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May 7, 2008

Blog 8/9 - Commentary on MDG Presentations

Kelly Berry and Broc Blegen’s honors presentation on Goal 8, Develop a Global Partnership for Development, focused on Mogadishu, Somolia. As for their presentation, the heavy use and intense color caught my attention, however I disliked the size and font of text. I thought they touched on some very interesting and inventive points, but could have done more with presenting the ideas in an exciting manor rather than in a monotone.
I was interested in this group’s ideas and research related to technology because this was how our group chose to think about goal 1 of eradicating extreme poverty and hunger. They made good points that wireless technology is in use today and that taking advantage of this technology would be better than implementing a land infrastructure.
Looking to Kenya as an example offered many of the similar options we found to apply to Mali. In the past ten years, Kenya has developed private communication systems, while skipping early technologies (3 people used cell phones per every person using landlines). They had to deal with an unstable government, which connected back to Somalia. The newer wireless technology offered ease and a cost-efficient solution. If Somalia was able to develop a wireless Internet system, it would be cheaper than the cost of using traditional telecommunication equipment.
In a similar way to our group, they wanted to use this technology to stimulate learning in hope of building this global partnership. I love the point they made that was children are the most important natural resource. They wanted to “use children’s natural curiosity to stimulate learning.? Each child would get its own laptop (having a model in class was extra fun and captivating). These are redesigned small green fun-looking laptops.
As I second part of their presentation, they concentrated on energy fuels; however, the most valuable information to me was the use of technology geared towards the children.

Allison Prange, Kyle Fitzpatrick, Amanda MacDonald, and Kurtez Ellis presentation on Goal #, provide environmental sustainability focused on what we can do as citizens to better help this issue and therefore, our globe. I think the design of the website (www.pran0024.worldpress.com) and brochure were very appropriate for this goal as getting the information out there is vital. The Internet is a source that is used worldwide or is being implemented as a way of building up economies. Brochures are available at an assortment of places, for example, at the University of Minnesota; students get brochures handed to them daily. Some may see this as negative, for if the majority of students are like me, they just throw them away (maybe I should recycle!). However, I found their design captivating. I like the square fold out version that was a unique style. The design was also intensely colored but minimalist, which allowed me to flip threw it without feeling overwhelmed with text. A+ for the brochure! As for the informative part of the presentation, I would say that this was the easiest presentation to listen to. They did an excellent job of finding information that would pertain to me! I do not mean to sound selfish, but again the overwhelming feeling of doing huge things is not present, but rather, something small that I can start to do and influence others to do (much like what they expected). For example, they made eight points for individuals to do: recycle, minimize light energy use, minimize appliance energy, heat homes efficiently, wear bamboo fiber clothing, have a personal garden/compost pile, drive a hybrid car, use biofuels.
The only criticism would be to think more broadly about what ideas have not been done and what direction we can go in the future to achieve this goal. However, until people can start doing small things, big ideas will not necessarily succeed.

Finishing these projects, I reviewed the deadline for the Millennium Goals that being 2015. I felt people offered plausible solutions and emphasized the need to educate as part of accomplishing these goals, but most never looked if it is plausible to reach these goals in seven years. I guess I still do not know if this is possible.

March 31, 2008

Three attempts at possibilities...

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March 12, 2008

Attention Grabbing Design

I want the way our group presents our issue to be attention grabbing and show the urgency of our problem: to eradicate extreme poverty and hunger. As I looked on the web for inspiring images, I developed a collection of things that I want to incorporate. By doing this, I more importantly learned what ways of presenting an image, idea, thing, etc do not work.

Color:

I am a girl who loves color: hot pink, neon green, dandelion yellow, but the one turn-off about color is too much and too busy. A lot of websites and brochures choose color schemes that are monochromatic, warm, cool, bright, pastels that balance each other well, but others create an overwhelming feeling with mix-matched and seemingly thoughtless color palette. Here are designs and graphics I think illustrate a good harmony of color…

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www.bestieboys.com
This color scheme has a lot of bright colors, although creates a good harmony by filling negative space with black. Bright colors have the ability to overwhelm some, but I think the black and white basis with a splash of color serves this website’s presentation well.

