December 18, 2007

Manu's Final Project

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November 28, 2007

Critique for Emanuela

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November 27, 2007

Critique for Emanuela

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My critique of Jenna’s video

I think that Jenna’s video has a good start. From what I have seen and read so far about her stop motion project she is sticking to her original idea. Her idea of presenting a perfect world as a world in which she can split herself into several Jennas to be able to perform several tasks at once is very funny. She is approaching the subject from a different angle than others in the class did. But I do see a parallel between her project and Grant’s video. Both would like to do many things at once. Grant came up with the idea of stopping time and Jenna used the idea of multiplying a person so that she can do more things in a smaller amount of time. It is interesting how both explore the same concept of a perfect world, only Grant explores it with time and Jenna uses space.
As far as I can tell at this point, Jenna is exploring space well since her shots are all displayed in different rooms, which adds to the idea of wishing to be everywhere. She also uses a combination of video and stop-animation in her project, which I think is a great idea. With those two styles she will be able to explore different ideas of time. She could use the stop motion effect to better illustrate the fast pace of time and the video for the normal time sequences.
I would like to see the completed version since she has started with an entertaining idea. I would imagine that showing multiple views on one screen, showing the various Jennas at once might help to get her message across. Another point that I would like to mention concerns the audio. Until now, people’s voices in the video seem to be too choppy and they sometimes cut out all of the sudden. It would be nice to see some more attention paid to the audio so that it is less confusing.
In conclusion, Jenna’s video is a clever take on the assignment and shows potential. I think that if the video were finished, it would be quite amusing.

November 26, 2007

A critique of Mike's video

I enjoyed that Mike’s video concentrates mainly on music. As the video starts, we see a person walking into a chaotic room. For the first scene, Mike used a rhythmic, loud drumbeat. This reminded me of a parade, which gives the video a theatrical and circus-like quality. The theatrical effect is then reinforced by the lights, which lead the viewer to a blank board. From here the viewer enters an imaginary world that opens up with several images such as disorderly placed letters and designs and then shows us drawings of instruments that are played by a real hand. First, the hand tests every instrument and then the hand plays them all together producing a unique melody. Mike concludes his piece by leaving the imaginary world and reentering into the room that was shown at the beginning of the video, which gives the impression that the viewer is pulled back to reality. This time, reality looks clean and the loud music is replaced by the new melody created in the fiction world.
From this narrative part of the video I understand that Mike’s intention was to show a perfect world as a creative world where creating music has a liberating effect from the messy world that surrounds us every day.
With respect to the visual part of the video, I think his use of space is effective in that he leads the viewer from one space to another, implying different worlds. The choppiness of the images created by the stop motion adds a humorous quality to the video, which goes well with the parade-like opening and ending. Some of the best shots that stand out in his piece are the shots of the real hand playing the instruments. That those images stick out helps the viewer to really understand where Mike has put the focal point in his piece, which is his understanding of a perfect world.
The only negative critique that I have is that I did not really understand what the first images that were drawn on the board represented. I think that it would have made more sense if there were already chaotic images on the board to start with that the hand could then wipe out. This solution might more clearly illustrate the cleansing and purifying effect of the imaginary world. Furthermore, this would work well with the beginning and end of the movie in which he starts with a messy room and ends with a clean room.
In conclusion, the video effectively gets its message across and shows a very creative solution to the assignment where context and form work well together in showing Mikes unique, musical world as a liberation from chaotic and messy surroundings.

Critique for Emanuela

Manu’s video is very well crafted. It presents an industrial world created of both clay and drawings in which a single subject is freed from the busyness by their own state of mind. Starting out surrounded by a mass of people, we see a woman trudging along among them. As more people keep passing her by, the camera zooms closer to her, following her to a busy intersection. From here, we zoom in and enter a mental state of bliss, marked by the clear switch from black and white to color (like the Wizard of Oz!). In this dreamscape colorful pinwheels, flying fish, and colored streamers surround our subject. And as she draws back to the real world, a sea of commotion again surrounds her; only this time, she is still happy in her tranquil state of mind.

I liked the narrative form that the project took, creating this circular trip in and out of this character’s mind. By starting and ending with the same images, we as the viewer, feel both the sense of completion and the effect that this state of mind had on the character. Along these same lines, the sense of space felt in this world is very well portrayed. We get a depth of field with the perspective drawings of buildings, and the characters appear and disappear in what seems like a huge expanse of unseen space. In the pure creation of such a world, I would say that Manu was very effective with her project. Aiding this claim, I’ll move to the sound aspect of the film.

The sound here is very beneficial to the project; without it, it would completely loose its effect. The viewer gets a great sense of the sound fully encompassing and taking over the space on the screen, which has the effect of placing the viewer in the scene and in turn, surrounding them. A great element of the sound is the transition between the busy surroundings into the state of mind. There is a great fade out and fade in to the ambient audio for the dream sequence, which is repeated to go back into the ‘real’ world. Although maybe lacking in varied “outdoors sounds?, the general hubbub sound of the streets was also done very well.

