doing so, have arrived at an interesting realization. The comparison that I hoped to create--between experiencing the world through the physical realm versus the technological realm--is one that cannot necessarily be represented on a digital format. In showing a physical experience within the structure of an iBook, I essentially reproduce that physical experience in a digital form--increasing the difficulty of translation of physicality. Which then draws me to an interesting conclusion--that we cannot evoke a physical experience digitally, which increases the gap between what we can share among these two worlds of knowledge. What does it mean to climb a tree in the physical realm? What does it mean to climb a tree in the digital realm? How does either make progress toward our acquisition of information?  Excuse my tendencies as I think, or type, out loud. How much knowledge can we gain about the world in sharing experiences, both in conversation and in proximity, with respect to the amount of knowledge we can gain by the retelling of stories and experiences through digital mediums?

To me, there is power in conversation--in body language, in tone, in responsiveness--that allows us to generate more feelings crucial to our perception of this world. To me, there is power in touching--in climbing trees, experiencing nature, feeling the vibrations of live music--that allow me to explore what this world is capable of.

It is here that I begin my progress on my project and my authorship of the iBook as my project--comparing how we experience things and gain knowledge by taking the channel I use into account. That the reader of my project is essentially gaining knowledge about my thoughts through the technological realm, and not the physical realm. That my argument essentially contradicts itself through its ability to only be relayed and understood through the readers experience with the digital world. It is also here that I can work with Helen Keller's words in tandem with my thoughts.

"Anatomy Atlases"

Click on the links to see cross sections of the male and female human body! A perfect mix of disgusting and fascinating.

Old Trees

I highly recommend that you read this:

--useful to emerging understandings about forks!

Should be both useful and delightful!  Enjoy!