Friday, May 6, 2011

Final Blog Post: Thanks!

For my final project I really was trying to do a light hearted humorous “mockumentary.” As far as themes from the class I really tried to communicate humor in a non-verbal way with this project. I had some issues with video that I had taken becoming corrupted, but I was able to piece together a final product that I was happy with and that I thought I successfully used non-verbal communication successfully.  I started off the video heavy on environmental images. I did this in order to in a way lull the viewer into a sense of routine. I have done many environmental based projects in this class, and I was hoping to make students believe that this film was along those same lines. I was hoping that this preconception would play into the humor of a video about Chipotle.  While a lot of my footage at chipotle was lost, as well as a number of my interviews, I tried to show just how invested in this restaurant people can be.  The juxtaposing of the images of flowers with the corrugated steel side of chipotle and the chipotle sign is an example of my non-verbal communication. While there are words being displayed on the screen, my association between flowers and chipotle is saying that the two are related to one another in the context of beauty.  I hope that this relation is humorous to the viewer because it is supposed to be a funny video.  The final scene with Chipotle being eaten was probably my most significant use of non-verbal communication. I used a very close up very intimate shot to liken eating a Chipotle burrito to some very intimate, personal experience. This also is a concept that I hope people find humorous, because in my mid it is. There are some technical flaws and I will do my best to fix them by time my video airs (I didn’t realize there was a final at 2:00). But other than these minor flaws I am pretty happy with my final product. The fact that I had a smaller pool of video than I planned on was a challenge, but I think that that made the process that much more interesting and satisfying to complete. My edible portion is cilantro lime rice, which is a staple at Chipotle. I couldn’t really buy Chipotle for everyone so this is the next best thing. The rice along with the talk of Chipotle is supposed to make the users long for chipotle. In a way the edible portion will function to expose the Chipotle aficionados in the class. The senses will be flooded by chipotle, thus causing those like me who feel a deep connection to chipotle to long for its sweet embrace. This is in a way another attempt at humor. I am interested to see if this has the desired effect on the class. I chose a digital medium for my project because this class has really taught me a lot about digital art forms and I have found that I really enjoy them . I even used Adobe illustrator to make figures for my smp.
I really think that this final project is a great way to end this class. I used a medium that I basically discovered this semester in this class, and I tried to use methods of conveying ideas and thoughts visually but in a comedic way. I hope that everyone will appreciate the humor that I tried to bring into my project, and not think that I some weird fatty freak who is in love with a burrito (even if some of that may or may not be true).  Thank you for the opportunity to do this final project, I really enjoyed it, and thank you for finally helping me understand art for once in my life, I think I kind of get it now; At least if just a little bit.  

Allyson Moore's SMP Presentation

I also attended a studio smp presentation.  I believe the artists name was Allyson Moore. I had trouble understanding this presentation because I was in the way back behind a wall. As a consequence of this my view of the screen was almost completely blocked and I could only see the right portion of any of her photographs.  While my view was extremely obstructed I still thought that what she was saying was very interesting and her smp sounded very neat. She said that she liked to take pictures of commonplace objects all over the place. I believe she said this was partially inspired by a trip to the west coast that allowed her to return to the east coast with a renewed artistic energy. She said that her favorite place to photograph was behind a Mckays. At first I was thinking that it was a little weird to take photographs at such a location but as she got into it more I began to understand why she did that and became really intrigued by her decision to do so. What I though was so interesting was that she in a way documented a change over time in a place that many of us have been near but have never really taken the opportunity to look at. She described how one day there was a random cart there that someone had left. She did not only photograph the cart in the context of the space, but she also took close up shots of the cart from atop the cart. I thought that this was really cool how she not only captured the cart in its “environment” and in the context of the loading dock but she also documented the cart close up. She treated the cart in 2 different ways, in a large special context and a short individual context.
                All in all I wish I could have had a better seat. What she was saying about her work and what she did, sounded really cool and really unique and I wish that I would have had the opportunity to see her work as whole and not in the fragmented behind a wall way that I did. I really think that I would have enjoyed seeing her use of framing and subject matter, because it was interesting to hear about. I hope that I can go to the gallery at a later date and actually look at her photographs in person, not only so that I can see them, but so I can take my time and look at them up close.

