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April 30, 2008

What, in your opinion, are the key ideas, themes, concepts of feminist media and feminist media making? What "lessons" in feminist media will you take away from this class? What do you learn from feminist media praxis? What should feminist media studies and feminist media making [thinkers / makers] being doing?

my thoughts...

from this class and other gwss courses, i have learned a lot about feminist media and its creation. the most important thing i have learned is just how critical it is for feminist media to be made, and be accessable.

some of the key concepts revolve around the principles of the gaze, and the ways media makes the gaze ever present, creating feminist media has the potential to change the gaze, and gives someone in a minority position some power.

the most influential feminist media praxis from the class for me was the lessons from 'reframings', those really brought home the idea of how feminist media is made and why it is so important for to be produced.

first of all, i wonder why feminist media is not in all types of media, as why should any type of media not have the goal to show women being equal to men, why does it have to elitest, art house style, independent types of productions, off the curve in web clips or art shows. i think feminist media makers should concentrate on making feminist media more mainstream.

April 29, 2008

feminist media

In my opinion, the key ideas, themes and concepts of feminist media and feminist media making are praxis, agency and authorship. I will be taking away from this class the ideas of self-exposure and the ways that women both need to and can make media to use their voices and put their messages out there.

From feminist media praxis, I learned that making media is a hard, intensive process, and that it takes a lot of thought and can be a lot of work, sometimes with intimidating technical tools. But it’s also not impossible, and learning that was empowering to me. Anyone with a story or message and access to the tools to make it can make media if they want to, and technology now is such that it’s easy for people who are able to make media to put it out there for the world to see.

Feminist media studies and feminist media makers should be working to make the tools to make media accessible to more people who may not have access to it, and to make sure that marginalized people and groups know that they have voices and stories that are worth hearing.

ASSIGN :: Category: 6. Feminist Media

janebox.jpg

In a 150 - 300 word post on the COURSE BLOG, please consider the following prompts:

What, in your opinion, are the key ideas, themes, concepts of feminist media and feminist media making? What "lessons" in feminist media will you take away from this class? What do you learn from feminist media praxis? What should feminist media studies and feminist media making [thinkers / makers] being doing?

April 22, 2008

Feminist view of a woman



My documentary on making Documentaries



I am having a lot of problems making this video. I have never recorded anything before and learned many things. Here I talk about the mistakes I have made.
Any suggestions for recording would be appreciated!
Thanks!

Exploring the Amazon



Melinda and the City

Beth Berila




April 19, 2008

The Minneapolis-St. Paul International Film Festival

April 17 - May 3 2008

The 26th edition of the Minneapolis/St. Paul program includes 40-odd U.S. premieres among about 135 features. Many, many, many films by women!!!

http://www.mspfilmfest.org/2008/

Judy Chicago in Minneapolis! FREE!

April 23, 2008 6:30 pm
Judy Chicago Lecture:
Feminist Art in the 21st Century: Content, Context and Continuity

FREE and open to the public!

at Minneapolis College of Art and Design (MCAD)
Auditorium 150
2501 Stevens Avenue
Minneapolis, MN 55404
www.mcad.edu

With a career spanning four decades, Judy Chicago is an artist, author, educator and one of the founders of the Feminist art movement. Her talk, "Feminist Art in the 21st Century: Content, Context and Continuity," promises to be informative, provocative and inspiring, as it reflects upon the beginnings of the Feminist art movement in California in the 1970s and its worldwide spread and influence.

A signing of her book The Dinner Party: From Creation to Preservation (Merrell Publishers) will take place from 6 to 6:30 p.m.; books are for sale at MCAD's Art Cellar and at Auditorium 150 prior to the lecture.

Auditorium 150 is located on the first floor of MCAD's Main Building; follow the Auditorium 150 signage. Please contact the Communications Office at (612) 874-3838 during regular business hours if you have any questions.

