December 12, 2007

C.M.J.'s Final Project - (R)Evolving: Time And The Growing Male

For my final project, I wanted to do something that was rather broad in its scope, and I came up with an idea that would examine different age groups, or "target demographics," over the past decade. I wanted to film different scenes to demonstrate satirical looks at the situations and events that can be looked at as "rites of passage" and "defining moments" in the lives of many kids as they grow up. I decided that I wanted to present the movie as a sort of documentary, talking of pop culture going on in the world to give a real-life point of reference for these kids' lives, one that was in line with my age group growing up during these grades. I wanted to do a wide variety of things to delve into this subject matter and to vary up the video. Once I had written out all of my ideas, I filmed and created all of the scenes, made some original musical pieces for the beginning and end of the movie, and came up with narration to tie the whole movie together. The title is a play off of the idea of American males not necessarily E-volving and growing, but RE-volving and falling into a pattern, going through a continuous cycle of behavior and expected activity, falling into trends and conformity throughout the ages without breaking the mold. The video is really an examination of how people many times do not break the mold or become individuals in any meaningful sense, and the film questions if there can be more of a push towards growing up and causing a change for the future, for all people. This serious idea is of course mixed with a lot of over-the-top humor and weird and various references, things I tend to like to do. My original intent was not for the movie to be as long as it turned out, but in the end I think the structure and framework of the movie is pretty much in line with what I envisioned for it, so I feel it works and is justified. While difficult at times, I really enjoyed creating this movie, and hope that people like it and get something out of it.

December 11, 2007

C.M.J.'s Visiting Artist Response #2 - Sue Coe

The second visiting artist I am responding to is Sue Coe, who gave a presentation on January 25, 2007 at the Regis Center For Art at the University of Minnesota. Coe is one of the leading political artists in the world today, though her work covers many topics, and she has done drawings for many famous organizations, including one for the producers of The X-Files. Sue told many stories of her experiences with many of the people she has met, and she showed lots of different works that spanned different topics, including many blasting the Bush administration, with George W. Bush made to look as evil and incompetent as possible for the atrocities that many link him to (one picture depicted Bush defecating on people from his bare anus). Most of her work is very dark in its content, and she spent a lengthy period of time showing drawings she had done of women from prison who were infected with HIV, and how their lives were affected. She really brought to life the pain and torment of these people's lives. The other lengthy work she presented was of cruelty towards animals, including unethical treatment towards animals in slaughter houses, and the inhumane treatment towards sheep. Many of the pictures with animals were very graphic, which went along well with the theme of showing their torture and pain. Sue Coe's work was very good, and the way she draws things has a unique cartoonish seriousness about it, which makes it very captivating. She is obviously very passionate about her political beliefs, and she channels that well into her work. Her strong convictions and sheer talent make for some great art that speaks for itself. I enjoyed her lecture very much.

C.M.J.'s Visiting Artist Response #1 - Michael Krueger

The first visiting artist I am responding to is Michael Krueger, who came and gave a presentation on November 1, 2007, at the Regis Center For Art at the University of Minnesota. Krueger's work was very interesting. He talked about getting inspiration for his work from many strange images, amongst them children's cups and accessories. He does many interesting drawings and digital pieces of art, that have many recurring themes, such as blurring the natural world. He deals a lot with making people think about things in different ways by twisting preexisting images around or juxtaposing them with other images to make people reexamine them and their ideas. Some examples are his drawing of Thomas Jefferson (who was a big shopper back in his day) pushing a modern day shopping cart, bringing about ideas one wouldn't normally associate with either image by itself. Another example is superimposing an image of a soldier in war over an image of Alice Cooper that Krueger drew when he was in high school, to show what he might have doodled back in high school if he were to think about Alice Cooper as the big patriot which Cooper apparently is in real life. Krueger is also interested in presenting images that have nonspecific moods and ideas that people can interpret themselves. I really liked Krueger's work because it dealt with bringing together many things that people don't normally think could go together, and then making something special out of them, which is something I really admire and think is terrific. Overall, I felt his lecture was good, and he clearly has a personal connection with his work that really shows through. His use of computer technology in some of his work, too, I thought was really neat to see.

December 10, 2007

C.M.J.'s Artist Presentation - Kraftwerk

Kraftwerk is a pioneering electronic music band from Germany, debuting in 1970, who is known for leading innovation in technology and music production that has affected numerous artists and influenced countless genres either directly or indirectly. The band's live show is a big part of their activity in the music scene, finding many ways to bring their songs to life in new and improvisational ways, which has furthered their creativity in making future music. Their songs are usually either instrumental or contain simplistic lyrics that deal with celebrating technology or everyday life in Europe. They were revolutionary and greatly ahead of their time, and their sound changed the music industry forever.

November 26, 2007

C.M.J.'s Final Project Proposal

For my final project, I am thinking of doing something that examines people as they grow up, and stereotypical trends that they can fall into, all treated sardonically and satirically. I will employ narration to help explain the different scenarios and what is going on, pictures of pop culture being discussed, and acted out scenes to depict the youth and their experiences. There will be an overarching theme to the whole thing, poking fun at convention and the perils of adhering to a life based around rites of passage and the status quo of conformed society. It will documentary-style in nature, or rather, mockumentary, while still making observations about life that can ring all too true.

November 21, 2007

7 Ate 9: A Musical Number

When I first started coming up with my ideas for a stop motion movie, I wanted to do something that was creative, unique, weird, and funny, and after a long time of brainstorming, I came up with a strange idea based on the old children's joke, "Why is 6 afraid of 7? Because 7 ate 9." I then came up with the story of a land of magic numbers where the number 7 hunts down the number 9, and eats him. The number 6 becomes afraid, and he calls me to come kill the number 7. I decided I would tell the story in the form of a musical-esque song that I would write and record. I first wanted to use cardboard cutouts for the numbers, but then decided it would be easier with using a white board and markers. I recorded the song, filmed the animation, and then filmed my part in the movie. I moved in slow increments and inserted the shots into the movie in order to create stop motion for my parts, as well. I then filmed me singing the song in the same way. I put the telling of the joke at the beginning of the movie, so that people would understand the concept, and then ended it with credits and the bizarre song "Revolution 9" by The Beatles, which I thought was a fitting and weird ending to the already strange movie. In the end, I like the way the movie came together, and I feel it is something that is pretty different. It was a fun and enjoyable process, overall.