I think what Manu’s working at here is very effective with its meaning. The idea of a perfect world being a state of mind is a profound take on the directions we were given, seeing as many of us chose to create a physical alteration of our present world. I think she did a great job in executing her idea, and the work itself is genuinely good.

Critique for Emanuela

Emanuela took an interesting approach to this stop motion project. I found it unique how she incorporated both drawing and clay figures for the visual aids. Even though the characters are moving around in front of a stable background consisting of a building I liked how she must have created more than one background building pictures. I detected this as the characters are moving there is are slight adjustments with the background drawing and this little motion adds to the movement and chaos Emanuela was hoping to portray in the first portion of the movie. After watching the complete video I am glad I read Emanuela’s intentions beforehand because the first scene of being in the city did not fully convey the chaotic fast paced world in which she stated she was walking.
The sound served as the primary factor in expressing a busy lifestyle but I think that if the character moved through the scene faster it would have really added to the idea of chaos and constant movement. Overall, each scene had appropriately suited sound and really added to the ideas being expressed. Emanuela did a nice job in finding the right noise sources to not only fit the visual but to incorporate the thoughts she intended for each scene. It was creative of her to play with the sounds of the busy world and edit them in audacity. I think the idea she had of slurring noises together to the point of misunderstanding really matches the American “go-go-go? world in which we function. The sounds with the middle scene nicely blended to transforming us as viewers into a dreamlike, fantasy world. I think that after the initial transformation to the “perfect world? the sounds should have became more clear because in the perfect world it is no longer the hustle, bustle and there is clarity to one’s life outside of the action and disorder.
What I also liked about Emanuela’s video is that it was black and white in the real world commotion but then in the conversion to the dream world colors came into the scene. Color adds life and a sense of cheerfulness to what is going on in the scene. In conclusion, it really shows that Emanuela put time and thought into this project and she did a nice job!

November 25, 2007

Final Project IV: Proposal

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A critique of Chris's video

I enjoyed watching Chris’s video clip because it put me in a serene mood. I think that Chris’s video is a well-structured piece that has a well-developed narrative. It has a definite beginning, middle and end. At the beginning we see a relaxed person lying down on grass surrounded by traffic noises. After some zoom-in shots the viewer is shown different images of nature, which include leaves, water and sky imagery. Those images are accompanied by simple and serene sounds of nature. At the end, the viewer is taken back to the first setting, which is only different from the original scene in that the busy noises are replaced by calm whistling.
With this video Chris is definitely focusing on nature scenes since the middle part is longer than the beginning and the end. He displays the imagery of nature in way that mesmerize the viewer. I can see that his imaginary perfect world is found in the beauty and serenity of nature.
Several shots of nature in the video are nice, but what really stands out in his movie is the nice shot of the moon. It has a rich contrast between dark and white values.
Chris explores the representation of time. By showing us the change from day to night the viewer can see that time is passing. I interpreted this change to show that in an imaginary world, time has a different quality. It also seems to symbolize that time passes at a faster pace when we do something that we like.
The soundtrack goes well with the subject and the visual format. There is a clear shift from the chaotic, and loud sounds, which represent the hectic world of the city to the serene and peaceful sounds in the perfect world of nature. The sound change that occurs between the beginning and the middle part builds up a sharp contrast between two different worlds: the real and the perfect world. While in the beginning the sounds have a more repelling effect, the middle part includes more pleasant noises. The only thing that distracted me a little bit was the fact that I could hear some repetition of sounds in the middle part. But this was only slightly distracting. A second point that I would like to mention is that I got confused in the beginning of the video since I see the person relaxed. I think it would have been better to clarify that the city sounds were a source for anxiety to make the point of being displeased by those sounds in contrast to the perfect world.
All in all, the video is effective in getting the message across of showing us Chris’s personal perfect world.

November 21, 2007

Manu's Perfect World

In my final project I show my perfect world as a state of mind where my imaginary world gives the main character a break from the rushed real world. The idea of portraying a perfect world as a fantasy world is based on my daily experiences, where my daily schedule is so packed with things to do that it does not leave me any leisure time to dream or think. In my opinion it is very important to pursue leisure time because it stimulates creativity and productivity instead of constantly being tired from a hasty daily rhythm.
As such, I decided to present my fantasy world as colorful and playful to illustrate, first of all, a personal perfect world and secondly to give a sense of refreshment, which elevates my mood. I also placed my dreamlike world in between scenes of a rushed street life to better demonstrate the contrast between the two.
With respect to the sound in the video, I tried to record a variety of noisy sounds for the rushed and busy scene that we usually encounter on the street. Those noises include cars going by, people talking - but not understandable talking so that it does not take away from the visual aspect - and construction drone. The sound effects that I created for the fantasy world were created by instruments such as harmonica, guitar and sounds made by two metal objects. I then tried to transform their original sound by playing with effects in audacity using normalizing, reversing and echo effects as well as some others. I chose to transform those noises to indefinable noises to underline the dream effect of the scene.