April 18, 2008

.EDU Film Fest: A Minnesota Festival for Students

=Deadline: April 23,

The .EDU Film Fest is now accepting short film/video submissions from student filmmakers through April 23rd. The festival is put on by ComArts High School and will screen at the Parkway Theater in the spring. The festival will have networking and learning opportunities for youth media makers at the festival:
All Day: Small group chats with film directors, writers, producers, and educators. Schedule to be announced.
All Day: Meet with colleges and post secondary institutions catering to film/video production
1:00-4:30: Equipment Demo (Professional "movie set" available for demonstration and creation of a "Day-of-the-Fest Reel")

For more information and to submit work visit http://www.edufilmfest.org

26th Annual Mpls.-St. Paul International Film Fest, April 17th - May 3rd

The 26th edition of the biggest film event of the year in the Upper Midwest, the Minneapolis/St.Paul Int’l Film Festival, rolls out Thurs. Apr.17 for a 15-day run through Sat. May 3 at some five Twin Cities venues, showcasing more than 100-plus international feature films from 40-plus countries. Included will be a dozen Oscar entries from, among others, Poland, Israel, Italy, plus a hefty slate of new works again from Scandinavia, China, The European Union. On tap also is Russia, recently absent (with a visiting director and scriptwriter), as well as premieres of new features, rarely seen, dealing with Laotian Hmongs and Somalis, reflecting the huge Twin Cities Hmong and Somali demographics. Out-of-the-way places like Estonia, Mongolia, Slovakia and Bulgaria will also have their days in the fest.

For locales, the five-screen St.Anthony Main Theaters (with “almost-free? parking) comes on board this year, in addition to the flagship Oak Street Cinema of Minnesota Film Arts, and satellite venues scheduled for the Riverview and Kerasota Block E. theaters. Among expected visiting guests will be former Minneapolis filmmaker Mirek Janek, now working in the Czech Republic, with his newly directed “Citizen Havel,? veteran Russian director Valery Pendrakovsky and scripter Anna Pendrakovsky (“Full Scope?), Beijing independent director Jian Li with feature debut “Bamboo Shoots? (after making 10 documentaries on Chinese village life); ace U.S. cinematographer Ellen Kuras (Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Be Kind Rewind) with her feature debut documentary “The Betrayal? (Nerakhoon) shot in Laos and USA; Somali actress Sam Sam with “Family Motel? (shot in Toronto); from Chad, leading African director Mahatma-Saleh Haroun with “Dry Season?; from U.S.A., Nanette Burstein (Kid Stays in the Picture) with “American Teen? (Indiana high school story won Sundance prize).

The annual special children’s series “Childish Festival,? spotlights on Minnesota shorts and features, and “emerging? independents competition are also slated. A “Dinner and a Movie? Special will be new this year. For list of titles, times, tickets click on Mpls/St. Paul Int’l website: www.mspfilmfest.org. Single event tickets this year will be $10 with discount passes available at several levels (students, seniors, MFA members, l0-pack and gold pass.) Thanks for your continuing faith in the organization and your support!

"Creative Organizing: Focus on the Visual Arts"

In this Labor Education Service class taught by Deborah Rosenstein, LES staff, and Ricardo Levins-Morales, artist, learn how to use the rich cultural heritage of working people to strengthen organizing, community and political campaigns. This class will cover many aspects of creative organizing, but will have a special focus on visual arts, including cartoons and humor to break down fear and communicate your message.

This non-credit class is one session, Saturday, April 26, 10 a.m.-4 p.m., at the Humphrey Center on the West Bank of the University of Minnesota's Minneapolis campus. Cost is $50. To register, call 612-624-5020.

