Thursday, January 31, 2013

bad experiences and the good side.

Yesterday in Acting class we were watching a documentary on the Group Theatre.  The Group Theatre was an ensemble theatre group that was formed during the early 1930s and had many famous figures we now recognize as Gods in the theatre world.

In the video they were talking about how Lea Strasberg adopted Stanislavski's method of using one's own personal emotional experiences to trigger emotional responses in a piece of theatre.  As you can imagine the process is not quite fun because it requires digging up emotional memories that you'd rather not revisit and using it for your work.

Although this is hard to do, it works.  I've had instances where I would be doing a monologue or a piece of theatre and thought I was doing it well.  Then I have revisited those pieces and ironically had gone through similar situations that the pieces were about.  When I performed them again they were completely different and yet so much easier and real. I now knew what I was talking about.

As an actor, your most horrible, hurtful experiences are probably your most useful in  your work.  Experience like falling in love, getting hurt, losing a loved one, etc.  But this also goes for everyone in the world, our most horrible experiences are usually the ones where we become better people.  We may become stronger, we may become happier, we may be able to let go, we may be able to open up, we may become smarter, we may not be afraid anymore.

I don't really know why this crossed my mind, but it did.  I guess our bad experiences, along with the good (of course) make us who we are, they let us know we are human, and most importantly they remind us to feel and experience emotion and that is a wonderful thing.

Rest...

My voice teacher said something great in my voice class today, she almost always says something of great significance every class, but this I had to share.

She said that often times the great ideas don't come to us at our most stimulated moments, they often come to us when we are at our moments of rest. Our minds are free to wander and are usually more open to those ideas that are trying to enter. We get so consumed with school, work, art, theatre, writing, essays, projects, Facebook, television, blah, blah, blah! We often forget what it feels like to just slow down and do nothing for a little while.

So I am going to go take a nap, probably daydream before that, and then dream some more after that, and who knows, I may receive a rich idea that I otherwise wouldn't have gotten...

Video that reminded me of "If Men Could Menstruate"

http://nymag.com/thecut/2013/01/brilliant-birth-control-on-the-bottom-yogurt.html

The Birth Control video that we watched in class today! Enjoy! :)

Art is Art!!!!!!!

Can't find the exact quote. I agree with Joseph Kosuth's statement 'Art is Art' in 'Art After Philosophy'  (1969). If it is intended to be art it is art no matter how arguable "aesthetically pleasing" it is.

Precious images, sounds, touches...


Thylias started talking again about deficits that people have, and if somebody can't see, hear, feel, etc., then how do they perceive your work??

This got me thinking even more about this Precious Images idea, but perhaps a way in which I can create a book so that more than one sense is used...

I got this image in my head of my own precious images on a screen in the center of a room, the images are on a loop. Playing on a speaker so that it fills up the whole room are my own precious sounds that are so integrated into the room that if you close your eyes you can not only hear them, but you can feel them. And then in the room hanging from the ceiling are different precious things of mine that as you move through the room the things at the front of the room represent my childhood and the things towards the back represent where I am now. 

I don't know if I could actually do this or if this would be the final idea, but this was the first vision I got in my head and I have been thinking about this "images, sounds, touches" thing since the first day of class...I want to pursue this further...

A Precious Image

This is one of my Precious Images...

Me, my brother Braxton, and my sister Faith


Precious Images


This is the link to the film Precious Images by Chuck Workman

http://onlineshortfilms.net/watch/precious-images-video_f50b4ad1f.html

I'm not going to try to describe this short film, or explain what it is or what it is meant to be, because it means something very different to me than it may mean to any of you.

When I watch this film, it fills me up with emotion and love and happiness and desire... As an actor, seeing clips of these films and actors, these classics and legends, gives me a sort of hope...

Casablanca. Streetcar Named Desire. Lady and the Tramp. Barbara Streisand. Miss Piggy. Tom Hanks. Meryl Streep. Planet of the Apes. Rambo. Terminator. Scarface. Al Pacino. The Sound of Music. Julie Andrews. Singing in the Rain. Cabaret. The King and I. The Blues brothers. Shirley Temple. Mary Poppins. Flash Dance. John Travolta. Judy Garland. West Side Story. Psycho. Ghost Busters. Star Wars. Superman. Godzilla. Mickey Mouse. King Kong. Phantom of the Opera. The Shining. Clockwork Orange. Malcolm Mcdowell. Dracula. Who Framed Roger Rabbit. Merilyn Monroe. Audrey Hepburn. 10. Tom Cruise. Eddie Murphey. Breakfast at Tiffany's. Morgan Freeman. Robert Deniro. Jack Nicholson. The Graduate. Marlon Brando. Elizabeth Taylor. E.T. The Wizard of OZ. 

Not all of the clips in the film obviously, but these are some of the ones that I can make out at first glance. The clips go by so fast and overwhelm me to a point where all I can do it smile!

This film is certainly a form of book, and a book that can be read differently depending on who is reading it. To me these films have lasted and these actors have been idolized for a reason...to you it may not make sense or say something completely different, and that is not wrong, that is just what you see.

