Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Photo Book: A Day at the Park


Photograph from my book - A Day at the Park

In The Medium is the Massage, McLuhan uses this excerpt from Alice in Wonderland:

"Now for the evidence," said the King, "and then the sentence."
"No!" said the Queen," first the sentence, and then the evidence!"
"Nonsense!" cried Alice, so loudly that everybody jumped, "the idea of having the sentence first!"
(42-43)

If we apply this quote to photography, then the evidence would be the photographs and the sentence would be the meaning behind them. If Alice is right, then to decide a sentence we need the evidence first. And so the meaning of my project was formed after gathering the evidence.

Photograph from my book - A Day at the Park
For this project, I chose to walk over to a nearby playground and experiment with taking photographs in the snow. I find there is something very poetic and lonely about a playground covered in untouched snow. The snow blanket covering the equipment preserves the innocence of the playground while simultaneously rendering it useless when it comes to functioning as a place for children to play (and it would definitely be a bad idea for children to play there - the snow makes the equipment extremely slippery).

untouched equipment - A Day at the Park

self-insertion - A Day at the Park


Nature that interrupts the winter snow - A Day at the Park

While the photos I took were inspired by the moment, when I was organizing them I saw a clear pattern emerge between undisturbed photos of the park (placed on the left in my book) and photos of leaves that refused to disappear or photos that I had inserted myself into in some form (placed on the right). I wanted this juxtaposition between the park photos and the others to show how fragile innocence is, and even though I can "confront environments with a certain antisocial power," I also cannot go back to being a child (88). My presence disturbs the quiet solitude of the park, and the leaves and plants that appear here and there interrupt the winter. The playground just wants to wait until it is warm enough for the kids to come play on it again.

 

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Project 2: Disorientation




There is no point when I feel more (or less) aware of time and space than when I am waking up in the morning. I do not wake up easily, and I usually have very intense, vivid dreams at night. For me, dreams are an escape from a world where media work is "so pervasive in [its] personal, political, economic, aesthetic, psychological, moral, ethical, and social consequences that [it] leave[s] no part of us untouched, unaffected, unaltered" (McLuhan 26). Dreams exist in their own space and time. The transition from dreamland to the world of the living is always a strange and warped one for me, so I decided to explore it in this film piece.

On its own, the footage in this video would be bland or strange, but by incorporating digital sounds and effects I was able to recreate the blurry, lethargic sense of awareness when waking up in contrast with the nonsensical ideas of time and reality found in dreams. The dream clips are sped up and slowed down strategically to emphasize the illusion of time in dreamland. As the video progresses, the clarity of the real world heightens as the clarity of dream world diminishes, until finally the protagonist wakes up.




Jason Yi Reflection

The most interesting aspect of Jason Yi's work to me personally was the spontaneity of some of his work. While Yi's works are intended to make the viewer doubt and question what they are really seeing, many of Yi's works also capture, and sometimes depend on, random or unexpected elements. In his video project, "Fan," Yi's only instruction for his parents on what to say on film was to "tell a story, their life story." So while the filming, editing, and production were all done by Yi, the actual content of his parents' interviews were left entirely up to them, adding a level of unpredictability to his work. Yi spoke about how surprised he was when his parents ended up spending most of their interview focusing on him instead of themselves. That is a powerful thing to capture on camera, and the reason it was effective is because it came about naturally.


This spontaneity in his work is also seen in his photographs from his "Yellow Mountain" series in which he climbed a mountain only to find a thick layer of fog waiting for him at the top. However, this unexpected turn of events lead to some beautiful photographs and a fascinating study of human behavior as he captured people still attempted to take photos of the scenery.
"Yellow Mountain Project 02" (http://www.jasonyi.com/yellow-mountain.html)

As for his exhibition work, I'm afraid I have trouble appreciating those pieces as much as I appreciate his digital works. I do, however, like the sentiments he gave as he was nearing the end of his lecture. Yi emphasized that art is about playing, from absentmindedly doodling (at which the woman next to me chuckled and gave me a nudge, as I had been doodling in my notebook throughout the lecture) to works like his. So while the meaning of stacking 40-some chairs on top of one another and then covering it in zip ties and plastic wrap may be somewhat lost on me, I admire his thoughts and creativity.

Piece currently on display in the Wriston Art Gallery at Lawrence (http://www.jasonyi.com/index.html)

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

An Introduction

Drawing

I have been doodling on notes, handouts, and scraps of napkin since I was young, and over the years I have developed my own cute, simplistic cartoon style of drawing. My doodles usually have dots for eyes and sticks for arms, but I took my Introduction to Studio Art class last term as an opportunity to explore different styles of drawing, and while my sketchbook drawings still have a cutesy feel, they are more detailed and stylized (Figures 1 & 2).



Figure 1: A self-portrait in pencil

Figure 2: A charcoal drawing of Elizabeth Bennet from Pride & Prejudice

Film

When I was fourteen-years-old I had an epiphany. I knew most people liked films, but I realized that I loved them. I became obsessed with knowing exactly how each shot of a film was constructed and why. In high school I took a beginning film production class. I worked with my classmates to create short films and music videos and I gained valuable film and editing experience (Figure 3).

video

Figure 3: Two short films I worked on in my film production class
0:00-3:25 - Project I wrote & produced
3:25-End  - Project I starred in              


Acting

Growing up, I spent my free time studying acting and performing story theatre. I studied at the Piven Theatre Workshop in Evanston, IL from 4th grade all the way up through my senior year of high school (Figures 4 & 5). Though I do not do much acting now that I am in college, it is still a passion of mine.
 Figure 4: A photo from my final show at Piven Theatre Workshop


Figure 5: A shot of the cast creating a physical portrait

I hope to use a combination of my drawing, acting, and film production skills to create new projects that express my thoughts and interests in unique, creative ways.