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http://www.printmag.com/
This colored image is a fun and warm color scheme. The negative space remains white. Any other color would distract from the image and create a sense of busyness (too much going on).

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http://www.thebeatles.com/core/home
I think this website does one of the best balances with color. The top part of the website is attention grabbing with the use of color and brightness. The color also gives the website CHARACTER! The rest of the website is done in a neutral grayscale and simple text which does not overwhelm the user and encourages the curiosity of navigating the website further.

Geometric Layout:

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http://www.greenpeace.org/apple/
I like the incorporation of text and image here in horizontal blocks. The text fits a certain rectangle. The apple creates the largest rectangle. The bottom three images create a series of images that match the length of the largest rectangular image. The clean lines create simplicity and an instant ease for the viewer.

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www.CHFhq.org
This geometric layout keeps with the same simple lines as well as rotating images both horizontally and vertically.

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http://www.graphis.com/
The text on the right matches the image presented on the left column. A successful way of presenting text and image in a geometric layout.

Image with text:

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http://www.cmykmag.com/
I enjoy this image with incorporating a design and text. The image is not too busy to distract from the text, it is detailed but done with lighter blues, which creates simplicity. The image complements the text well and adds intrigue.

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http://www.greenpeace.org/apple/
The use of small diagrams and images breaks up the cluster of text, giving the viewer a break from being bombarded with information.

Overlapping:

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http://www.cmykmag.com/
Overlapping creates a sense of depth to a two-dimensional picture plane and for me is an instant attention grabber!

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http://www.printmag.com/

Navigation tools:

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http://www.cmykmag.com/
Both these images are the table of contents from CMYK magazine. They follow a geometric pattern and mix text and image to reference a page. I like how they put page numbers in white over the images.

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http://www.cmykmag.com/
I like the idea of 1, 2, 3, 4, represented with the domino type squares. An interesting twist on simple counting.

Full view next to a zoomed in image:

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I know this image does not present two views of the same object, but I enjoy layouts where one side of the page, the left, contains the full image of the object, and the other side, the right, contains a zoomed in detail of the object.

Movement:

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http://www.printmag.com/
Both these images are intriguing to me because they provoke movement. Anything in a way of presenting that provokes movement is good, it encourages the viewer to continue to explore and absorb information. The photograph on the left directly shows movement by the blurred image of the arms. The lines and mixing of drawing and photograph create movement on the left. The image on the left reminds me of exploded diagrams of buildings, and the photographs being details of that certain part… something interesting the explore.

Timeline:

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http://www.greenpeace.org/apple/
I think an important part of this project is to portray a feasible solution and therefore a timeline would demonstrate this consideration. I liked the use of the timeline on the apple Greenpeace website and it’s simplicity.

Simplicity:

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www.google.com
Yes it is google, but google is my number 1 website. Don’t know the answer? Google it. Why google it when you could yahoo it or ask jeeves it? Because it is the most simple design of a search engine. Simple = User Friendly!

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http://www.miniusa.com/crm/roofstudio/
The website design makes the mini cooper look sleek and sexy. The black space with a small amount of white text creates a clean look. The simple above view of the car adds intrigue, which portrays the sexiness of the car.

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http://www.caddesignusa.com/
I think this website is an excellent portrayal of incorporating a geometric layout, text, image, movement… and it makes me want to see into the design more.

March 6, 2008

Something Has to Stick With You

The built environment affects who I am as well as you too, and allows us to connect with different places based on feeling similar emotions. For example, for me growing up in the same house for the first sixteen years of my life was a comfortable feeling and today I may sit on a chair, enter a building or visit a city that resembles my first home in some way and feel an automatic sense of comfort.

I will never forget my tree house in that first house; I built it one summer with my dad. Every summer, I would beg my friends to sleepover so we could camp out in the tree house (of course, only 15 feet away from a sliding glass door that could protect me from almost any weather condition in Wisconsin). The trees were absolutely beautiful in that neighborhood, many varieties and full of foliage. They formed arches over the streets that provided desired shade in the summer heat. Similarly to this image, when I visited Mendoza, Argentina this past January, I felt an immediate connection and comfort… every street had those same grand arches with trees of full foliage.