Perhaps I could make a video book like this...combining my own "precious images" to tell the story that I want to tell...I don't know yet what these "precious images" of mine are...I think they could be a combination of many things to still be determined...but I love this idea of PRECIOUS IMAGES...an image can hold so much feeling and memory and emotion, and to create a book that tells the story of something so precious to me and my heart using images that are also precious might be something I really want to pursue...

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Found it!

Going back to our tuesday discussion on societal norms/ America and sex, this is the excerpt I was thinking of from The Trouble With Normal by Michael Warner that addresses the weird paradox we have of being both obsessed and disgusted with sex:

Societal Weeds of the Seapunk Movement

For any gardener, the battle against weeds is an unending strife. One aims to cultivate beautiful flowers and shrubs in which they intend to plant. The gardener chooses the plants, their locations, their sizes, and ultimately their fate existing in the garden. In order for these hand-selected plants to prosper, the unwanted flora must be eradicated. The weeds of the garden must be pulled to ensure the fulfillment of the gardener’s vision. So much time and maintenance must go into the care of the cultivated plants, yet one struggles to kill weeds. They sprout up naturally and can thrive, despite any work of the gardener to trim them back. Weeds are always around and, from what I can project, always will be. Adamant and numerous, these unwanted plants can easily overpower cultivated material and invade and conquer an entire garden. While the gardener attempts to trim them back or douse them in chemicals to drown their lives, weeds take on an almost immortal state. Roots can crawl deep and wide, making the process of regrowth increasingly powerful. Mass quantities of weeds become overpowering to the imperialistic gardener. They persist. As illustrated by Thylias Moss in “Tarsenna’s Defiance Garden in which I Love to Spit, ” these weeds form a garden of defiance.
Are societal movements no different? Moss introduces an interesting thought about race and other targeted identity groups in society. Certain types of people are unwanted in specific regions. In some gardens, they are weeds. However, amassing larger enough numbers or being resilient enough, a weed may survive and prosper despite the overseeing power. Many great social changes came about through weed uprising. In a sense, many styles and fashions–art forms of all kinds–stemmed from a simple weed. They started out as an ‘other’–an alternative or deviant clashing of ideas–and rose to amass a following. Sometimes these movements involve a way of life or challenge a predisposed thought. With many weeds sprouting every day, it is difficult to judge which ones will persist–as is the case of any form of life, plant or otherwise. Currently, an alternative style of fashion and music has risen. Seapunk is still in the developing and young weed state, but it may (as anything) rise to a state of longevity. It is currently a sub-genre of electric music and a fashion/design trend with an emphasis on nautical themes. Using its resources as a weed, it began rising through pop culture via social media. As it is consistently being linked and shared across the Internet, it is becoming a niche style trend with a cult following.
Although strange, it is an interesting case of weed-like growth. Like any fashion trend, the roots of its acceptance are unknown and likely impossible to understand. In some regards, it has been said to support environmental awareness and sustainability, with specific interest in marine life. However, despite the cause behind this trend, it is somewhat prospering. It has an active presence on Twitter (#SEAPUNK), as this social media outlet was one of its top means of growth, and a widely extensive collection of photos and sub-pages under Google’s search. The style, as far as fashion goes, involves a heavy use of sea-like colors–blue, turquoise, teal, aquamarine, etc–in contrasting and vibrant mash-ups. Clothing can involve a variety of graphic designs which incorporate dolphins, anchors, waves, and any other oceanic pictures. Some individuals dye their hair varying shades of blue and green. In addition to these themes, there is a huge reliance on mashups from varying forms of pop culture. Numerous references to the 90s are common. It is quite out of the blue, for as far as a style goes, but it is a representative rendition of how society construes fashion.
  
 In addition to the fashion, the aspects of design and music are also worthwhile to explore. While the music doesn’t particularly scream ‘nautical’ to me, as it is not a remixed rendition of SpongeBob SquarePants, I would suggest it is simply another quirk–another stem from this societal weed culture. Arguing the environment awareness cause present for the Seapunk movement, the music could potentially incorporate defense for marine environments through the lyrics. Regardless of the purpose, the pure existence of this movement is what makes it important. With such a presence of social media in the world today, any niche, any idea, can be expanded and shared with others of similar interest. The so-called ‘weeds’ of society–the outliers, the alternative idea people–can form a solid relation and maintain a presence. This is not only the case with fashion and music, but, as illustrated by Moss, a means to an uprising and prospering of targeted identities. Let the weeds grow. Support #seapunk.

Repost from my own blog... Just wanted to share my thoughts with everyone


This meme serves as an excellent companion to the Gloria Steinem article that Thylias emailed to us. In "If Men Could Menstruate," Steinem argues that no matter what, traits and qualities of the dominant group in society will be case in a positive light, and traits and qualities of the oppressed group in society will be viewed negatively. To illustrate this idea, she gives us a hypothetical scenario: what if men were the ones who had periods, and not women?

As it stands currently, of course, women have periods, and men do not. Today, women's periods are viewed as disgusting, shameful, and disabling. Women are said to be weaker and more emotionally troubled while on their periods. In short, periods in women are seen as negative, as indicated in this meme, which posits that, since the "speaker" or meme creator is male, he doesn't have periods, and is therefore lucky (the meme, by the way, is called "Success Kid," so positive things happen to the baby in it).