April 15, 2008

IPR



interview

April 14, 2008

My Parents' Love Story



GWSS Portrait



April 11, 2008

My Crash Course in Art

I don’t know much about art. Compared to most people I don’t know anything about art. I’m a neuroscience and GWSS major. Science is definitely my strong point. I took this class because it seemed interesting, and I was going to have to push my boundaries a lot. I found this to be a correct assumption, and this trip to the Walker was no different.
After an incredibly stressful week, I was pressed for time to complete this assignment. I had to find a feminist art showing in a city where I constantly felt lost. I took the city bus system for the first time (a feat I would never recommend doing alone) on what quite possibly could have been the day with the crappiest weather of the year. After many wrong turns I finally found the Walker Art Museum. As soon as I entered the doors my luck changed.

Steve Jensen, the head of security, greeted me at the front door. He took me to the Friedman Gallery, where JoAnn Verburg had a photography showing, and told me to take my time. The first thing I did was read a biography on the artist. JoAnn Verburg splits her time, living and working in both St. Paul and Spoleto, Italy. She first because known for her ability to capture facial expressions. Most of her work done in Italy is outdoors where she seeks out rich, manipulative landscapes. Her photos sport a continuous view with a steady horizon line with more than one visual entry point. I found myself looking at some of the photos more than once, and seeing them differently each time. JoAnn’s biggest interest in photography however, is in her human subjects. She strives to capture the inter-human aspects of society through paying close attention to human interaction.
The first room of the gallery contained a group of photos from Italy in the last decade. They were all pictures of a forest at dusk. The variety of trees were appealing to the eye and drew the viewer in with a winding stone wall close behind them. The pieces correspond to the art of Andy Goldsworthy with his creation “Stone Wall King,? where he photographed a forest after rebuilding the wall to curve around the trees. JoAnn contrasted her pieces by creative use of blurred spots. My two favorite pieces from this genre of the showing were Sacred Trees (Under Water) 2000, and Sacred Trees (for Bruce) 2000. I would suggest anyone who is interested in nature shots to check them out.
The next room was filled with more photos with trees as the main subject, but the feeling was different. The pieces were of an olive orchard, also in Italy, most likely taken at a foggy mid-morning. I have never seen more than one olive tree at a time before and was captured by their beauty. When you see them in groups a foggy silvery blue-green fills the air, creating an essence I have never seen before. After seeing these two rooms I was ready to max out my credit card and buy a flight to Italy. Favorites from this room are hard to chose, but if I had to pick one it would be Thanksgiving (2001).
The third room of the showing was filled with images of her renowned human expression pieces. Unlike the rooms before this room had photos covering the majority of the wall, all of different sizes placed strategically, inches from where its partner to the side ended, much like the showings of David Hockney. Each photo was captivating in its own way. I could have spent an entire day in that showing, never being able to see each piece completely. JoAnn is also well known for her photos that contain newspaper. She uses newspapers to mask portions of her subjects’ faces, letting the viewers determine the complete expression conveyed.
The next room had less, but larger pieces. They were made of split posts. My favorite photo was Jim Sleeping (Spoleto) 1988. This particular piece was in three different pieces, trisecting Jim sleeping on a worn davenport. Each piece was taken with a differently focused lens, but together they all made the same piece. I’ve never seen that before. If you took each section apart they could still be hung on the wall separately.
The rest of the pieces were just as fascinating as the first few rooms. The photos were all from different years and places over the past few decades, including famed artist David Byrne and other members of the Talking Heads.
After viewing the pieces I talked with Steve and learned many things, not only about art, but also life. I realized that good art is art that can be viewed over and over again, with it getting better each time. I found this to be true with a few of JoAnn’s pieces. It doesn’t matter who made it, or their reasoning behind it. What matters is if the image captivates you. When I left I realized that I have never enjoyed art as much as I did that day. I hadn’t ever before taken the time to really look at an art piece. It may have been the presentation or the size of the pieces. Maybe it was discussing the pieces with someone who was well versed in art. I don’t really know. But what I do know is that for the first time ever I have been captivated by artwork. I had underestimated the power of artwork, something I hope to never do again.