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Back to memories of my first house, I always sat in the back rooms of my house; the facades were almost all window, allowing me to see the sun and the gardens, which to me defined my home. I was never proud of the bland architecture of that first house; it served its function as a shelter but not aesthetically. Those qualities of daylight, color and plants allow me to connect and feel that comfort in everyday life today.

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For example, Bruegger’s Bagels on the corner of Washington and Oak Street is my sanctuary for studying. It is the only place where I can study without disruption or constant repositioning, simply because the atmosphere is comforting to me. The positioning on the corner in regards to the surrounding buildings and the two glass walls that form the corner constantly allow the flow of sunlight into the building. No matter if it is 98 degrees outside or -10 degrees, the sunlight is the only thing I need to feel comfortable and connect with those blissful childhood memories.

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As for color, it is what allows me to survive in my double occupancy however the size of a single dorm room here at the U. At first when walking into the room, I was shocked! I would have to be living in psych ward room with mis-matched furniture in the space the size of a bathroom WITH ANOTHER PERSON! Trying not to be such a pessimist my first day on campus, we started to make our beds. We both had teals for sheets and some splashes of hot pink, purple, white and black for accents (at least we liked the same colors). After hitting the infamous Target run on the first day, we got a large hot pink area rug, a smaller purple rug, bright teal pillows for our futon, and some funky lights. (And to make it even better we have a fish and that is perfect for a person who needs to be around water… grew up around it and IN IT!) Anyway, color and scheme are important to the design world and a means of survival by brightening the day (literally) instead of allowing one to dwell in the negatives, which often happens in a bland and neutral area. In those circumstances, my energy is drained from me and I am not comfortable and therefore, not myself. It is like putting an English speaker in a Macedonian speaking place, the English speaker will not feel comfortable being theirself because they do not understand their surroundings.

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And while I have spent most of the time explaining how the built environment allows me to draw connections to other memories, specifically from childhood, and therefore feel comfortable, I am also influenced by the harshness and ‘discomfort of the new’ I feel in places that I do not feel those connections. In those places I am forced to experience something new and whether it scared me, intrigued me, educated me, angered me, made me laugh, etc. I will be able to take that experience with me. Buildings have the ability, much like art, to produce multiple interpretations of the experience! And it is fair to say experiences shape you, therefore if you can gain an experience from presenting yourself in/near the built environment that experience can shape you.


As for the oppositions…

1. Man vs. Nature:
As I talked about, my tree house is an example of this opposition. It is pearched in a tree, much like in lecture how some buildings are pearched onto the mountainside. I also talked about how the tree house is built into the tree and is closer to the sunlight, which I love so much.

2. Climate vs. Enclosure:
As I said, my house could withstand almost anything the Wisconsin weather would through at it and being enclosed in it would protect me.

3. Gravity vs. Movement:
The construction of stairs going from my (current) house to the lake is an example of this opposition.

4. Permanence vs. Entropy:
This was also explained as time vs. timelessness. With this interpretation, it is represented through my first house. Although I do not live there anymore (but did for 16 years) the memories of that house still exist with me. The building’s presence continues to presence itself in my life and that is timelessness.

5. Mass vs. Form:
The tree house is more form because it is simple in that it is only what is needed to serve its purpose. My house is an example of architecture as bulk or mass. It was a house for four, but could have sheltered many more than four.

6. Material vs. Tool:
As talked about in lecture, the process of building the tree house was collective, my dad and I built it (like barn raising done by the Amish)


>>(I used only my photographs)

February 27, 2008

Ideally I would...

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Honestly if I was completely released from the constraints of the architecture school program, I would join the peace corp and be an artist the rest of my life. First of all, this is a fantasy… or reality for those who can eliminate the factors of money and time. And second, it might sound cliché and seemingly impossible for a girl that has a darn right girly blog, but it is true!

The other day at lunch, one of my friends randomly commented on the way I dress, “you are either at one end of the spectrum or the other.? So for those who only see me “put together? believe it or not, this is what I would do.