However, what if men had periods? Would the meme look like this?


Gloria Steinem seems to think the answer is yes, and I would have to agree.

(Here is a link to the article, if you haven't already read it: "If Men Could Menstruate," Gloria Steinem.)

An Inspirational Video! :)

I posted this video on my blog, but for those of you who have not looked at my blog I am posting it here as well. I think that it is a very adorable, fun, and inspirational video. It also reminds me of what we were talking about in class on Tuesday- "What is a weed?" I think that this child is trying to tell all of us to STAND OUT! :) Enjoy watching!


Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Kids Hating Vegetables

Hey guys, I couldn't find the exact article I remember reading, but I found a few sources that I am posting. They relate to what I was saying about some vegetables having low levels of toxins so kids may not naturally want to eat them:

http://articles.latimes.com/2007/feb/19/health/he-eat19

"Whatever version of TAS2R38 someone has, it's true to say that many people, young and old, don't like vegetables. In evolutionary terms, that makes some sense. Plants produce natural bitter pesticides to protect themselves from being eaten, and sometimes these substances are toxic. No wonder humans have evolved to instinctively avoid very bitter foods. Luckily, the amounts of these natural toxins found in fruits and vegetables aren't harmful to us. (We're considerably larger than the average garden pest, after all.)"

and also this video,


http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/body/science-picky-eaters.html


Hope these help those who were interested!
http://www.tonyoursler.com/
This has a lot to do with books, and is sweet! Check it out:)

http://www.paintedbuntingbooks.com/pulpdiction.html

Alex and Alex

First day in "Making Books."  Switched into this class from Life Drawing, which couldn't have been more boring.  The thought of using an outline tool to draw things properly in perspective was just plain annoying.  I don't care much for drawing a tea kettle, a purse, or a car in a certain perspective.  The concept of drawing or doing any type art while using restrictions is like an oxymoron to me, and quite frankly really annoying!!!!

Thylias told me this class is about a journey, a journey of my life.  It of course has already started and will continue on after this class, but during this class I get to document the next 3 months of my life journey and hopefully continue on after this class. I have a few ideas on my final project.

 I thinking of doing a "book" about me and my best friend from home who now goes to NYU who is an acting major as well.  We have been friends since we were five. But as many people know as you get older, go to college, meet new people, experience new things, we change and the changes are evident when we go home.  Her name is also Alex. Don't get me wrong we both know we are changing and we still love each other just as much and can go a semester without talking and see each other at home and it's like nothing has changed.  She is one of the good ones.  She's is the type of friend that makes you say that's a good one, that's a friend for life.  Recently, she has been dealing with many personal issues and has fallen into some what of a depression and crisis.  She's very different now,  but I love her all the same.  I am thinking of doing this project as a sort of tribute to her, while telling our story because I think what we have is rare, a sort of miracle.  Doesn't seem like a miracle, but it is to me.  To find someone who understands you more than you may sometimes like, who is the first person you want to tell something good or bad too. Someone who is literally a part of your family or is your family, someone who excepts you for who your are, but at the same time supports you and pushes you to do better, someone who you can go a long time without seeing, but still remain the best of friends.  She is one of the most important people in my life, and recently she is always on my mind because I am worried about her, so as of now our journey Alex and Alex is a big part of my journey.

Look, its Beautiful.


"to explain grace requires a curious hand":Poetry, like creating anything at all (reaching into unknown places):


Poetry

I, too, dislike it: there are things that are important beyond all
this fiddle.
Reading it, however, with a perfect contempt for it, one
discovers in
it after all, a place for the genuine.
Hands that can grasp, eyes
that can dilate, hair that can rise
if it must, these things are important not because a

high-sounding interpretation can be put upon them but because
they are
useful. When they become so derivative as to become
unintelligible,
the same thing may be said for all of us, that we
do not admire what
we cannot understand: the bat
holding on upside down or in quest of something to

eat, elephants pushing, a wild horse taking a roll, a tireless wolf
under
a tree, the immovable critic twitching his skin like a horse that
feels a
flea, the base-
ball fan, the statistician--
nor is it valid
to discriminate against 'business documents and

school-books'; all these phenomena are important. One must
make a distinction
however: when dragged into prominence by half poets, the
result is not poetry,
nor till the poets among us can be
'literalists of
the imagination'--above
insolence and triviality and can present

for inspection, 'imaginary gardens with real toads in them', shall
we have
it. In the meantime, if you demand on the one hand,
the raw material of poetry in
all its rawness and
that which is on the other hand
genuine, you are interested in poetry. 

Monday, January 28, 2013

Shadows of Bound Literature

I retroactively post these pictures to document a shadow. The advent of a journey has already commenced and this is what we have left behind so far.

