Monday, March 16, 2015


My final project is really strange, and I don't truly understand it. I first became enthralled with the idea of adapting TS Eliot's poem, "Hysteria," in an abstract visual and auditory form. This poem, to me, encapsulates the feeling of being in love with somebody's laugh. From there, I realized the difficulty in expressing the warmth and romance of Eliot's poem. This led me to aim at capturing contagious laughter in an abstract form. So although I kept the title, the end product truly does not represent the tonal qualities of Eliot's poem.

Upon recognizing this, however, I recalled a moment in which my mom and I broke into hysterical laughter during an interview. I had audio! I spent two weeks recording different moments of conversation, but was unable to record an audio which effectively matched that from the interview with my mom. Rethinking my project once again, I realized that I laugh harder with my mom than I do with anyone else. So I decided to ultimately make this video honor a single moment in time.

The visuals are presented as stop-motion animation. I used bright colors against stark backgrounds and quick movement to compliment the tone of the recorded audio. I manipulated the visuals to match with the audio temporally. I do feel that this piece succeeds in capturing the moment in which this laughter was captured. But I don't think it is as accessible as I had hoped.

Monday, March 2, 2015

Wordsworth is not the Massage

Marshall McLuhan demonstrates a lot of his intellectual prowess through the use of other people's intellectual property. By constantly referencing and quoting historical figures who revolutionized the content of their own medium, McLuhan finds support for smaller arguments that he makes. However, each of those figures were most interested in the content of their productions and creations.

William Wordsworth is an excellent example of that truth. He revolutionized his own field of poetry by becoming a founding father of the Romantic Age of English literature.

I am a very research oriented individual and gained a lot from the experience of researching Wordsworth. I struggled a bit more in establishing a clear thesis that combines Wordsworth and McLuhan into one cohesive message. However, by spending enough time thinking about it, I realized that the two actually have less in common than one would initially assume. This helped me disprove McLuhan key argument once and for all.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Convocation Reflection:

As someone who sat on the Committee for Public Occasions, I enter all convos with preconceived notions of the speakers. To begin with, I know a lot of background information about each speaker, have seen them speak, and, most of the time, feel that they provide valuable insight for the Lawrence community. Upon reviewing Kwame Anthony Appiah as a potential speaker, I immediately noted that his speaking style might be tough to relate to a LU student. But his content seemed incredibly valuable.

As Lawrence students, Honor Code means something tangible. The Honor Code is an acronym. According to Appiah, however, the Honor Codeis about the way people relate to each other through a system of globalized values. Ultimately, I did not relate to all of Appiah's key points and I believe his entire argument can be summed up within this quote, "It is with honor that we can have unanimous and reasonable pursuit of a decent life."

My personal disagreement with any of his points stems from one simple fact: Appiah was identifying real, global issues, but could not identify real, global solutions. For Appiah, Honor Code implies something explicitly intagible. I think that this convocation raised some very interesting questions, but did not provide many of the answers I was looking for.

Monday, February 23, 2015

"Something is Happening" Exhibit:

I really loved participating in the exhibit, "Something is Happening." My mom has been a gallery director for more than a decade. Since she began in her position, I have helped set up for anywhere from 5-10 exhibits every year. In all of this time, the closest I have come to participating was through my mom's work, but never through my own. I loved the participatory aspect of "Something is Happening."

Along with that, I really admire a lot of the work in the exhibit. Each two-photograph series was unique in style and content, and we all focused on different aspects of post-production. A lot of my themes for this show, and my work this term, have been ironic. The book title, “God is real and so is Art,” along with the photograph titles, “Bobby Frank” and Robert Inverted,” serve as testaments to that fact. But that irony is not intended to take away from my genuine appreciation and respect for the work being shown.

“Something is Happening” was modest, engaging, and fun. And these were my favorite snacks (except for the pretzels).

Monday, February 16, 2015

Ambient Ish:

The absurdism of each sound correlates, in my mind, to the understanding of the way we process information. However, these sounds specifically relate to the way that I imagine Beer the Deer processes information. I came up with the idea for this project while drunkenly staring at him and wondering what he might be thinking.

In creating my soundscape, I wanted to layer sounds to create a gradual building effect. Overall, I wanted to create a sense of calm which slowly descended into greater and greater chaos before everything 'snaps' and returns to the initial calm. I recorded each of these sounds with a Zoom recorder. The items that were recorded include the following: a running car, a passing car, an egg beater, a creaky chair, whistling, yodeling, yelling, clanking pans, and a wooden box snapping.

I feel that these ideas can be illuminated clearly by McLuhan's John Cage quote, "Everything we do is music."

Monday, February 2, 2015

God is real and so is art.

I found the toughest part of this project to be the aspect of spontaneity. Robert Frank's images emulate that quality so effectively, while still capturing emotion, movement, and beauty. I have never really tried to seem spontaneous in my artistic endeavors, and am more akin to structured and symmetrical images. McLuhan quotes John Cage in a section that clearly illuminates the concept that I was struggling to understand:

"Give up illusions about ideas of order, expressions of sentiment, and all the rest of our inherited aesthetic claptrap... Theatre takes place all the time, wherever one is. And art simply facilitates persuading one this is the case."

Opposite this reading in The Medium is the Massage is a visual display of voice tracks. After deciding not to continue with a project titled "Fuck Off," imitating an Ai Wei Wei series, I went back to some random photographs I took over the past week. I discovered that I was most interest in a visceral texture in several of the photos that had some of the same qualities as the voice track images in McLuhan's book.

Each of the photos are intended to be paired in twos, except for the first and last image. These pairings are mostly dictated by shared aesthetic qualities.

God is real and so is art. Flickr page

"Ode to Robert Frank"

"Wooden Shed Door"