For my sound project I recorded myself playing the video game Fallout 4, and made two simple loops using GarageBand. I titled my sound piece "Mechanism for Loss". It medium is meant to represent a mixing of medias in an unexpected way. The sound, to me, sounds similar to industrial machinery. I like this because it puts the listener on edge, and creates an uncomfortable atmosphere. The listener is almost held captive by the sound. The video game industry has created a culture based on living within the digital realm. Much of "gamer" culture is based on separating oneself from the mainstream world. In attempting to do so, "gamers" and other internet based groups have shifted what is mainstream.
Monday, March 13, 2017
The video I created for this project involved a very simple three frame animation, ending with a separate three frame animation. My understanding of these animations is that of two self contained works, which when combined in this video format deliver a message about pain, self image, masculinity, gender, and media. I made a gif of the main portion of the video, so I could embed it in this blog page.
Monday, February 20, 2017
Flickr: Something is Happening
Reflection: This project slowly took form as I listened to other people's perceptions of everyday life. Quickly I noticed a common focus disparate from any of my own. Some of them had a magnifying lens directed at the ordinary. They saw magnificent beauty in the mundane. Anxiety pushes me to focus on the future, or to reflect on the past, and rarely do I find myself appreciating the moment. This is in part the result of the pace of post-modern American life. So I took that idea and applied it to my photography. I attempted portray the detail in the physicality of common elements found throughout daily life. In a sense to reclaim what has been taken from me. I wasn't entirely satisfied with the results. For one, the whole thing seems rather shallow and obvious as I reflect on it. I didn't succeed in removing the preoccupations that surround me. Maybe I should have heeded McLuhan's advice, when he says "Their [environment's] groundrules, pervasive structure, and overall patterns elude easy perception" (McLuhan p.84-85). It simply may have never been possible for me to effectively deconstruct the minutia without removing myself form the environment. I am not an outsider, as Robert Frank was to 1950's American society.
Tuesday, January 24, 2017
Anne Harris, a Medievalist, presented her work in Entangled Ecologies: Community, Identity, and the Modern Future of the Medieval Past in the Wriston Auditorium. She describes these entangled ecologies as “…scenarios in which the past surged into the present through an ecological phenomenon…” (Anne Harris). She further divides her studies into three fields; Anthropogenic Biomes, Quantum Entanglements, and Hewn Ecology.
The first field, anthropogenic, or human influenced, biomes, in which sustained human interaction has shaped a biome, or changed it into an entirely different environment. The example Harris explored in her presentation was Monteneuf in Western Britney, a Neolithic stone arrangement, made up of about 420 stones. This struck me as an interesting example, which explores a cyclical model of human interaction with an ecosystem, as the stones were raised, put down in an attempt to destroy them, and raised again by archeologists.
The second area her work relates to is quantum entanglements, dealing with the way time effects artifacts and their states. Harris used wood cross from Scotland to explain how from one state to another the meaning of an artifact shifts, in this case from tree, to wood, to cross. That change was incorporated into the meaning of the cross deliberately by its makes.
The final area Harris studies is hewn ecology, or the understanding that in environments and ecosystems, change is natural and inevitable. This is an especially difficult concept to grasp for most people, as modern society is based around the perceived current state, and cannot except such a fluid world view. The example used in the presentation was an inscription of the biblical story of Seth’s return to Eden, and the cycle contained in it. She believes that liberal arts colleges are an allegory for the same state of flux, and students constantly move from through the established grades and states of being contained within a college.
Wednesday, January 4, 2017
Today I slept through my first class, for the first time... this term. I want it to be the last time. Ever. Maybe now will be different. That's what I want.
This is an Adobe Photoshop piece I made last June. It's the first thing I thought of when I read this project's description. I don't think it captures the aesthetic I normally strive for, but I think it successfully captured my feelings in that moment. It was a time of transition, and reflection. On the terrible year I had had up to the point. On the people I had lost. On the peace that going home had brought me. On the anxieties that haunted my summer.
I found the piece too sporadic, too loose, to appeal to the shallow sense of beauty that normally guides my process and decides if I like a piece or not. Normally, I just want it to look good. I don't care that much about meaning or anything. That's not what it's about. It's pure vanity.
This is vanity. This isn't the way I see the world. This isn't who I am, was, or will be. And this isn't how I felt. If you asked me to explain the meaning of this piece, I'd probably come up with some bullshit about motion or wealth or something. I just like the way this looks. Thats why I made it, and that's why I like it. Thats true for most of the things I've made. Sometimes I challenge myself to make something that I think is beautiful, or at least visually appealing, with as few steps as I can. I'm not very good at that. But on occasion I think it works out.
I've been doing these little individual projects for about a year. Before that I did some photography, but never really did anything with my pictures. Art has never been a goal of mine. I think that why I like it. I'm someone who quits things easily. At the slightest resistance I'll drop whatever hobby I thought would make me a more interesting person. When karate started actually requiring energy and commitment, I took of my orange belt for the last time. When my bass teacher wanted me to learn something a bit more challenging than "Seven Nation Army" I put my bass as deep in my closet as I could reach. Now, I do think I've matured a bit since those days. I started climbing in high school and stuck with it until the wasteland of Central Wisconsin stole it from me. But art has always been different. It's self gratifying. It lets me do something and nothing at the same time.
This isn't about anything, but it makes me feel small.
I don't have an agenda. I barely have any goals at all. I want to be happy, consistently. I want to be comfortable, usually. I want to grow, and I trust that in growing I will find myself a life. So my art doesn't have an agenda either. The closest thing it has to a goal is an emotion. I love that about it. Failure's one of my greatest fears, but there is no failure in my art. Even if a piece goes nowhere it's successful.
"The extension of any one sense alters the way we think and act - the way we perceive the world." (McLuhan 41)
This last piece is from a bad time for me. It can be about a lot of things. One of them is the dichotomy I discovered coming to college, and actually socializing for the first time in my life. I was making friends, real friends, for the first time in a long time. And I thought I fit in. But I didn't feel different. It wasn't the epiphany I had dreamed of. It was the same.