Brittney Sigley's SMP Presentation

I attended an Art History Talk on Color Theory given by Brittney Sigley. She did a great job at presenting the information in a way that non-art scholars could comprehend. I’d be lying if I said I comprehended all of the talk. Some of it was over my head but I definitely got the main points. Brittney talked about how minimalist artists used color as an object in their works. She talked about how minimalist painters did not paint things onto objects but just painted objects in a monochromatic color. She talked about how the color then becomes an object in the work of art itself. She said that the color was a deliberate choice by the artist and that this was part of the reason why it could be viewed as an object. She showed many examples of minimalist works that utilized color heavily as an object. One really cool one was a dark box with all of these colors projected inside of it. The colors in conjunction with the darkness of the box really distorted the sense of space, making for a really cool effect .
Overall this presentation really opened my eyes to new ways of looking at art. I was really impressed with the way that Brittney was able to introduce this new idea to me, and really make me believe it and understand it. Before this talk I never would have thought of looking at color as an object in a work of art. I always just saw color as color, as being there. I never really put too much thought in to the color of any work of art other than super traditional paintings. I would see something and go, “Oh look that’s green,”  this presentation has allowed me to start to think about why that something is green and what the green is saying or doing in the work of art. The presentation also helped close a gap in my mind that existed  for a while. Abstract and minimalist artworks never really spoke to me, I never could understand them or see the merit in them. Our discussions in class have helped me understand and appreciate abstract art more, but I never really got minimalism. Now I have the tools to look at a minimalist piece and see beyond what I could see before.  By viewing color as an object I think that take color and use it as another way to understand what is going on with a minimalist artwork. Great Job Brittney, you taught an art challenged individual something about minimalism!

Monday, April 25, 2011

Reading Response and Critique Response (Sorry)

Looking away and seeing too much was a really interesting reading. I had to actually read some sections a few times in order to get the meaning. My best response to this reading would be to discuss how it brought ideas into my mind that I had thought but never really articulate. Discussing the differences between looking at the sun and looking at very sexual images was a great analogy I feel. Both are two things that most people do not want to look at, but for different reasons, but not always different reasons. It really got me thinking about certain images that I do not want to see, and why I do not want to see them.
                I also really liked the talk about UFO’s and UFO pictures and how they have changed throughout the ages.  The “accuracies” of images of UFO’s have changed. What would look like a “real” UFO in the 1800’s would probably look totally different compared to today’s image of a “realistic” UFO. This does not only touch on the ideas of images and realism, but I like how this idea incorporates time into the discussion.  This makes one think about how people perceive certain things, and how people represent these things change over time. This could be something interesting to explore in a project/ artwork.  This idea applies to so many different images and ideas. I think that looking at advertisements throughout the ages would be a really interesting idea. The differences between the ideas of beauty, reliability, and wealth have likely changed a great deal over the course of modern time.  I think a great example of this would be how larger individuals used to be the most desirable of the bunch. This stemmed from the fact that the larger you were, the more food you could afford, thus making people equate the two things.  This then makes me think what ideas/ ideals in my mind are linked together.  I think that these sort of linkages can be used in artworks to portray an idea. If you are trying to make somebody look smart, giving them glasses for example might help.  This sort of thing is really interesting and I wonder if I would be able to explore tis in my final project. This idea is cool because it crosses art with many other different di splines, such as psychology, media studies, and anthropology.
                This whole paper got me thinking about one thing, extinct animals and my fascination with them. The paper made me analyze my own way of thinking and my own perceptions. I have always found extinct organisms and near extinct organisms to be exciting, especially extinct organisms that have been photographed. After reading the paper I cannot simply chock up my interest to biological curiosity. I think that part of my interest might lie in the fact of visualizing and wanting to see something that is impossible or very difficult to see. This stemmed from the papers discussion of seeing things that were impossible to see, and the fascination that stems from that. The fact that I think pictures of now extinct organisms are so cool and so interesting also says something about my thought process. I think that by getting to see something that no longer exists, the picture of that thing becomes that more interesting and that more fascinating. It’s like looking at illustrations of dragons and unicorns (mentioned in the reading), except these creatures used to exist.
                I realize that my response to my criticism was already due (I’m sorry I misread my email), but I still would like to comment on it. I am very pleased that people enjoyed my artwork and were able to understand where I was going with it. I was definitely trying to display biological diversity in a way that is accessible to all people, and from my critique I believe that I accomplished this. I am also glad that my decision to make several small sculptures that could be moved and interacted with paid off. I wasn’t sure how this decision would be perceived and I am glad that people appreciated this decision.  I did not hear back too many negative comments or room for improvement, but I do have some. I think that I could have painted my sculptures a lot better. I tried to mix my own color for my water bear but it came out way too blue. I think that this detracted from the overall comprehension and ascetic appeal of my water bear sculpture.  I wish that I could have added more leaves and organic material to my caddis fly larvae. While I am very happy with how this sculpture turned out, I think a few more things added to the case would have looked more realistic, and more representative of the group of organisms.  My decision to add the acaia ants was one that I am very happy with. The ants themselves are not particularly impressive; I mean they basically look like ants, but their relationship with their trees are very impressive and interesting.  Overall I am very happy with my final product, especially considering it was a medium I have never worked in before.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Journey of a Duck Response