April 9, 2008

REFRESHER: How to post video to blog

1. Export your file from iMovie

Go to File > Export
Choose CD-Rom (choose an option that gives you file under 65MB, limit for our blog uploads)

2. Visit FREEVIDEOCODING to help you embed a player for your video. Otherwise, the blog will give you link that requires viewers to download your video.

Instructions for freevideocoding:

1. What king of file? Choose QUICKTIME
2. Publish the Media
a. Enter file location (this is the HTTP address from your uploaded file, COPY from upload html pop-up window, ONLY WHAT IS IN BETWEEN THE QUOTES)
b. Choose to EMBED player or EMBED from Image (examples below)
c. Select NO for enable autoplay (autoplay automatically plays your video when someone visits the blog; this is annoying!!!)
d. Choose YES for Display controls (this allows viewer to pause, stop, rewind & play)
e. Choose NO for support this site w/a link (if you don't want it to say freevideocoding.com at the bottom of your video)

Here's an image of the selection window:

r1.jpg

Here's an example of an Embedded Player:


If you choose to EMBED PLAYER from an IMAGE, you'll have to:

1. Upload image to blog (to give it a http address)
2. Copy http address
3. Paste that into freecoding site

Here's an example of LINK to an EMBEDDED PLAYER from an IMAGE:



So, be sure to write in your text Click Image to Play

3. Log into the COURSE BLOG
a. Open a "New Entry"; Select the Category MEDIA: Our Projects
b. Copy and paste the html code from freevideocoding
c. Type any text (you can add a synopsis, excerpt from your reflection paper, or anything you want to include with your video)
d. Save the entry


FREE Conference / Spoken Word Event

It’s All in You: Finding Home, Heart, Courage and Smarts
Voices Merging hosts a Self Development Conference through Spoken Word and Hip Hop

On April 11th and 12th, the University of Minnesota’s Voices Merging will host the 2nd Biennial Self Development Conference through Spoken Word in the U of MN’s Coffman Union.
Take advantage of this amazing opportunity for young artists!

Contact: Moira Pirsch - pirs0003@umn.edu - 608-772-2597

DETAILS after the jump

Registration Form HERE

On April 11th and 12th, the University of Minnesota’s Voices Merging will host the 2nd Biennial Self Development Conference through Spoken Word in the U of MN’s Coffman Union.
Take advantage of this amazing opportunity for young artists!

The conference, inspired by the Wizard of Oz and The Wiz, will include:
- “It’s All in You?, a spoken word theater production written and performed by members of Voices Merging.
- Speakers: Marc Bamuthi Joseph, Devin T. Robinson, and others.
- Workshops focusing on; Home: the history of the art of spoken word and hip hop, Heart: the content of our work, Courage: the performance aspect of expression and Smarts (Brain): what we can do using our words as a tool to change the world. Workshops will be lead by Professor Mahmoud El-Kati from Macalester College, Shá Cage from the MN Spoken Word Association, Kyle “El Guante? Myhre from Tru Ruts, and Rodney “October? Dixon from Spoken Word University.
- An Open Mic Open to the public on Friday, April 11th 8pm-10pm.
- Concert featuring local Artists
- An 18+ Party Saturday Night
------------------------
Who: Young People ages 12-25 Who are Interested in Exploring the Many Possibilities to Advance Oneself, Community and Expression through the art of Spoken Word
What: Voices Merging Presents It’s All in You: Finding Home, Heart, Courage and Smarts – Spoken Word Theater, Speakers, Workshops, Performance Showcase of Local Artists, Open Mic18+ Party
Where: April 11th in Moos Towers
The intersection of Union St SE and Washington Ave SE, Minneapolis, MN 55455
April 12th - the University of MN’s Coffman Union
300 Washington Ave SE, Minneapolis, MN 55455
When: April 11th 6pm-10pm Welcome and Open Mic, April 12th 11am-10pm, Workshops and Concert 10pm-1am 18+ Party
Why: Give Young People the Opportunity to Express themselves and Learn from One Another
Cost: FREE and OPEN TO THE PUBLIC,
Register: Please pre-register by emailing onevoice@umn.edu or by mailing a completed registration form to Voices Merging, 300 Washington Ave SE, Minneapolis, MN 55455 (available at www.myspace.com/voicesmerging1)