 



I have some new posts on my blog! Check them out!! http://jessemylescarmen.blogspot.com/ :)

Sunday, January 27, 2013

My $100 View on 100 Observatory Street

This is the view outside my window:


I observe the Observatory and it observes me. I often find myself standing before the window and questioning why I was given such a view. It is inspirational to me on so many levels. Perched upon a small hill, existing between residence halls and medical buildings, surrounded by a handful of tall pines, its glowing white dome hovers in the foreground of the sky. It can view so much, for so far, and I am on the same level of it. Not only can it observe most of the city, but it has a window to the heavens. It can view constellations and comets and suns and planets and moons and all the wonders hidden in the inky blackness of the universe. So much can be seen from just a humble observatory. Perhaps it gives me too much inspiration? A room with a perfect view leaves little to the imagination in the realm of empowerment. If my view were to be of a white-washed brick wall, it would be much harder to find inspiration. However, when I eventually find it hidden in a crack or a small vine crawling up its side, that inspiration is all the more powerful. With such a plentiful supply of colors on this canvas of empowerment, I fear the inability to pull magic from a blank slate. As as result, I look a gift horse in the mouth:


I hope this one day never comes. With so much potential being observed every day, I fear for a drought, a day when the sun will not cast light. Observing the observatory has inspired me to never let that happen. Despite all changes, I never wish to lose this guiding light and become stagnant.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Logging Life

I was reminded of this professor's research when we were talking today about how the use of tagging leaves a sort of trail and what that means for the individual:

http://www.sfi.ie/investments-achievements/research-showcase/dcu-at-leading-edge-of-lifelogging-research/

created my own blog

I just made a tumblr - it will mostly be devoted to my work English 420 but that could change. That is to be expected.

http://theworldaccordingtopeter.tumblr.com/

Blog is up and running. Check it!

Roberto's Stupendously Awesome Blog

Gormley - human sculpture "books" (stories)

Gormley's human sculpted books:

Thus image is from the blog: my modernist.com, where it says: "Crouching at 85 feet tall and weighing about 60 tons, Antony Gormley's Exposure sculpture is rooted to ground in central Netherlands, reacting over time to the changing environment. Riddled with funding problems, It took nearly six years to complete.
"One of the known environmental changes that is happening is the rising of the sea level through global warming," explains Gormley. "It is critical to me that at the time of its making this work reacts with the viewer, the walking viewer, on the top of the polder and that the surface that the viewer stands on is the surface that the work stands on. The work cannot have a plinth. Over time, should the rising of the sea level mean that there has to be a rising of the dike, this means that there should be a progressive burying of the work."
The first step in the making of the sculpture was for Gormley to cast himself in plaster. After an extremely uncomfortable hour and a half locked in a crouching position, he translated the solid form into a geometrical system. Using software developed by Professor Roberto Cipolla of Cambridge University, the form was digitized.
As one approaches the sculpture, Gormley says: "The nature of the object changes. You can see it as a human form in the distance. It becomes more abstract the closer you get to it. And finally it becomes a chaotic frame through which you can look at the sky."



These images are from the blog: my modernist.com


This image Hinge, 2011 is from a website of Antony Gormley's Sculpture



This image, Blindlight, 2007 is from a website of Antony Gormley's sculpture


This image "Rhizome", 1999, is from a website of Antony Gormley's sculpture --note branching, "tree" as "book"; "tree" as collection, conglomeration of stories --not juts a source of paper, but as story itself. Please join in and comment on such "stories", and "tell" some stories of "your" "own" 

--part of this telling will be collaborative unless you made all parts of these stories --even  trees! 

"



tumblin in tha wind

I don't have a blog but I do have a tumblr that I use as a scrapbook for things I find on the internet: http://aquafreshprince.tumblr.com/

Follow me please!!!

Follow my blog: http://kmariafmakingbooks.blogspot.com/

Wheat Field: A Confrontation

http://greenmuseum.org/content/artist_index/artist_id-63.html

This link relates to art as plants-- that's you Rachel! haha, Awesome.

Walt Whitman's 'Song of Myself'

Here is the 1855 version of Walt Whitman's 'Song of Myself': it is a very epic poem!! and one of my dear loves in this world :))

Check it out on my blog:
http://limbsoflight.blogspot.com/

Link to my blog

http://adventuresinbookmaking.tumblr.com/

Enjoy!

How we read

I came from working at the hospital this morning.  I "read" a lot of different things there.  I read orders from physicians, patients' charts, medication labels, etc.  I also read things like the body language of my intubated patient (people who are intubated can't talk).  I read the face of my patient with aphasia.  Aphasia means she could talk, and she knew what she was trying to say, but when she spoke the words didn't make any sense.  She relied on me to read her face and body language to determine if she was comfortable, in pain, thirsty, etc because she could not verbally express these things.  I read the change in the environment of day shift vs. night shift, mostly based on the difference in noise level and the presence and absence of bodies.  I read lab results, and determined the course of action needed based on them.  I started 3 IVs during my shift, so I read the patients' arms and the map of their blood vessels to pick the best vein.  When I got home I read the tired dark circles on my face in the mirror.  I read the number of the bus I took to come here.  Right now I'm reading my own body and it's telling me how tired I am.

'Song of Myself', Walt Whitman

Hey guys! Check out the end of 'Song of Myself' by Walt Whitman, it is so profound about the cycles and endlessness of being.