Let me start by ranting about what is so appealing about the Peace Corps. For a girl who loves to travel, these are just some of the countries I would like to go and experience: Argentina, Belize, Bolivia, Botswana, Brazil, Chile, China, Colombia, Congo, Costa Rica, Czech Republic, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Ethiopia, Ghana, Guatemala, Honduras, India, Jamaica, Kenya, Libya, The Republic of Macedonia, Madagascar, Mali, Morocco, Nicaragua, Nigeria, Pakistan, Paraguay, Peru, Rwanda, Somalia, South Africa, Thailand, Turkey, Uganda, Venezuela, Zimbabwe… I can travel the world and help someone out at the same time. Programs include education, youth outreach, HIV/AIDS assistance, health and environmental.

Although the housing situations look less desirable than what I am lucky to have now, I would give up the extra commodities of my current life just to be able to taste other cultures and get to experience the places not only for their “Top Ten Tourist Attractions.?

And as a way to document my experiences, I would keep a journal of daily situations and things I learned, quotes I enjoyed, sparks of inspiration, etc. And in my way of dealing with that, I would like to create art that is personal yet that others can learn from and gain an understanding of my experience. In my life, my work already concerns social commentary from my environment...

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Usually Wednesday nights are grueling after a 3.5 lecture on the basic concepts of art, yet today I left inspired. We watched a documentary called Voice to Vision III (there are four documentaries), and it focuses on David Feinberg working with two Romanian holocaust survivors and two Rwandan genocide survivors expressing their stories through art. The finished pieces reveal their story in a miraculous and talkative way. Another important point it hit on was that someone can hold onto their memories, but it is up to them to reach out and teach others about what they feel is important... and art is my way of doing so.
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* Left: painting created by holocaust survivors
* Right: painting created by genocide survivors

As I have mentioned in previous blogging, my mission work experiences are what have stuck with me… the fear, sadness, unstoppable laughter, relationship bonds, etc. They have let me see the realities the poor face everyday. They have let me help someone in someway. They have given me the determination and curiosity to succeed and learn more about society. It is in those circumstances that I do not need the Guess Jeans or mascara to make me feel important/comfortable in society… it’s the humbling affect that allows me to interact with those I normally wouldn’t and help them as they help me become more globally aware. And in this way (as well as exhibitions of my masterpieces to be created) that I will effect the surrounding environment. And to me, that’s peachy.

February 20, 2008

Inspirations...

Let me start off by saying, my mission work that I have done with my high school youth group has led me to the values I have today. I have seen both the harsh and privileged ways people live in rural and urban areas. I have sorted food that goes through pantries, served the food to the homeless, repaired a house that barely sheltered them from a light rain fall or windy day and most importantly, I have received looks of astonishment from the less fortunate amazed that I am willing to help and the words thank you.

“The gift of silence is prayer.
The gift of prayer is faith.
The gift of faith is love.
The gift of love is service.
The gift of service is peace.?
~ Mother Theresa
Although this quote does not relate specifically to one goal, it is an influential quote for me that encompass my interest to help others whom are less fortunate.

In the times of our presidential election, here is a quote from Obama…
obamas_quote.jpg

Choice 1: Goal 1 - Eradicate Extreme Poverty & Hunger

“Poverty can teach lessons that privilege cannot.?
~Jack Klugman
Although I come from privilege, I have put forth effort to work with those in poverty… those experiences gave me my values today.

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(The top picture is my sister serving food on a recent mission trip to Lexington, KY. The next picture is a picture of the house and people I worked with on a mission trip 1.5 years ago to the Rosebud Indian Reservation in South Dakota. The next picture is from the KY mission trip, we played a game to understand poverty. The chairs symbolized kids, heavy and had to be taken with us, some people were in wheel chairs, others blind... I was a single mother with three kids. The last one, is me painting a home for african refugees in KY)
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(These pictures are taken from my recent trip to Chile)


The harshness of this fact and most people do not even know…
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… 2 people have died from hunger in the time it took you to read it.

"While they're standing in the welfare lines,
crying at the doorsteps of those armies of salvation,
wasting time in the unemployment lines,
sitting around waiting for a promotion.
Poor people gonna rise up
and get their share
Poor people gonna rise up
and take what's theirs"
~ Lyrics by Tracy Chapman, “Talking About A Revolution?


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This poster bring out the truth… the shocking numbers and that if we choose not to acknowledge it as a problem, it will NOT RESOLVE ITSELF!