For More Info: www.myspace.com/voicesmerging1 email: onevoice@umn.edu
------------------------
About Voices Merging:
Voices Merging is a multicultural student group and a performance group dedicated to provide venues, workshops and comfortable atmosphere for performing artists. Starting in April 2002, Voices Merging has grown to be a driving force not only for young performance artists but has also continued a tradition of spoken word in Minnesota. Voices Merging is best known for its bi-weekly open mics on the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis campus located in Moos Tower. There has yet to be any student group on the University of Minnesota campus like us that brings lovers of poetry, dance, rap, acting, and music of all generations into one room and create such an expressive and exhilarating experience.

Conference Schedule:

Friday, April 11th, 2008
Opening Ceremony
6:00pm Doors Open, music and refreshments provided
7:00-7:25 Welcome Address from Voices Merging President/Orientation
7:30-8:30 VM Showcase (Short Play highlighting themes of conference)
8:30-10:00 Open Mic
• All events this evening are held in MOOS TOWER (Rm 2-530)

Saturday, April 12th, 2008

11:00 Late Registration Starts and Lunch Served
12:00 Welcome/Announcements
12:15 Marc Bamuthi Joseph- Opening Speaker
12:45 Lunch panel Starts (featuring workshop leaders)
1:35 Workshop Description and Orientation
1:50 Break
• Held in Great Hall of Coffman Memorial Union

Workshops
2:00-2:45 1st Workshop
2:45-2:50 Break and transition to next workshop
2:50-3:35 2nd Workshop
3:35-3:40 Break
3:45-4:30 3rd Workshop
4:35-6:00 Break and Bag Making Activity
• Held in various locations TBA

Closing Ceremony and Dinner
6:00-7:00 Dinner Served
7:00-7:35 Closing Speaker- Devin T. Robertson
7:35-7:45 Presentation of Awards/Thank You Gifts
7:45-8:00 Closing Remarks
8:00-10:00 Performance Showcase (featuring local artists)
10:15-1:00 VM Land of OZ party
• Held in The Whole (Basement of Coffman Union)

April 7, 2008

Job Opening: WSAC

The Women’s Student Activist Collective Is Looking for part time staff member 10-20 hours a week!

GENERAL DESCRIPTION

The Women’s Student Activist Collective (WSAC) is looking for a part time staff member to work as a part time administrator and group facilitator.

The WSAC ‘s mission is to empower women and transgendered people on campus to effect positive change in society. Our group is run in a non-hierarchal manner and we make decisions together as a collective by consensus. WSAC have temporary “chairs? where responsibilities rotate between collective members, and in that way we still have a structure to work within.

The WSAC is looking for a person who’s passionate about the diversity of women’s issues as well as interrelated issues concerning social justice like race, class, GLBTA issues, the environment, reproductive rights, human rights and religion. As a staff member you mainly have an administrative responsibility where your workday will entail activities such as: keeping the WSAC office open during your office hours, sending out announcements on our list-serve, replying and following up requests through e-mails and/or phone calls, paying bills, preparing our annual Student Fee’s Proposal to obtain our annual funding etc.

You will sometimes also be part of planning events and projects and work as an advisor for the group. In short, you will work as the “hub? of the group.

A possible idea is to split the 20 hour a week position into two 10 hour a week positions, but this will be up to the applicants and the group to decide what would be most appropriate.

Compensation: $14/hour

WORK AND EDUCATION EXPERIENCE REQUIREMENTS
At least 1 year of work experience and/or academic studies that relate to women’s issues

Please send any questions, your letter of interest as well as your resume to Mia Ljung at wsac@umn.edu before Friday April 18, 2008

We will schedule an informational meeting for applicants in the week of April 21- 25, so please let us know your preference on time and date that week.