 It's on my blog at:
http://limbsoflight.blogspot.com/

:)

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Because I'm Purple //Alt-Lit Examined LOL

America is a left brained society. It focuses on routine and structure and analytical/logical thought processes. It involves order and consistency and is most efficient for achieving preset goals. As a result, our education system suffers this disease. We draw at a perpetual sixth grade level because we were no longer encouraged to be expressive once we ‘matured.’ Reading level and math skills take priority because they’re what’s important IRL. That’s kinda stupid. Just like all those stupid kids that write poetry and draw pictures and do theater and make movies. Those kids aren’t smart because they can’t spell hippopottamos (hippopotamus) right or understand derivatives. They get scores in the 20s on the ACT because they can’t fill in the right ovals. Gosh.
I think Alt-Lit is sort of a backlash at left-brained upbringing. Poetry, at its core, doesn’t ‘make sense’ to left-brainers because it isn’t required to have form or structure and may not follow grammatical norms. Like abstract paintings, poetry can be a mystery to its readers. Poetry is flexible and adaptable to the visions of the artist, which is the true nature of art, and since so much of the world has fallen into the realm of the internet, a new breed of poetry arises. It’s loosely called Alt-Lit, with a lot of emphasis being placed on internet interactions. A reputable–if you will–blog about Alt-Lit, Internet Poetry, describes this thing as…
posts “screenshots of poetry being distributed with guerilla tactics on the internet”: poetry as Wikipedia vandalism, tweets, blog comments, etc (read the original doctrine).
Internet Poetry now publishes with a broader idea of what “internet poetry” can be, and is open to the many forms poetry can take online and community it can build.
Among this new genre of poetry, a specific artist has inspired me in a very peculiar fashion to document my life, even at its most mundane. Because I’m Purple is a collection of works that spans random ideas, longings, common daily occurrences, and anything else the creator finds particularly worthy. The inclusion of texts, emails, instant messages, and various other basic but somehow deeper thoughts, are reflected through the art. What captures one’s life in 1st world society more closely than this?
While we munch away at mass-produced synthetic substances we call food, we synthetically interact with our friends and the world via the Internet. Today is a time of disassociation and plastic interaction. Our lives become separated by this invisible digital wall that we can throw our emotions, unguarded, into and cause all sort of repercussions without ever seeing them.
 
Texting conversations can kill relationships as the blunt unspoken words instantly traded back-and-forth can escalate emotions in false directions of intentions. Love can exist via a phone and this is strangely alienating. Because I’m Purple does a spectacular job of revealing this. By mockingly prodding at the false romanticism created via instant-messaging, a sense of disbanded heartache gets conveyed to the readers of the poem. Image-macros of prairie dogs take on the background for a perverse thought or desire, making that thought both a byproduct and machination of the interaction we have with the Internet. It is almost a strange love-affair where we are mental addicts to an illustrious drug. One piece that is particularly interesting pokes at this strange love-affair by inserting a new medium of transaction.
Like the purple hues taken on by most of these image poems, the melancholy state of these pieces reflect not only a longing for more classic and human connection, but a mocking tone of hopelessness toward society. Rather than become intimate in physicality, they poke at a state of lost romance/aesthetic appeal. Unlike most Alt-Lit, however, Because I’m Purple does a surprisingly good job of making Internet graffiti and uncoordinated image-mash-ups beautiful. They fully embrace the right brain and document our current state as a human race. Trying to understand Alt-Lit and making sense out of its purposeful confusion is against its very nature. It is something that rubs society against the natural grain, sometimes purposefully unappealing. To examine it as ‘art’ is almost ridiculous. As any Alt-Lit fan/creator would say after an attempt of examining Alt-Lit…LOL. Rather than embrace society and try to right its wrongs, Alt-Lit decides to laugh at the burning world.
Alt-Lit is probably the most reputable documentation of modern times.
All images are shared from BecauseImPurple.Tumblr.com
Highly recommend "Colors of Nature" --for making books, or for making something out of whatever you have for life! http://www.amazon.com/Colors-Nature-Culture-Identity-Natural/dp/1571313192

--you won't regret this! --this book is available physically or electronically, as an ibook or Kindle!



--and I hope you like my contribution: "Tarsenna's Defiance Garden in which I love to Spit"

these pictures (courtesy Google earth) reveal this garden as it appears "now" -or as it appeared earlier this morning when I used Google Earth to peek.

Monday, January 21, 2013

The link to my blog!

http://jessemylescarmen.blogspot.com/ check out my blog!! :)
Reading faces --waiting for various forms of transport --please post examples here. --(including placement of cutlery), markets, games. hospitals, waiting for buses taxis, etcetera.

--and "books" without paper pages: layers of earth, clock-faces, agricultural faces fabric, dolls, action figures, clay, number lines, cameras, masks, meals, place-settings (including placement of curlers), markets (stock market tape, too), etcetera

--and "read" bones; reconstruct what's being eaten from carcasses and left-overs on the plate!  Some examples follow! --what do you think?
