                The visual effect that struck me the most was the use of landscape and spacing in the “Journey of the Duck,” video.  The way in which the film was shot gave subtle yet effective visual cues to the ducks location with regards to campus. This allowed for the viewers to enjoy the film as a journey, but also to focus on other aspects of the video, such as the song and pacing. If the visual cues were less subtle I feel as if the duck would have not been the focus of the video, therein detracting from the purpose of the video.
                The actual distance covered in the video is relatively small. It would take a boat less than 10 min to traverse the route taken by the duck, however due to the way the duck was shot with regards to its environment, the distance the duck was travelling seemed almost endless. I am very impressed with how space was handled in the video and I believe that handling of space elevated this video to another level.  I believe that the way that the sense of space was accomplished was by using the zoom and situating the duck off center. By not zooming too much, the duck appeared smaller in reference to its surrounding environment. Perhaps the most effective method was not centering the duck in every scene. By allowing the duck to remain at the bottom of the frame the duck was dwarfed by the background environment. The dwarfing effect would not have been as intense, in my opinion, if the duck was centered on the screen.
                I think that the simplest aspects of the “Duck Journey” video were by far the most effective. The random cuts, and even the music were outdone by the subtle and informative visual cues and editing choices. I thought this video was a great example of movies/videos being effective visual media because I think that visual communication predominated in the video.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Mid Term Discussion

The first half of the semester has been very beneficial. I did not know what to expect coming into the course. Time is an interesting topic because it is hard to define and means so many things to so many people. I had so many different thoughts about what the class could be like and what the topic of time would cover. I was very happy when in class we began discussing time and we came to so many conclusions about what time could be. I couldn’t think of a concrete definition of time, and it made me feel good knowing that basically everybody else in the world had the same issue I did.
Before starting this class I also was unsure about how time could be expressed through art. I wasn’t sure if I would be able to conceptualize something that I couldn’t clearly define, and something so elusive like time.  Luckily through class discussions and the viewing of many different artists and artworks, I begun to not only see how one can express time through artistic medium but I really began to appreciate art itself on a higher level I think.
Now I realize that my last sentence may sound a bit cheesy but I really think that it is true. I came into this class with not much prior knowledge about looking at art and creating meaningful artworks. Previously art was just something I looked at on a French fieldtrip, or something that I found attached to the walls of academic buildings. But after trying to conceptualize time and define time in my mind and through words, and failing at that, art and one of the purposes of creating art really began to make sense to me. Art allowed others to conceptualize time in a way that made sense to me. It wasn’t words that allowed me to begin to understand time but it was visual media that really got me thinking about time in different ways.  I think that this “realization” was one of the most beneficial aspects of the first half of the semester. I can see now why this class is an intro level class, the basic knowledge and the basic ability to look at art and appreciate why art is around, is crucial to those studying art. I wish that I had taken this class prior to taking Into to Drawing. While I took a lot out of that class, I feel as if I would have taken a whole lot more out of it knowing what I know now.
Aside from my very deep realization, this course thus far has also had other benefits. I enjoy our look into different artistic media. I think it is very beneficial and very interesting to look at the many different ways that artists can represent time. I think that the flip books are a great example. I never would have thought about flip books as an art form, first of all. Second of all, flip books seem to be a great media for representing time and commenting on time. This is something that I never would have thought of, but was something that I was exposed to. Comic books are a similar example. The reading on comic books was so interesting and really made me think about a media that I was familiar with. The dissecting of the techniques used in comic books, especially in relation to time, was a great learning experience. Comic books are a media that I never would really associate with time, but after the reading I now see just how great they can be at conveying time, and altering the readers perception of time.
            Overall this course thus far has been a great exposure to art, and how to interpret, read, and make art. It really has been successful at exposing me to the idea of time and the ways in which artist have and continue to go about dealing with this difficult and meaningful subject matter. I look forward to the rest of the semester, and what I will learn.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Right Brian Use it or Lose it?