Tonight at Amazon Feminist Bookstore

Please join us in welcoming Margaret Randall TONIGHT at Amazon!
Margaret Randall is on tour here in Minnesota. Please don't miss your chance to get to hear her wonderful prose and poetry read by her personally in this intimate setting.

Monday, April 7, 7pm
Margaret Randall
Stones Witness: Reading and Signing
Margaret Randall is a writer, photographer,, and social activist. For a quarter century she lived in Mexico, Cuba, and Nicaragua, where she raised four children, wrote, and participated in social change. Upon her return to the U.S. in 1984, the government ordered her deported because of opinions expressed in some of her more than 80 books.
In Stones Witness, published in 2007 by University of Arizona Press, Margaret Randall explores her connections to land and landscape, drawing from her own rich history to create a universal link between place time, and identity. A fluid and provocative collection of poetry, prose, and photographs, Stones Witness is in part an account of an extraordinary woman’s radically committed and inventive life.


Store Hours:
Mon-Fri 10-8 (later on event nights)
Sat 10-6
Sun 12-5

Amazon Bookstore Cooperative, Inc.
4755 Chicago Ave. S.
Minneapolis
612-81-9630
www.amazonbookstorecoop.com

Internship Opportunity!

This is an exciting internship opportunity at the Weisman Art Museum for next academic year that may be of special interest to students in Women's Studies.

Students will be involved in a two-semester project that is focused on building their knowledge and skills of public engagement through art and museums. Their work will focus on the Weisman Art Museum's spring 2009 exhibition, "Changing Identity: Recent Works by Women Artists from Vietnam."

During fall and spring semesters, students will meet once a week (Thursdays, 9:30 to 11 a.m. at the Weisman). Fall semester will involve learning about public engagement and art museums and about the spring exhibition. Students will help to plan programs, outreach, and publicity for that project, and perhaps an iPod tour of the exhibition. In spring semester, students will implement their plans and assess their success.

I teach the class with collaboration from other Weisman staff and other speakers.

This year, we named this special internship "SCOPE" for "student class on public engagement." We've done much good, spirited work this year with programs around the Paul Shambroom exhibition. I'm looking forward to working with a a new SCOPE group next year.

Students should register for Museum Studies 5020, section 2, for two credits. They will need my permission and a number from me to register. They may contact Colleen Sheehy at sheeh001@umn.edu with questions or to get a registration number.

April 1, 2008

Assemblage - some reflections

For this assignment, I visited the Assemblage website. The first piece I read, or rather, explored was Wendy Battin’s “Poetry Is Sense, Sensed: A Hypertext Poem.? I liked the format that she, as far as I know, has created for her poetry. Her poem is broken up into pieces, each with its own page. The user begins by clicking a link that sends you to any one of the pieces, at random. One page, for example, reads, “Poets have voices the way mountains have hermits.? That page contains two more links to different pages. I liked the fact that there seemed to be no correct, definitive way to read this poem; the reader jumps randomly from one piece to another, often coming across the same piece of text a number of times. It mirrors the way I tend to read: My eyes dart all over a page, and often fixate on certain passages. It also removes linearity from the narrative, so that its progression feels more like wandering around Wikipedia than reading a novel.
I actually became somewhat less impressed with this piece when I read more about Wendy Battin and her formidable credentials. “Poetry Is Sense, Sensed? looks crude, like a personal website from the mid-nineties, and I was surprised to learn she received her master’s degree (in the University of Washington’s Creative Writing program) in 1981, has been published numerous times, and has been the recipient of a number of prestigious fellowships and awards. Her poem feels more like the work of an amateur than a fulltime scholar of creative writing. I was also a little disappointed to see a linked “plain text version? of the poem, which displays the text in a traditional format. This made me think that, rather than making a poem whose structure would be different for each viewer, she had merely inserted an existing poem into this new format. I much prefer the idea of a poem that was written with this randomly-jumping structure in mind, but that does not seem to be the case with “Poetry is Sense, Sensed.?

