Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Art 240 Final: CONFESSION

"We now live in a global village…a simultaneous happening…we have had to shift our stress of attention from action to reaction.” (McLuhan, The Medium is the Massage)

For my final art project I knew I wanted to make a film (I am taking this class as film credit after all), but I also decided I wanted to experiment with animation. Animating proved to be even more time consuming than I originally thought (all though a lot of that time was spent figuring out how to animate properly), so unfortunately I didn't get to include as many animations as I would have liked, but I am glad that the ones I did make turned out the way they did. It was a lot of fun and I would definitely like to try working with that medium again in the future.

Now for the actual film. When talking about his idea of the "global village," McLuhan describes it as a "simultaneous happening... we have had to shift our stress of attention from action to reaction." When I thought about it, this reminded me of some of the anxiety issues I have dealt with in my life. Anxiety is a reaction to something stressful that consumes one's mind and prevents them from taking action, and I think in this day and age where everything is electronic and you often can't escape from the source of your stress it can be overwhelming. So even though some of the ways I have depicted anxiety in this film are funny, it does reflect what having bad anxiety can really be like.

But this film is first and foremost a love story, and I hope viewers find it endearing. I wanted the paper stars and the handwritten letter to both be a break away from the digital "simultaneous happening," as well as a way for the love between the two characters to be expressed in a sincere and understanding way. 

I also just really, really like love stories. ❤️

(I have really enjoyed taking this class this term and I look forward to the spring!)

Monday, March 2, 2015

Carl Orff and McLuhan

“Carl Orff, the noted contemporary German composer, has refused to accept as a student any but the preschool student – the child whose spontaneous sense perceptions have not yet been channeled by formal, literary, visual preferences” (56). 

Carl Orff in his study, Maillingerstraße 16,

 Munich 1936, 600 x 600
Carl Orff was a German composer and music teacher who lived from 1895-1982. He started playing piano at the age of five (under the instruction of his pianist mom) and was composing musical pieces for puppet shows by the time he was ten. He fought for the German army in WWI and had an unclear relationship with the Nazi Party during WWII (His most famous piece, Carmina Burana, was approved by the Nazi Party. Their approval of him led many to believe he was not as big of a Nazi-resister as he claimed to be after WWII).

So what does this man have to do with McLuhan and digital media?

GERMANY. 1955. Munich. German composer, Carl ORFF. 1955.

902 x 1024

Carl Orff, through his music and his teaching style, participates in McLuhan’s idea of a multi-dimensional, “acoustic, horizon-less, boundless, olfactory space” by promoting and creating “primitive” art (56-57).  By "primitive," McLuhan means an artist who "put[s] in everything they know, rather than only what they see... a primitive artist twists and tilts the various possible visual aspects until they fully explain what he wishes to represent" (56). 

Carl Orff explored primitive art in both his musical and educational endeavors. As a musician, Orff was fascinated by artists and works from before the Renaissance, referring to them as the "Old Masters." When he created Carmina Burana, a piece based on 11th, 12th and 13th century Medieval poetry, Orff disowned all of the work he had done before that piece. He created a variety of pieces based on fairy tales, poems and Greek plays, though Carmina Burana remained his favorite. He disliked conservative music schooling and composed in the style of "primitive" artists.

Carl Orff in the SOS Children’s
Village Dießen 1964. 600 x 600

Carl Orff also created an approach to music education called "Schulwerk," literally meaning "schoolwork" in German. His method emphasizes music, language, movement, and improvisation. Schulwerk was something Orff worked on all his life. He created his own music school that was unfortunately destroyed by Allied forces in 1945, and it wasn't until music in the style of Schulwerk was broadcast over the radio in 1948 and gained popularity with children that it gained momentum again. Orff liked working with young kids who hadn't been structured to see the world a certain way and could improvise music without fear of making mistakes or being judged. 

Orff promoted McLuhan's idea of interacting with the world through natural and elemental sound and movement, taking in the whole of experience beyond just what one sees.

(Click the video below to listen to O "Fortuna" from Carmina Burana )

O Fortuna - Carmina Burana