Cross-Country Skiing or Circular Exercise

When I was ten years old, my dad taught me how to cross-country ski. We went on laps through the woods in our backyard for a few weeks before I had gotten the hang of it. Once my mobility increased and my coordination was configured, we hit some trails of more difficulty. He showed me how to go up and down slopes and skirt tight corners on narrow paths. After a while, I became quite capable in my abilities and upgraded to a better pair of skis.
I always enjoyed cross-country skiing. It is often an under-recognized sport as it falls under the shadow of the more popular downhill skiing. While this Alpine sport often provides more thrill, it does not emphasis the journey as much as the destination. A ski-lift carries the skier to the top of the hill and then the skier tries to make it to the bottom of the hill as fast as possible. Wherein lies the pure enjoyment? The Nordic counterpart is all-encompassing. It is not a monotonous crawl across level surfaces, but rather a dynamic climb up, down, and around nature. In order to enjoy the cold breeze in your face as you glide down slopes, you must trek, often slowly and painstakingly, to the top of mounds. When you reach the bottom of the hill, you do not try to slow yourself to a halt, but rather incorporate your momentum into the next movement. Cross-country-skiing is an organic and enriching experience, where work may be rewarded and the process is what is enjoyable, not the successful completion of a run.
The other day, I saw a woman skiing around a cement track. She had on a very intriguing pair of skis with small wheels attached to them that allowed her to glide like traditional cross-country skis. I watched her for a moment, impressed by the dedication to the sport in the absence of snow. She passed around the track several times before I looked away. I assume this woman was skiing for the sake of exercise. Most likely desiring some sort of cardio workout, she embarked on this track to do laps to achieve a set goal for exercise. When she finished, she most likely took off her skis and went home. This made me wonder.
What is the purpose of circles? So many exercises involve reps and laps and all types of repetitive tasks. How do we gain fulfillment and enjoyment from these routines? As a left-brained society, we often find solace in the mundane and repetition is comforting, almost Zen-like. For us, exercising in a set environment for a set period of time and doing a set cycle of activities is comforting. It allows to achieve a set goal each time (i.e. 10 laps) and thus complete a 'journey.' I believe it is engrained in us, as products of a left-brained upbringing, to always reach a destination. We are taught, whether subconsciously or not, to enjoy completion, and aim for a goal.
So we go in circles. It is comforting, this cyclic existence, but where does it lead us? We prefer to downhill ski because we know when we meet an end, and do not have to face the hardships of an uphill climb. However, in order to truly find fulfillment, I think we should place emphasis on the process. We should not go in circles, but rather in a curving and arching line toward an undefined destination. We should cross-country ski. Through woods, cities, and everywhere in between.

Mirror Mirror on the Wall

Mirror Mirror on the wall...

Why do I look and feel so different? How can I possible smile when I hurt so bad? Why is it so easy for me to smile and say all is well when my heart is hurting, actually hurting?

Mirror Mirror on the wall....

When will my chest deflate? When will my butterflies rest? When will I be able to answer people who ask with an all is well and not be lying?

Mirror Mirror on the wall...

Why did I do what made me feel this way? What can I do to change it? I can't change it, and that sucks. How long will this take? I want an answer, and yet, I know you cannot tell me. It is frustrating.

Mirror Mirror on the wall....

I love that I feel, I love that I care, I love that I want, I love that I desire, I love that I try, I love I and one day the way I look and the way I feel will match up once again.


From an interview with Don DeLillo in the Paris Review (link):

This book is an argument about the future. Who wins the struggle for the imagination of the world? There was a time when the inner world of the novelist—Kafka’s private vision and maybe Beckett’s—eventually folded into the three-dimensional world we were all living in. These men wrote a kind of world narrative. And so did Joyce in another sense. Joyce turned the book into a world with Ulysses and Finnegans Wake. Today, the world has become a book—more precisely a news story or television show or piece of film footage.

Friday, January 18, 2013

What story is this "book" telling? (what do YOU read???)

Watching this again I read a very different "book" than when I first filmed it. What I read just reading it now, was a death of some kind. This CAUTION tape was trying so hard to run away, the tree was killing it, painfully and slowly. I saw the CAUTION tape reach out to me, asking and pleading for help. I saw it speaking to a God, praying. I then saw its death creep up on it, but give one last look of misleading hope, the mili second before its death.

Dark, I know, but today I suppose I read it as a book of tragedy.

What book did you read?

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Media

The definition of what a book is requires a discussion of what media is most effective to tell a story. A book is just a form. What matters is learning to find the media best suited to your story or the knowledge you are examining. What's interesting about new media online are the instances where print media is reformatted and viewed through a digital lens. Often times it looks much the same, though a certain aesthetic may be lost or gained. One example of what I believe to be a successful transition is this website a poetry teacher at my last school made: http://www.enskyment.org.  It makes poetry, some previously published, more accessible to the global community and effectively creates an online anthology. The same sentiment is present when thinking about ebooks. What I think we should really be discussing is how media works and to find examples of what is effective storytelling (whether it be print, digital, illustration, sound, video, etc). This assumes that there can't be a sweeping answer to "what's best" or "what something is" because the theme/purpose of each project operates differently than another.

my blog

follow my blog: http://kmariafmakingbooks.blogspot.com/

What isn't a book? --why not?

What isn't a form of "book"? --and what definition system of "book"? are you using in "trying" to answer this?

I read a book on the bus today...