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“ It is a poverty to decide that a child must die so that you may live as you wish.?
~ Mother Theresa
This chart puts the numbers to the continent…
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And these pictures put reality of the continent in your mind…
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“Poverty is not a disgrace, but it's terribly inconvenient.?
~Milton Berle
I agree strongly with this quote, however, I have seen the effects of our own government looking upon poverty as a disgrace and choosing to hide and cover-up the problems of homelessness.


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(Recent distress in Kenya)


Choice 2: Goal 7 - Ensure Environmental Sustainability

"We have not inherited the world from our forefathers -- we have borrowed it from our children."
- Kashmiri proverb

The cool thing about this idea is that we are maintaining it for future generations; we are thinking and choosing to care about the conditions and opportunities of future generations.
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"In the long term, the economy and the environment are the same thing. If it's unenvironmental it is uneconomical. That is the rule of nature."
- Mollie Beattie
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… it can help the poor survive, it can help the economy to strive and can help the environment to subsist. Everyone can be positively affected by this knowledge!


Choice 3: Goal 3 - Promote gender equality and empower women

Honestly, I love this quote…
“Women belong in the house... and the Senate.?
~Author Unknown

… some areas are getting there:
for example, India’s first elected woman president
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our first woman presidential candidate
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… however, reality in some areas is still abuse and oppression


This image was presented with the phrase, “Veiled Freedom,? a symbol of women’s’ oppression.
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"And since we all came from a woman
Got our name from a woman and
Our game from a woman
I wonder why we take from our woman
Why we rape our woman
Do we hate our woman?"
~ Lyrics from 2PAC, “Keep Your Head Up?

Sources:
• http://www.wilderness.org/Library/Documents/Sustainability_Quotes.cfm
• http://www.quotegarden.com/feminism.html
• http://www.cultureofpeace.org/quotes/women-quotes.htm
• http://existentialpunk.typepad.com/photos/uncategorized/2007/06/14/obamas_quote.jpg
• http://www.photoshopdiva.com/images/new_gallerys/politcal%20words/images/8%2075%25%20hunger.jpg
• http://www.foodfirst.org/images/upload/12-myths-1484_400x320.jpg
• http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/keywords/poverty.html
• http://english.people.com.cn/200602/19/images/Hillary.jpg
• http://www.abc.net.au/reslib/200707/r161940_594610.jpg
• http://www.verhuellte-freiheit.de/page4/files/page4_1.jpg
• http://images.google.com/imgres?imgurl=http://www.bbc.co.uk/worldservice/specials/images/1426_goals/414540_b.jpg&imgrefurl=http://www.bbc.co.uk/worldservice/specials/1426_goals/page10.shtml&h=300&w=300&sz=28&hl=en&start=68&sig2=S6g8juEIYM9vj6IK6APIbg&um=1&tbnid=0pHV9uJKj5NrvM:&tbnh=116&tbnw=116&ei=t-G7R5fdCIeOigG677SECQ&prev=/images%3Fq%3Denvironmental%2Bsustainability%26start%3D60%26ndsp%3D20%26um%3D1%26hl%3Den%26client%3Dsafari%26rls%3Den%26sa%3DN


As for a playlist, here are some songs that have lyrics focused on change:
1. Waiting On The World To Change – John Mayor
2. Million Voices – Wyclef Shaun
3. Where Is The Love? – Black Eyed Peas *
4. With My Two Hands – Ben Harper
5. If Everyone Cared – Nickelback ***
6. Shelter From The Storm – Bob Dylan
7. Blowin In The Wind – Bob Dylan
8. Ghetto – Akon **
9. Eleanor Rigby – Beatles
10. So Much Trouble In The World – Bob Marley
11. Sleep Through The Static – Jack Johnson
12. Revolution – Beatles
13. My Vietnam – Pink
14. Dear Mr. President – Pink *
15. Rockin In The Free World – Neil Young
16. Calling All Angels – Train
17. Message In A Bottle – Sting
18. Strength, Courage and Wisdom – India Arie **
19. Little Weapon – Lupe Fiasco
20. Ghetto Gospel – 2PAC and Elton John
21. Don’t Give Up – Bono and Alicia Keys ***
22. If There’s A God in Heaven – Elton John
23. Keep Your Head Up – 2PAC
24. Video – India Arie
25. Cry Freedom – Dave Matthews Band
26. Redemption Song – Bob Marley
27. War – Bob Marley
28. Another Day in Paradise – Phil Collins
29. Johnny Ryall – Beastie Boys
30. On Dark Street – Elton John
31. Seek Up – Dave Matthews Band
32. Talking About a Revolution

