Wednesday 5/30: Personal Space Documentation and Reflection on Group A

Strengths:

My project was an attempt to recreate the small hiding places of my childhood. The space I made captured the exciting and unexpected beauty of such a retreat. I expected the fort to be completely dark, but the sun illuminated the tapestries like stain glass windows.

 So it turned out I didn’t even need my reading light, though I am glad I had my comics to pass the time. The spaces this project represented were areas of retreat where I could enjoy my interests on my own time. Leisurely reading comics books was one of my favorite escapes. Just as I was separate from outside world in my fort, I could go even further into other worlds with a book.

Unexpected strengths were the sense of invisibility and voyeurism. I thought passersby would be constantly looking under the blankets, trying to figure out what the fort was all about. Yet not a single person ever peeked. I believe this is because my project did not always read as a fort but more of an elaborate table cloth. This effectively made me invisible. I could hear almost everything being said within a 25 foot radius which made for interesting entertainment once I finished my book.

Even though I had no human visitors, I was joined for half an hour by a large carpenter bee. It would fly around once in a while looking for an exit, but mostly perched in the shade or fed from the abandoned patches of gum.

When the whole project was complete, I found a scattering of abandoned objects left on the table: a heart-shaped sequin, a piece or ocean glass, and a pencil. Whether gifts or forgotten trinkets, they were an exciting discovery to end the project with.

Improvements:

 If I could do my project again, I would pick a cleaner place. The ground was a lot dustier than it looked and could have used a sweep before I put the blankets down. Also, the underside of the table was covered in old gum which was not a pleasant sight to look at for two hours.

The space under the bench was also much more cramped than I anticipated. Even though I intended to have a cozy small space, the fort turned out to be borderline uncomfortable at times, even with all the blankets and pillows.

(photo credit: Troy Small 2012)

In hindsight, I also wish I had made the structure look more like a fort. Even though it was interesting to hear other’s conversations when they did not know they were being listened to, I would have liked to see people’s reactions to discovering my hiding place so it was nice to finally be visited by my section.

(photo credit: Troy Small 2012)

(photo credit: Troy Small 2012)

Other Projects:

I really liked Natalie O’Brien’s Isolation piece. Not only did she put a lot of effort into fully furnishing her area, but she made it very personal and exposed by wrapping herself in a blanket. The Arbor was a great place for such a project since it has so much foot traffic. If I re-did my project, this might have been a better location. I wonder why she chose to read Poe.

(Natalie O’Brien 2012)

Wednesday 5/23: “Skull Layers” – Sequence Project

(Carel Otte, Skull Layers (3), 2012)

My project is a study of sequence accumulation. Just as the progression of a series can cooperate to tell a story, Skull Layers  was designed to combine each unit of the progression to create a final image greater than its individual parts.

My original designs experimented with using iconic celebrity portraits, however, I wanted the image to be universally recognizable. I could not think of a famous person everyone would know and the more mainstream I went the more cliche and less significant the project became, so I settled on the easily identifiable skull.

The material of each sheet was cut from a large roll of thin, flexible plastic. Even though each layer is drawn in heavy permanent marker, the seemingly transparent plastic obscures just enough light to reduce the darkness of the layers below it. Therefore, a layer ten sheets deep will appear almost white while the top remains jet black.

I designed the final object to be handled and explored. I wanted to make sure the audience could flip through each page to see the progression of the image. I’m glad I left this option available since layer 3 is actually my favorite.

Friday 5/10: Future

(wikimedia.org)

1) robotics

2) virtual reality

  • We already experience a large market of alternate realities, from books to movies and video games. Although a large enough consumer base is still lacking for the mass-distribution of technology, fully-immeasurable virtual reality goggles for games is a feature I am looking forward to even though I am not a gamer myself I don’t expect initial models to be as Hollywood as  Gerard Butler’s Gamer (2009), but relinquishing the look axis from thumb pad controllers could take full advantage of a 360° environment that is already coded bringing more a natural feel to the process of “seeing” in a video game. I believe this will open up the market to those who have difficulty with non-instinctive controls, much like the success the Wii has experienced. I can also imagine an opportunity to re-release classic first person games like Halo with patches to accommodate the new technology.
  • One of my favorite series my my favorite author of all time: Otherland

3) world poverty issues

  • I often wonder if technology and the relationship between need, want, and availability will ever progress to a ratio where the world population has enough to survive. Perhaps social relations are too complex to organize such an arrangement. Then again, maybe inflation and the invention of exclusive leisure technologies will continue to divert wealth from other causes. I can’t pretend to know.

4) war

  • With the increasing use of drone technology and “distanced warfare” I sometimes ponder what the future of war will look like. Perhaps it is too naive an idea, but I’ve often imagined the invention of highly effective non-lethal weapons. It would be interesting to discuss the logistics of an all non-lethal army with someone who actually knows about the subject of military requirements.

5) the end of human kind

  • Of course I will be long gone, and I have heard that most believe our species will not even survive to see the dousing of the sun, but I am curious what stage of society humans will be at when the last one dies. Will it be a mass extinction event at the height of culture, or will the world devolve into inferior lifeforms under unbearable environment changes.
  • The Hollow Men (1925) is a poem by T. S. Eliot: “This is the way the world ends/ Not with a bang but a whimper.”

6) career

  • I want to be everything I see. I watch musicians, I want to do that for life. I take an art symposium class and I want to be an artist. I make money at a slaes job over summer and I imagine doing it for life. The Daily Nexus published a list of the least useful majors yesterday. Arts was #1. I am in a constant pull between my passions and my securities. Sometimes I feel as though I have too many passions and I am spread too thin to master any. Commit and choose, or wait and discover?