How do we read other people? And how do we allow (or not allow) others to read us? I was walking on Central Campus making my way to the bus and I passed by three people that I knew briefly from classes, film collaborations, or play collaborations. Each of them ignored me. I saw them. I read them. I read their words very carefully. Their words read: "I see you. I recognize you. I look away. I pretend that I did not see you. I keep walking." It didn't hurt my feelings or anything. I have been in those situations before too, where you feel like you don't know someone well enough to recognize them and say hi to them independently of where you had previously been acquainted. But even though they were trying to be unreadable, they were still being read, just in different words.
Once I got to the bus, a perfect stranger got on and sat a little ways away from me. He had his headphones in and limited his eye contact to that of his iphone. But something different occurred with this stranger...about halfway through the ride I thought I caught a glimpse of him looking at me. I attempted to be unreadable and turn my face in his direction to see if he was looking at me, but without me actually looking at him. Sneaky peripheral usage. He was being sneaky too. Whenever I would actually look at him he would look away, or pretend it wasn't me he was looking at. It finally got to my stop and I decided to open up my book and let him read it. I stood up from my seat, grabbed my bag, turned and smiled at him. As I stepped off the bus and onto the sidewalk I look back inside the bus at where he was sitting and he was looking right at me smiling as well.
No moral to the story, as there doesn't need to be. But simply the act of reading, being read, attempting not to be read, being read even when trying not to be read, or letting someone read you, can make for a fun trip home.

Teagan Rose

My Blog!

Hi everyone, I just wanted to share with you the link to my personal blog for this class. Enjoy!

http://english420juliam.blogspot.com/

Definition of "book"


Definition of a book...

My definition of a book follows that of a normal dictionary, although thinking outside the box (or in this case, thinking outside the book) is probably a more productive method for fostering creativity in this class. I personally would choose to use the word, “story,” to label the things that we have labeled using the word, “book,” simply because the description given to us in class was most closely related to my definition of a story. To say, “Anything can be a book, and everything is a book,” implies that anything can and everything does tell a story. It is just my terminology that is different.

In the end, words are just symbols, which can be redefined at any moment by those using them.

~Peter

Limbs of Light- My Ideas Thus Far

Hey guys, here is a link to my blog, so you can see what's inspiring me at this point!

I'm thinking-- living sculpture! woohooo!

Elise

http://limbsoflight.blogspot.com/

Bonisteel Exploration

Tools and Trees


Today's Bonisteel Walk!

Walking, climbing, shadow-dancing, ice-breaking, tree-hugging, hat-making, clay-molding, nests and rust and tension-holding everything together in this morning brisk.

Here are the photos I took! : http://elisebeckmannestsandnewcreations.blogspot.com/

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Gnomes & Narwhals, Twitter & Junk

While I will be blogging at this address, some of my personal material is present on my blog and my Twitter feed.

@JustinAndersun                          //On-the-spot products of my brain

GnomesAndNarwhals.com    //Slightly-more-developed products of my brain

about.me/JustinAndersun      //About me, in perpetual beta

An Odyssey of Literature, Prenotions of Books

To contain a book with words is to bind its possibilities. Although the medium of books is largely stereotyped to written text bound in a physical cover, books can be seen as the culmination of a journey. Be it visual, auditory, olfactory, tactically, or any other sense, the recording of the experience can, theoretically, be considered a book. At a recent art exhibit in the University of Michigan's Art & Design Building, I realized I was essentially walking through the pages of a book by many authors. These authors were faculty and staff from the art building and their pieces were different representations of ideas, experiences, and stories. My initial captivation began with architectural concept drawings of buildings reaching up through the earth like fingers, groping for an invisible and unachievable hold. The accompanying sign read "Plan: Scale to be determined." The design embodied a trait often disregarded by architecture--it told the story of an idea, a dream, and designed it for the sake of that idea, not for a predetermined purpose. The scale was undecided as the future uses were unforeseen. To me, it was the prologue of an unknown odyssey, which, in the essence of an odyssey, is its core--an exploration of the unknown. Crossing into the adjoining room, the next chapter, so to speak, I came across a series of signs of paint on wood. According to adjoining plaque--the footnotes--the more 'permanent' signs were a remembrance and celebration of an old restaurant/diner in proximity to the artist/author's hometown; a place which used paper plates, meant to be thrown away and thus not permanent, to make signs. This chapter set up a prehistory and background for future work. While we may understand pieces of the past and reflect on the days to come, we may never be able to pinpoint where we will land.
In the following exhibit, I was given a chance to reflect--literally--on pieces of myself. There was a blackened reflective pool against a wall and a man-sized marionette made of dowels against the wall. After securing the duct-tape tabs to my ankles and wrists, I danced before the mirror while the marionette rigidly mimicked my actions. I was flipping through the book in a blur, becoming one of the characters and experiencing, not only through my eyes but through my body, the sensations of movement through the journey. Many great exhibits followed, each divulging into new chapters of discovery and stories, but one that struck me in particular was the ending piece I read. It was a collection of ceramic saucers, probably around twenty to thirty, in a line, looking like a backbone, but riddled in breaks and malfunctions. It was a spine of failure, the cracked support of the book I had just read. It reminded me that humans are innately walking failures and all products of their experiences are a piece of it. Each chapter, each piece of the exhibit, was a failure, but we embrace it. For it is human, in its truest form.
Humans ain't perfect. Books ain't perfect. This is where the odyssey of literature has taken me so far. I am on this island preparing to depart on the next expedition. Along the cracked spine of our stories.
Hi guys! Check out my new blog for class, http://jessemylescarmen.blogspot.com/  :)

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

What's a Book?