** Lyrics are below.
*** Check out Music Videos on YouTube... inspirational!


Ghetto
These streets remind me of quicksand (quicksand)
When your on it you'll keep goin down (goin down)
And there's noone to hold on too
And there's noone to pull you out
You keep on fallin (falling)
And noone can here you callin
So you end up self destructing
On the corner with the tuli on the waist line just got outta the bing doin state time
Teeth marks on my back from the canine
Dark Memories of when there was no sunshine
Cause they said that I wouldn't make it
(I remember like yesterday)
Holdin on to what god gave me

[Chorus]

Cause thats the life when ur
Living in the (ghetto)and
Eating in the (ghetto)or
Sleeping in the (ghetto) (ghetto)
Cause thats the life when ur
Living in the (ghetto)and
Eating in the (ghetto)or
Sleeping in the (ghetto, ghetto, ghetto)

[Verse two]

No need to cherish luxuries (cause everythin' come and go)
Even the life that you have is borrowed
(Cause your not promised tomorrow)
So live your life as if everydays' gon be your last
Once you move forward can't go back
Best prepare to remove your past

Cause ya gotta be willin to pray
Yea There gotta be (there gotta be) a better way oh
Yea ya gotta be willing to pray
Cause there gotta be (there gotta be) a better day (ay)

Whoever said that this struggle would stop today
A lot of niggas dead or locked away
Teenage Women growing up with aids

[Chorus]

Cause thats the life when your
Living in the (ghetto) oh
Eating in the (ghetto) or
Sleeping in the (ghetto, ghetto)
Thats the life when ur
Living in the (ghetto)oh
Eating in the (ghetto) or
Sleeping in the (ghetto, ghetto, ghetto)

[Bridge]

Gun shots every night in the (ghetto)
Crooked cops on sight in the (ghetto)
Every day is a fight in the (ghetto)
(oh oh oh oh oh) (ghetto)
Got kids to feed in the (ghetto)
Selling coke and weed in the (ghetto)
Every day somebody bleed in the (ghetto)
(oh oh oh oh oh) (ghetto)

[Chorus]

Thats the life when your
Living in the (ghetto)oh
Living by the (ghetto)oh
Eating in the (ghetto, ghetto)
Thats the life when your
Living in the (ghetto)oh
Sleeping in the (ghetto)
Living in the (ghetto, ghetto, ghetto)

(wooohhoohh)

Strength, Courage and Wisdom
Inside my head there lives a dream that I want to see in the sun
Behind my eyes there lives a me that I've been hiding for much too long
'Cause I've been, too afraid to let it show
'Cause I'm scared of the judgment that may follow
Always putting off my living for tomorrow
It's time to step out on faith, I've gotta show my faith
It's been illusive for so long, but freedom is mine today
I've gotta step out on faith, It's time to show my faith
Procrastination had me down but look what I have found, I found

[Chorus]
Strength, courage, and wisdom
And it's been inside of me all along,
Strength, courage, and wisdom
Inside of me

Behind my pride there lives a me, that knows humility
Inside my voice there is a soul, and in my soul there is a voice
But I've been, too afraid to make a choice
'Cause I'm scared of the things that I might be missing
Running too fast to stop and listen

It's time to step out on faith, I've gotta show my faith
It's been illusive for so long but freedom is mine today
I've gotta step out on faith it's time to show my faith
Procrastination had me down but look what I have found, I found

[Chorus]
Strength, courage, and wisdom
And it's been inside of me all along,
Strength, courage, and wisdom
Inside of me

[Bridge]
I close my eyes and I think of all the things that I want to see
'Cause I know, now that I've opened up my heart I know that
Anything I want can be, so let it be, so let it be:.