The fourth project I viewed is by Natalie Bookchin, and it really blew me away. It’s an interactive adaptation of Jorge Luis Borges’s story, “The Intruder.? The story is about two brothers who compete with one another over a woman. In the end, their mutual animosity is finally resolved when one brother murders the woman. They have no regard for her as a person; to them, she is merely a pleasure object and a wedge between the brothers.
The brilliance of Bookchin’s adaptation is that she tells the story through games. In order to hear the story progress, the user must score points in a series of basic flash animation games. In doing this, it gives rise to the user’s own competitive nature. I felt my own tension and testosterone kicking in as I played some of the more difficult games, and subsequently felt an uncomfortable connection to the story’s male characters. The original Borges story itself is a brutal experience—the sordid plot is communicated through a terse, detached voice—but the device of the game format heightens its brutal drama considerably.
The games themselves are very basic ones; one resembles Pong, others are simple shooting games. Games like this are often free of any sort of content or real-life referent; I never think about ping-pong when I’m playing Pong. They’re abstract, semi-mindless distractions that bring out a sort of hypnotic compulsion in me and, I imagine, in other people too. There’s no prize when you win, and you rarely finish feeling victorious; if they induce any emotion, it’s usually tension or frustration at losing.
The way these Bookchin’s games deliver a story as they go summons an entirely different kind of tension. The game puts me into a sort of anxious trance, which heightens the story’s effect on me. Another crucial element is the idea of competition; in each of the games, the user is playing against a computer opponent, which results in an animosity towards the computer. This animosity parallels the enmity between the brothers in the story. Some of the games feature a “woman? icon—a silhouetted figure with a dress—but her presence has no effect on the game. You can hit her with stray bullets without losing any points. This too parallels the brothers’ utter disregard for her as a person. Borges presents us with two characters that are despicable beyond recognition, and Bookchin forces us to identify with them, on a frighteningly subliminal level.
Natalie Bookchin is a well-established, Los Angeles-based artist. Her work has been displayed at a number of prominent galleries, including the Walker Art Center. She has been written about in a number of different news and art publications, both academic and mainstream. Currently, she is co-Director of the Photography and Media Program in the Art School at CalArts.



9-11 and the Mysterious Tracey Benson

I followed a Tracey Benson link through the website and found a huge collection of 9-11 collaborated pieces. They were very cool. I searched through a lot of sites before I found one that was even able to be navigated. (I understand the “art? thing… but certain rules must be followed if you are going to effectively reach people online… I’m sorry, you just must) All these pieces were very different, but very effectively placed together. Tracey’s was among them.

I think a very important part of why these pieces are connected on one website (apart from the fact that they are all on the same theme) is collaboration. Though I’m fairly certain that all of these pieces were created on their own, I can find the names of fifteen creators with pieces that are completely unique in form and content, but fit together remarkably well.

These short little animated pieces look at some unique views in relation to 9-11. Some of them I hadn’t encountered before. One piece was a beautiful poem about dancing with an Arab man that was suddenly interrupted by flashing images of the towers and practically unreadable text about being a woman and not belonging and then the conclusion of the beautiful poem. Some of the pieces were stripping away facts to get down the real emotion of the event, others began there and added on the horrific details and facts to encourage a reaction. Overall the content of these pieces covered the 9-11 incident from every possible viewpoint- emotional tragedy, political, foreign opinions, outrage about the resulting war, the displacement of those in war torn countries, and others.