I think there are a couple different definitions of the word 'book' that are important in general everyday use. It's probably worth noting that, as far as I'm concerned, a definition is important to the extent that it's useful for communicating. So while it might be fun to say that the clothes I'm wearing or the receipts in my pocket are books, these uses of 'book' aren't helpful for communicating with other people. If clothes, receipts, and lots of other objects and activities count as books then no one is going to have any idea what I mean when I say, for instance, "I read a good book this morning." Do I mean to suggest that I took an enjoyable stroll through the park? Perhaps I made a tasty omelet. If 'book' can be used to describe anything, then it ceases to be useful for describing any particular thing. This is going to be especially frustrating if I want to tell someone that I looked at some words on a page and parsed them in order, since there aren't a lot of good phrases for that besides "reading a book." Furthermore, I can't think of any substantial benefits one would gain by starting to refer to all sorts of things as books.

If, as a class, we want to agree that there are lots of different objects and experiences that are as educational as reading books, then by all means let's do that, but I don't think we need to call everything a book in order to do so. In fact, I think we'll have a much easier time understanding each other if we encourage the use of words with specific and precise meanings. Despite the fact that I don't think we should use the word 'book' loosely, I do think it could be interesting and beneficial to use books and reading as metaphors for the way we interact with other objects and vice versus.

So What Is A Book, Anyway?

For my first blog post, I'd like to just dive right into the million-dollar question: what is a book?

At first, I was tempted to write that a book is a collection of words, thoughts, ideas, and moments, captured on paper and bound by two covers. After all, this is the definition of "book" that I have been familiar with my entire life. My parents read to me very often as a child, so I have been acquainted with this version of a "book" for a very long time.

However, after taking some time to think about and puzzle through this question that is, admittedly, new to me, I realized that "book" could, perhaps, have many definitions. I thought, for example, of the CDs (a medium that has, like most other media, been replaced with digital media, like iTunes and mp3) I had throughout my childhood and teenage years. These CDs came encased in plastic boxes, with paper "CD jackets" that listed the songs and their lyrics. Could these CD jackets be considered books? Could the music - the songs themselves - be considered books? After all, most songs tell a story and communicate ideas, and their lyrics are made up of words.

How many other things could be "books" that we do not usually consider books? As Thylias mentioned in class today, our own reflections in the mirror could be a form of "book." While this idea somewhat confused me, it also intrigued me. If we consider our reflections "books," then what is a book, really? How can we define it? Does "book" need to be defined?

I would love to continue to explore the above questions, and to learn more about limited fork theory. I am sure I will do these things and more as the semester progresses!

What is a book???

What is a book??????


Here's a link to my class blog so far!
Rachael's Book Blog


Nests and New Creations: Elise Beckman's Blog

Hello guys! Here is a link to my blog thus far:
http://elisebeckmannestsandnewcreations.blogspot.com/
its full of nests of new ideas and strings of inspiration! Woohoo!

Elise

Reading

How much "reading" did you do today, just in preparing for class? --if you looked in a mirror --did you read your look? --and did you "read" your outfit? --how did you use your senses?

Sunday, January 13, 2013

A Moment

What is a book? When someone says the word "book" to me, an image of a leather cover bound by a leather spine filled with white paper pages pops into my head.  As I continue to think about books, I realize that it is a physical object that I naturally think of, but there is so much more to a book then the cover.  After all, they say to never judge a book by the cover!....Who is "they" anyways?.....Anyways, I agree with that saying and I even remember going to the library as a little girl and intentionally looking for books that had ugly or plain covers.  It was an almost superstition for me that a good looking book would actually be a terrible book. There is so much more to a book then what it looks like and how it presents itself.

A book is a power source. A book is a time machine. A book has a life of its own.

Now that I am thinking about books, my mind takes off with all the potential definitions of what books are and I wonder why my original definition is so bland? Of course the majority of books that people hold in their hands and view with their eyes has a similar format.  They have a cover and a back and a spine and many many pages.  But just because the majority of "book" that people come into contact with look like that, there is no reason why a book should be limited to that definition.

A book is a power source. A book is a time machine. A book has a life of its own.

Ever since I was a little girl books were a huge part of my life.  One of my favorite memories as a child was when I learned how to "read in my head." I was laying belly down on my parent's white leather couch reading the Disney Cinderella.  I was reading out loud and using my finer to follow along, when all of a sudden I was able to read in my head and still comprehend the story! I was thrilled! I was amazed! I was a big girl!  And after that day I took that book with me everywhere for days.  I was so proud of myself and rightly so....I know could read books and comprehend the amazing places and people and story lines of all kinds of books!  Books are a special moment. Thats what they are, a moment. A moment where the world around you blurs and you travel to a new world with different feelings and emotions and people and places.  It is a moment to feel and be anyone or anything you want to be.

A book is a power source. A book is a time machine. A book has a life of its own.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Welcome!

Welcome new students!  --winter 2013

This is our "official" class blog! --one of your first entries should be your "current" definition of "book" and how you think that you acquired this definition --etcetera