[Chorus]
Strength, courage, and wisdom
It's been inside of me all along,
Strength, courage, wisdom
It's been inside of me all along, everyday I'm praying for:

[Chorus]
Strength, courage, and wisdom
To find me, yeah,
Strength, courage, and wisdom
Inside of me

Vamp
I found it in me, I found it finally
I'm sure to keep it' cause I like it, I say thank you

February 12, 2008

A Garden Is Not Just A Garden

“The artist has potential as a cultural worker, a coordinator of projects that build community as part of the artistic endeavor. This paradigm doesn’t replace individual artists and their work but becomes another strategy for artists to use their creativity while encouraging others to do the same.?
~ Christine Baeumler

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Christine Baeumler, a faculty member of the University of Minnesota, has worked on a number of urban ecological restoration projects in St.Paul. Her projects seek to “ improve the ecological condition of urban green spaces, increase natural habitat, mitigate storm water pollution, and engage community members in the creative process.?

She is working on the East side Maria Bates Rain Garden with a tile walkway along with the East Side Conservation Corps composed of mostly Hmong youth as well as university students.

The current 900 square foot garden project is located in the Swede Hollow neighborhood. It collects the polluted water before entering the Mississippi River. They use native plants to remove the pollutants such as oil, grease, heavy metals and sediment from the running water. Therefore, by the time the water reaches the Mississippi River, the water is cleaner than before.

What aspects of the project resonate to me…
It solves an ecological problem as well as serving the local residents with an outdoor place for teaching and relaxing.

Part of the beauty of this social design project is that it served the community and environment by means of the community’s engagement. Students at Dayton’s Bluff Elementary School planted the plants. Local community members keep up the garden. As I said previously, she is working with university students and a Hmong youth group to create a new rain garden, the Maria Bates Rain Garden.

garden.jpg

And to conclude, I had know idea that plants had the potential to soak up the pollutants and act as a cleanser of running water. To me, that is pretty darn cool! A GARDEN IS NOT JUST A GARDEN, IT SERVES MORE THAN JUST ONE PURPOSE.


Resources:

* http://summerstudio.pbwiki.com/Christine-Baeumler-Brief

* http://www.nrdc.org/water/pollution/lid/lid3.asp

* http://www.visitsaintpaul.com/DAM_public/7960.pdf


To explore my interest in her environmental more, I looked into some other projects…


Swede Hollow Historical Forest:

This projects focus was “how do we maintain the "natural" aspects of the site and still reference the complex cultural and industrial histories…How can we accomplish this aesthetically and without being overly didactic and intrusive? “

This area is a twenty-two acre City Park. This project is ongoing with the focus of replacing invasive species with native plants. The community was heavily involved: St. Paul Parks Department, Como Park Conservatory Program youth (that researched plants and a plan), FORECAST Public Artworks (that assisted in creating a granite circle from recycled city street debris).


Bruce Vento Nature Sanctuary: “The inspiration for this project was to reconnect Swede Hollow Park to the Mississippi River.?

For Nine years following the buy of the polluted twenty-seven acre area along the Mississippi River, the goal was to restore the area to the beauty and purity of the land when the Dakota resided here.

7960.tiff

The committee worked with the Dakota to create a plan for this sacred area, centered on the petroglyph images in Carver’s cave. Due to the agonizing history between the Dakota and settlers, “this project evolved into an opportunity for social as well as ecological healing.?

February 4, 2008

A City's Attempt or Disregard For Reaching Nature's Equilibrium...

Andy Goldsworthy has said, “to understand the Energy in life, in me – that Energy flows through landscape…? This emphasizes the important understanding that everything in our environment, whether nature itself, human, animal, industry, urban development, etc are connected.

Perhaps Andy Goldsworthy acknowledges this again with his approach to making each piece of work, "looking, touching, material, place and form are all inseparable from the resulting work. It is difficult to say where one stops and another begins. The energy and space around a material are as important as the energy and space within… When I touch a rock, I am touching and working the space around it. It is not independent of its surroundings, and the way it sits tells how it came to be there."


INSPIRATIONAL THEMES FROM ANDY GOLDSWORTHY…
The main theme that I drew from Andy Goldsworthy’s work is that energy in the environment is in continual flow, a cycle which remains constant throughout.

This theme is exemplified through Goldsworthy’s view of his work after he completes it. As nature takes its affect on the piece, it forms and becomes something new in the cycle yet still composed of the same materials. The original piece is never destroyed or decomposed; it merely changes into a new creation.