1.           Since my last post I believe we finished “Memento” and discussed it. We also made our own pieces of art out of simple shapes and attempted to portray either “calm” or “unnerving.” This was an interesting exercise. It was cool to hear all of the class talk about what they think each individual artwork meant, and explain why they though that.  Hearing what the class thought and what the artists intended was a good exercise and really showed how different people interpret art in many different ways.
2.           There have been several readings since the last blog post. The “Right side of the brain” reading was a concept that I was moderately familiar with. While I am no art major I did take a drawing class last semester. We did several exercises with negative space and even drew the same upside down man drawing in the reading.  What surprised me was how difficult these drawings were a second time. I was thinking “ aw negative space, no look drawing, upside down drawing while not labeling what I am drawing, I’ve done this before this will be a piece of cake.” Not so much. I found that I reverted back to the logical labeling side of my brain much faster than I thought I would. I struggled to not think about what I was drawing as an “arm” or an “eye.” This caught me off guard because I was familiar with the concept.  The no look drawings I did a little better at than my first ones last semester. My hands that I drew I think can be identified as hands, while the same cannot be said for my no look drawing of my girlfriend that I did last semester.
      The other reading, by John Berger I believe, was one that brought up some really great points I think. The part that intrigued me the most was the discussion of art duplication and the advent of photography. I had never really thought of the impact that photography and the ability to reproduce artworks had on art and the way that we think about art. The discussion about how artworks are now judged on their market value was a good one. I enjoyed the way in which the author showed how an artworks worth and how that worth is defined has changed over the years. This was also linked in to the discussion of a particular artist’s works and how critics thought that the paintings showed contempt for its subjects, while the author talked about how the subjects were held in high regard by the painter. This reminded me of the class artworks that we did and how many different opinions people had about them. This really got me thinking about how people all think so differently and how hard it must be to create a piece of artwork that will mean the same thing to everybody. This is probably impossible now that I think about it but that is a discussion for another day.
3.       Do you think it is possible to create a universal artwork (one that means the same thing to everyone)? Why or why not? Do you think it is ever possible to completely block out the logical side of your brain? Explain.
4.         I tried to do research on losing skills or abilities over time, but none of it really applied to what I was hoping. I was hoping to look into how I reverted back to my logical right brain while doing drawings, when I have been trained otherwise. I mean it is totally possible that I have not been trained enough. In fact this is most likely the case, but I just thought it would be interesting to see how long abilities like that last. I wonder if you took a talented artist and made them not make art for 10 years, if they would still make art the same way and think the same way they did before they had to stop. Is the ability to think creatively and block out the label making portion of your brain already there or is it learned, and once it is learned or manifested can it be u

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Week 2 Post

1.             In class we discussed the reading and started to watch “Memento.” Class started with a warm up activity that I found to be particularly interesting. I enjoyed seeing how different individuals interpreted the question “How did you get here?”
2.            The reading was a good one in my opinion. It really got me thinking about the ways in which humans perceive time, more specifically past events. The discussion of memory and forgetting was probably one of the most interesting to me.  The argument between loss of a memory or lack of recall was a great argument. While I do not know where I stand on this issue, I think it is a tough thing to prove either way.  They did present evidence where a person with an electrode inserted into their brain was able to recall memories they thought they had lost. I am not entirely sure about this evidence. I am no psychology major, but I do know that our nervous system runs on electricity essentially. I do not know if this occurs, but I can see how the addition of electricity to a system already using electricity to carry signals, could potentially distort ones memories. Perhaps the electrical current is connecting items already stored in the brain and forming them into a false memory. Us as humans already make fake memories without realizing it, and I think that this sort of experiment leaves too much wiggle room for errors.
      The discussion of the brain as a ball of wax and a birdcage was slightly lost on me. I can definitely see how the brain is not a ball of wax and why it was thought of that way, but the bird cage is not too clear. I thought the bird cage analogy referred to a cage with multiple birds but people in class told me it was one bird so I am now all confused, but it’s ok because I think the brain has been proven to be a bit more complex than a bird cage  so I’m good. 
3.       Do you think that animals have the same capacity for memory as we do? Why or Why not?
What do you think time is to non-humans, do you think that non-humans (on earth) have a similar concept of time as us, or do you think it is different, do they have one at all?
4.            I looked into the part of the reading about the flatworms. This experiment didn’t seem right to me at first. Flatworms are primitive organisms and it surprised me that they were able to learn at all. I am not a psychology major, thus I am not sure about the exact parameters that need to be met for learning to take place. These organisms do not have a brain, but have two clusters of nervous tissue near their front called ganglia. When the worm was spilt and both halves showed the learned response it would seem that these ganglia somehow passed along the conditioned “memory” to the other half. I do not know if this is the case however, because when researching the Planarian nervous system I found a map of their nervous system. Planarians have light sensory nervous tissue running the length of their body. If this light sensory nervous tissue was where the learned response was “stored,” then when the worm was cut in half the response would have already been learned on both halves. This also does not necessarily mean that the response was a chemical form of memory, but could have been electrical in nature due to the presence of light receptor neurons on both halves of the body. While this experiment was really cool and interesting I think it is a poor example of memory, especially for a book about human memory and human perception. These worms operate very differently from humans and their nervous system is far from analogous to our own. While the mention of this experiment made for good conversation and was really very interesting I think that it was irrelevant and potentially erroneous and used only to try and shatter the reader’s concept of memory but this was done out of context. The author took human ideas and emotions and applied them to a very primitive organism, which does not normally work out.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