Lots of these pieces used photos, text, and animation of these elements to give information and visuals. But some of them were more interactive. Many of the pieces had animations that followed your mouse and exploded or made noise if you stayed in one place too long, keeping you active and involved in what you were reading or looking at. Others had hidden links and impossible to follow navigation so you would encounter screens many times and would be unable to return and find one you wanted to visit again- I think this was very useful as these pieces were ones taking on the idea of confusion and feelings of betrayal. Some pieces controlled the pace of the information you received which was frustrating, but I realize now that it was justly so. At the very least 9-11 was a frustrating event.

The piece that brought me to this website was a collection of websites and texts put together by Tracy Benson on the refugees in Australia seeking asylum but were placed in concentration camps to wait for a Visa. These camps are abusive and have horrible living conditions for those forced there. Simply by telling her story with text and linking to ways she and others have tried to help, she is calling attention to the abused refugees in Woomera camp in particular, but also spreading light on all people from war torn countries who, since safer countries have made themselves inaccessible, are stuck in their current conditions with no escape. This is how her piece relates to the 9-11 collection. As I research Tracey I wish I would have picked a piece by someone a little easier to track down. Tracey is an Australian who is a “writer and media artist?. I was unable to find any of her other projects, but I did find an article she had written for an online magazine that was very dull and not related at all to her work at the camp at Woomera.

Naomi Kawase at the Walker

I was able to attend the Women With Vision: Past/Present exhibit at the Walker Art Center. I went on Thursday March 27th, because Thursday nights are sponsored by Target and admission is free. The film that I saw was Birth/ Mother by Naomi Kawase. Her film was about the traditional Japanese birth of her son and about her relationship with her 90-year-old great aunt.

I was able to attend the Women With Vision: Past/Present exhibit at the Walker Art Center. I went on Thursday March 27th, because Thursday nights are sponsored by Target and admission is free. The film that I saw was Birth/ Mother by Naomi Kawase. Her film was about the traditional Japanese birth of her son and about her relationship with her 90-year-old great aunt.
From the program, I was able to find out that Naomi Kawase was born in Japan and was raised by her grandparents after both of her parents abandoned her. Consequently, her family has been the basis of her inspiration for many of her films. She studied at the Osaka School of Photography (currently the School of Visual Arts) and graduated in 1989. She was also a lecturer there for four years.
She has won many awards for her films, including: a 1992 FIPRESCI Special Mention Prize at the Yamagata International Film Festival, the 1997 Camera d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival, the 2007 Gran Prix at Cannes, and others. Her film style is very unique, in that it represents her Japanese culture in an untraditional and non-stereotypical way. In the program it states that “Kawase’s films represent a change in focus from what foreign audiences are used to seeing from Japan – the bizarre, the sexy, the violent, the proud, the historical – toward the apolitical, the habitual, and the personal.?
I found this to be very true about her film. Throughout Birth/Mother we are continually provided with an intimate glimpse in to Kawase’s life. The beginning of the film is set in a bath house where she and her aunt are bathing. We only see her aunt’s naked body as her and her aunt reminisce over the past. It is at this point that her aunt says one of the most poignant phrases I have ever heard: “You never know with people what will happen.? It is also significant that as her aunt is speaking, she pans her camera over her aunt’s naked body, showing her audience every wrinkle and imperfection. As she shows her aunts body, they have a conversation about how Naomi used to suck her aunts nipples when she was a baby, making the showing of her body even more significant. Her body is a symbol of the cycle of life, shamelessly showing what had formerly nurtured.
As the film progresses, it becomes apparent that while Naomi is thinking about her childhood, she is also contemplating the future as she is about to have a child of her own. Throughout the film Naomi's artistic eye is very evident, as she pans over beautiful landscapes and even simple objects in her home. She uses alot of earth-toned colors, which is appropriate for the story she is trying to tell. The most beautiful scene in the entire movie is when she is giving birth to her son. There is conplete silence, and the audience holds their breath as her son is born. I cried it was so beautiful, not scary or bloody, but beautiful. Then, the moment her son is born, she reaches for the camera, and is once again in control of what the viewer can see.