My favorite works of Goldsworthy's are when the rivers direction of flow or the sea’s tide takes affect on the work. It is beautiful to watch the collected and carefully placed leaves slowly disconnect and spread as it continues to flow with the river. Some examples are,
b1.jpg
http://www.artline.ro/admin/_files/photogallery/maple_leaf_lines.jpg
b2.jpeg
http://greenmuseum.org/c/aen/Images/I/iris-l.jpeg

When I first started to relate to the ideas of flow, energy, cycle, and connection to cities, ideas related to economic strength, power and balance came to mind.

The first analogy that came to mind was if the world was composed of two cities, one rich and one poor, the rich city would be unable to help the poor city reach the same “richness? of the rich city. In order for the poor city to gain economic strength, the rich city would have to give up a little bit of its economic strength. In theory, the amount of economic strength is constant. Either one has a lot and the other has little or they both have relative equal middle amounts.

As I began to think of this in terms of today’s modern cities, I realized that the city is not a “closed system.? Therefore, the amount of energy in a city does not have to remain constant. It can gain energy by taking it from its surroundings, thus destroying nature around us, like forests. However the level of greed for each city in taking from nature’s surroundings varies drastically and this is what I chose to investigate.

A “GREEN CITY?
I examined the town of Greensburg, Kansas, whose intention to rebuild their town after the destruction by a colossal tornado is to build green. The term green implies building to maximize energy efficiency, durability, health and that which “enhances the environment.?

Five other goals for this community according to the official website of Greensburg, Kansas are to:
1. “Treat each drop of water as a precious resource?
2. “Improve quality of life by promoting a healthy and active lifestyle?
3. “Promote high level of efficiency in new construction and look to renewable options for generation?
4. Harvest “Greenburg’s vast wind resources?
5. “Build a town that encourages interaction between residents, welcomes guests and serves as a
model community… be durable, healthy, and efficient… examples of green practices that are built
to last.?

This community was focused on reusing what they could within their own community without taking from surrounding nature. It concentrated on trying to be true to the nature of the area. The community attempted to find and understand the harmony of energy in nature so that nature's energy could support a community too.

A Greensburg park has been reconstructed with these ideals in mind...
b3.jpeg
http://www.greensburgks.org/resident/photo-gallery/sunset-acres-park-10-26-07/100_1638.JPG/view

THE MAJORITY OF CITIES, “LESS GREEN?:
To further my examination, I searched for the “Least Green City.? From the BBC website, http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/7057346.stm, I found the article, UK cities' green ratings compared. I was not so much shocked that the “least green city? needed 3.62 planets to sustain their habits; it was that the “most green? cities of the UK still required more than two and three quarters planets to sustain their lifestyle. If the world continues growing, which it will, and cities keep developing, nature’s resources cannot provide enough for all of us to continue living the way we do.

Yet, many cities’ priorities are economic development, poverty, and politics rather than implementing energy-efficient lifestyles. Yes there are options for people to use such inventions, but for those who are uneducated, or not financially stable enough to replace existing applications, the energy-efficient options are disregarded. Cities take more and more from nature’s beauty to fulfill the roles of industry, comfortable-living, transportation, etc and yet the majority does not realize the expense on the surrounding environment. Consideration of harmony and balance, like the goal of Greensburg, KS, goes without thought in the midst of urban chaos.

According to Colin Butfield with the WWF, "The battle for the environment will be won or lost in our cities. They have the highest potential for eco-living due to local facilities, public transport links, dense housing and shared public resources."

b4.jpg
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/05/070501081737.htm
(The above picture is of Los Angeles, CA. In May 2007, according to the science daily, LA ranked as the most polluted city in the nation. Los Angeles takes too much from outside sources and has no place to put the pollutants from their energy-guzzling processes. LA may have forgotten, although the fossil fuels might disappear, the energy and composing atoms do not.)


CONCLUDING…
According to the ecological saying “everything is connected to everything else.? The flow between nature’s forests and cities is all linked, a cycle. On our planet both nature and city cannot grow in energy, one comes at the cost of another. Personally, I would like to find a harmony with nature because who would rather breath the smog of an energy-guzzling city over the cleanliness of an energy-conscious place.