1st Blog (I hope i did this right)

1.) In class we discussed the "Sugar Water Shower Video." We went around and everybody shared their interpretation of the video, and displayed a visual representation of the video. It was very interesting to see just how differently everybody in the class interpreted the video. After discussing the video it still seemed to be pretty confusing and the class really did not come to a consensus about the video. I felt as if the one group was correct in their analysis that the video was linear and just being played backwards in the right hand frame. When we watched the video again I only watched the left hand frame and I believed that interpretation to be correct. After watching the director of the video describe its making it was clear that the video was meant to be a palindrome, which I believed to be an interesting and clever idea.
    After the "Sugar Shower" video we discussed the reading which dealt with the meaning of art. This transitioned into us looking at various images and discussing whether or not they were art, and why. This was an interesting discussion which raised some good questions. The most interesting to me was what is making art? Someone mentioned giving an elephant a paintbrush makes the individual who gave the brush to the animal the artist. This is did not believe in. It was said that this is like calling a camera an artist. I think that a camera is a tool; the artist does the work lining up the shot and pressing the shutter. Putting a brush in the hand of an elephant or a dolphin hardly requires and forethought, skill, or effort. Does this mean that the animals are the artists? They are doing the work. I guess it all goes back to what is art and what makes an artist, which is what we were talking about. I don't really think it can be defined. What one person calls art, might be nothing to someone else. I personally do not find anything special about a single triangle or dot painted on a canvas. Do I consider this art, no but that does not mean that it does not mean something to someone else. I think that art is too broad a topic to be defined by one person, and that art must be defined by the person looking at the piece in question. At least that is what I got out of the class.

2.) I kind of stared discussing the reading during 1.), but overall I believe that it was a discussion of the importance of art, and what art is. I didn't really know what to make of the reading; I thought that at times the author presented conflicting viewpoints saying art was both important and unimportant. The section I focused on was the end. The quote about the cat I though was a good way of describing art. The indirect way that art interacts with its observer is similar to the way in which cats behave. They make you take a round about to get to them making the reward (petting and kitty snuggle time, in the case of the cat) more rewarding and enjoyable. Here I thought the author makes a great point. I find that interpreting something and figuring things out makes the overall process, whatever that may be, more enjoyable. I feel like the author was implying that this is true for art as well, and I agree with him.

3.) My first question is can animals be artists? What does your answer say about what art is and how it should be interpreted?

My second question is, can a work of art still be considered great/ beautiful if it is not fully understood by its observer? In other words understands necessary for the full appreciation of art?

4.) I am very interested in the cave paintings. I could find much on them, there does not seem to be much on their origins or purpose. My first instinct was that they were some sort of expressive message. It seemed to be to be some kind of documentation that travelers or visitors to the area could look at and see what sort of game inhabited the region, and maybe even gauge the importance of certain animals based on the way that they are drawn. This would make the drawings both functional and expressive. I do think that we can only discuss this to a point, eventually the idea of accuracy will come up and I think it is difficult to determine what was accuracy to these early people?, and even if accuracy was something they thought of or were aware of. This idea ties into our discussion of language and if language changes perception. On this topic I do not know, what I do know is that the cave paintings to me seem like some sort message, displayed in an artistic manner.