7) soul mate

  • I want to find love, same as anything else. No matter what I end up doing for income, I want to be able to come home and sleep next to the greatest reward in my life. How do I know, though? Will I always wonder if there is someone better? Will I always shy away and be intimidated by those I see as superior and undeserving of my burden?

8) family

  • I always work best when I serve someone else. Having kids seems like the most wonderful, scariest, life-fulfilling experiences there are. I wonder if I will be a good enough dad, though. I can hardly take care of myself.

9) old age

  • Growing up is hard. I’m very privileged compared to most so it feels as if I shouldn’t have anything to complain about. Growing old must be even harder. Or is it? I can only imagine the anxieties I feel about accomplishment and dreams will only be intensified in a position where I am looking back on possibilities. Or will I live out my days in satisfaction with the one I love? I guess I could also die tomorrow.

10) death

  • Do the lights just go out? Is there anything perceivable in terms of human experience beyond life? What will change when I am gone? What will my actions have effected? Would I even want to live “forever” even if I could? Do we give the world and universe its significance through self awareness or is there an intrinsic meaning to it all? Is there a difference between my mind, body and soul, or have layers of human constructed stories, theories, and concepts manifested into an acceptable notion just simple enough for me to understand but not transcend? Is there even such a thing as an “answer” outside human culture?

Do I love out of fear of loneliness or kindness?

Tuesday 5/8: Consumption

List of everything I consumed and/or bought today:
  • 220 mcg of fluticasone
  • 2 glasses of water
  • 60 mg of fexofenadine and 120 mg of pseudoephedrine
  • 1 bowl of Cranberry Almond Clusters with Almond Milk
  • 216 mcg of albuterol sulphate
  • 1 bluebook
  • 1 package of Wasabi Roasted Seaweed Snack
  • 1 glass of water
  • 1 chocolate chip cookie
  • 1 egg, 1 slice of bread, 1 spread of mayonnaise, dash of salt, pepper, and Spike
  • another chocolate chip cookie
  • 1 serving of dried mango
  • 1/2 cup pasta, 1 serving of Alfredo, 1 cup vegetables, 1 chicken breast
  • 1/2 cup rainbow sherbet
  • 220 mcg of fluticasone
  • 60 mg of fexofenadine and 120 mg of pseudoephedrine

Saturday 5/5: Recipe

(Brian Jaques, 2002)

My absolute favorite recipe to make or eat is Shrimp’N’Hotroot Soup. The dish was originally a fictional meal featured in Brian Jacques’ Redwall book series. The soup is a traditional meal of the otter folk. One of my dear friends here at school shared a special booklet on the tribes of Redwall featuring otters. I was delighted to discover it included a detailed recipe!

(Brian Jaques, 2002)

Wednesday 5/2: Confessions Project – Group C Documentation

Even during the initial stages of planning my project, I knew I wanted to do something that involved recording my confessions. I was inspired by the example project where a girl surrounded herself in a circle of tape players and played each pre-recorded confession one after the other. It made me wonder what it would sound like if she had played all of them at once.

This idea served another purpose, one that had been a concern of mine since the project’s announcement. I was stuck with a confession I could not share. As much as I admired the idea of throwing caution into the wind and revealing all, I knew my biggest secret was not one I could simply announce, even in such a small class. This is how the idea of using my confessions as shields came about. For so long my secrets had been kept private with silence. Now, they would unite to hide each other in a turmoil of chaotic proclamations.

Before I began recording, I almost wrote a list of confessions. The idea was to organize my most meaningful secrets, and possibly even script each one. Although the need to structure my expressions is usually overpowering, I realized it would make the performance rather sterile. When I imagine a confession, I think of a raw, genuine admission, uncensored and unprompted. Therefore, I simply turned on the mic and recorded the first take of every confession that came to mind – umms, pauses, backtracking and all. The unexpected advantage of this choice was portions of each channel lapsed into silence allowing sections of sentences to stand out. I was pleased to hear upon review that certain words and phrases were describable while the whole recording still remained incomprehensible. This turned out to be an aspect I could have improved on since many criticisms centered around being unsatisfied with the lack of coherent confessions.

The four or so minutes of silence at the end were initially what was left of the last track. I sat at my desk with nothing to say as I thought about my last few confessions. When I went back to listen to the whole thing I realized the last track on hiding in sleep was so much longer than the rest the entire ending was exposed. The emphasis on this line reminded me of how my worries, fears, and anxieties echo in my head when I try to sleep.This gave me the idea to allow the audience members a period of rest to empathize.   This turned out to be one of my projects biggest strengths since a lot of the feed back I received included reports of feeling personally connected to my experience. The shrill alarm marking the end of the recording and my labored exhale signified returning to the real world. I hoped to make a strong ending that, even in simply concluding the project and bringing everyone back to the classroom, still held significance.

Wednesday 5/2: Reflection on Confessions Project – Group C

(Ajia Orozco, 2012)

Mallory J’s cocoon piece was as beautiful physically as it was conceptually. Even though one of my criticisms on site expressed the wish for evidence of a transformation, I later changed my mind. While she admits she has transcended the emotion experience of a bad relationship and divorce, her confession was the acknowledgement that, at one time, she was trapped. Considering that the project was intended to represent another point in time, I feel her choice of a complete cocoon was after all appropriate.

Ajia’s flower confessions were simple but emotional. The simplicity of a fragile flower (even though they was fake) added to the vulnerability of the confessions. It was strange seeing one of them in person since her presentation in class was like a review of an experience I already had. I was initially excited because I was so sure it was a project form my class. But after the pride of recognition faded I actually took the time to read what it really said and I was subdued by embarrassment for feeling so delighted. I began to think about the times I believed I was not a good person, either. But then I felt better after thinking about everyone in the class, knowing that we all had our mistakes. I found myself wishing the best for whoever had planted the confession, and wanted to give them a hug.