Manu's Perfect World

November 14, 2007

Confused Artist Responde: Lisa Lapinski

This lecture experience was very unique. In the beginning I was excited to see an emerging artist whose art I find inspiring and appealing. Her works of art had already captured my attention in the past due to her intricately crafted work and the incorporation of a wide range of materials in her sculptures; such as drawing, painting, photography, cement, clay, wall-paper, wood and snoopy figurines. However, as I was listening to her presentation I got very confused. I could not follow her train of thought about her work. This I found very surprising since her sculptures, especially one called " Nightstand", are structurally organized and well executed. Another irritating aspect of her presentation was that she always referred to other artists, whose names were not revealed, in order to explain her own work. She even read her own reaction piece to an unknown artist to give a better understanding of her own work. All in all, even though I got very confused, I was able to see where she draws her inspiration. Her sources of inspiration are literature, religion, philosophy, psychology and history. Although this seems to be a negative response to the artist lecture, I still do not think negatively about the artist and her work. After all, one of the reasons that people decide to be artists is because they can better express their ideas visually than verbally.

November 4, 2007

Project Proposal III: Invent a perfect world

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October 27, 2007

Project 2: How To Start A War

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October 7, 2007

Project II proposal: Instruction!

For the second project I am thinking of introducing my audience to the basic steps of how to start a war. I do not plan on telling people how to actually start a war in this short film, but will be making simplifications about basic steps that countries seem to go through to pick fights with other countries. I intend the short film to be nothing more than a joke, but I would like the joke to contain an element of truth. I have chosen a political subject because it seems to me that even though people are in general more educated than they ever have been, they always ignore the lessons of history. My intention is for the viewers to start to see parallels between past and current events in world politics. They do not have to completely agree with everything that I imply or say. I would be satisfied if the audience were inspired to rethink their positions on the political mess that we are living in today.
The audience for this movie will be college students and adults. Since this is a serious subject I will try to approach it with humor. Humor will be expressed in the form of exaggeration and generalization and also in the exploration of methods used in propaganda films.
The way that I plan on putting the short film together will involve dividing the movie into different sections. Each section will represent a step that gives the viewer a an idea of how to start a war – of course, all steps will be nothing more than tongue in cheek. I am thinking to introduce each section with one or two sentences. The first instruction might be something like “ First Step: Pick a country?. I will try to blend in a text that will be followed by a short play. After the play is done a new sentence will appear, “ Second Step: Make sure it has a desirable natural resources or money.? and so on.
I am also thinking about shooting a black and white movie clip. Maybe this would not be a bad idea since our world has been dealing with issues of war since human beings have lived on this earth. Making the film in black and white would imply that the issue is old and hints at propaganda films.

Critiquing my sound project:

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September 29, 2007

Pub Sounds

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September 16, 2007

Visiting Artist Response: Heap of Birds'

Heap of Birds’ s lecture was interesting and he has a great personality. During his lecture he showed his works of art that included work from the beginning of his artistic carrier. I was amazed how broad his use of media was. The types of media spanned from traditional art media - like drawing, painting and sculpture - to new art media like installations and a short movie clip. It seems to me that nowadays artists increasingly expose themselves to a variety of media besides the media that they originally worked with. I can imagine that it must feel liberating to be able to change media but I also ask myself if this trend trivializes artists who have devoted themselves to a type of medium for a long period of time.
Heap of Birds’, a Native American artist, has devoted his art to mainly unpleasant issues that deal with the social and political oppression of Native Americans. He also tries to create a bond between Native American and other native people by traveling around the world and working with other native artists.
By using imaginative text and symbolic motifs as the focus of his pieces, his art seems to be more provocative and inflammatory rather than emphasizing beauty. One piece that really stood out for me and on which I feel reveals his attitudes towards art, was the piece called Building Minnesota, an installation where names of 40 Dakota tribal citizens were written down on 40 metal signs. Abraham Lincoln ordered their execution in Minnesota. This work was not only to honor the 40 Native Americans but also to educate the public and to confront the people with something that they don’t want to see. Abraham Lincoln is such a beloved US president, and Heap of Birds’ wants to show a less attractive side of Lincoln’s career. During the lecture Heap of Birds’ constantly spoke about history and education and how we artists are responsible for educating the young. I think that when he spoke about education he spoke about a different kind of education than we usually understand. He believes that education is too centered on the European version of history and there are many sensitive issues in history that are not covered because of their scandalous nature. I completely agree with Birds’ attitude toward education because we are living in an era in which most of the time unpleasant truths are denied and they need to be revealed. If art does not reveal these truths, who else will?

Interaction with Technology

My interaction with technology has been changing a lot lately and it is becoming more and more an important part of life. I do not know if I like technology in general since it means that I must constantly keep up with it in order to get the most out of it and to be more accessible. Nevertheless technology makes my life as a student easier and enhances my studies.
The use of a computer allows me to work on my writing assignments wherever I want as well as having access to the Internet simultaneously, which is very helpful. It is very nice to be able to work at a café while at the same time having access to numerous online sources such as journals, magazines and newspapers. Doing homework at a café is more pleasant because it provides a more relaxing atmosphere and a change to daily student life. Additionally, the computer offers a spelling and grammar check, which is especially important for not native English speakers. Thank you Mr. Computer.
It took me a long time to really take advantage of what technology offers. Until now I do not even have a cell-phone, which is pretty much a necessity in our society today.