Int. Studio: Visual Culture: Final

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For my final paper in seminar I wrote about gender inequality in film. For this bridge project we chose a work of art thats theme fit with our topic for our seminar project. We were encouraged to identify three terms in the work of art we picked and then add two of our own that we would emphasize in our work. I chose to work with David Lynch’s ‘Twin Peaks’. David Lynch does a remarkable job of creating female protagonists for his films. However, they are almost always enter-twined in a male dominate story line. My five terms are listed below, the ones in bold are meant to be emphasized in my re-working of the piece.

  1. Subdued vs. Exaggerated
  2. Interaction
  3. Intrigue
  4. Feminine Voice
  5. Deconstruct

Exposing more of a feminine voice was important to me. I decided to pick a pivotal scene in the series, that included just two women speaking to one another. I was inspired by The Bechdel Test, which challenges a film to have at least on scene with just two women in it, who are named while speaking to one another about something other than a man. Nearly half of hollywood films fail this. I decided to eliminate all male presence from the scene. This began with me silencing the video and adding captions. However, that felt awkward and confusing. As I reworked the piece more I felt that replacing bits where references to men were with outside sources would better deconstruct whats happening. These outside source imagery either literally or abstractly did so. Each outside source imagery was carefully picked to flow along with Lynch’s aesthetic. I presented the script next to the video. The script showed lines that were blacked out. These were the parts where men were previously referenced. The blocking out created a sense of censorship, meant to be ironic since so many females are censored in media. Script

This class really challenged me. Throughout the course I struggled and felt incredibly blocked. However, this final project felt freeing. I am proud to say I created something I like. This class has helped me realize my strengths and weaknesses. Specifically, this final project has enabled me to come to the realization that film is my preferred medium. In the future I would like to explore both writing and film editing more.

 

Artist Book

We were prompted to make an artist book which topic was one of five proposed movements/marches proposed by Prof. Simone Kearney. My book discussed the Women’s March on DC. I took a more comic approach because I wanted to be able to reach a younger audience. 

Archival Work – Int. Studio 2

This assignment prompted us to work with archives. I found this images on Ubu and decided to manipulate their story lines. I was inspired by Walid Raad’s work. I turned the people into characters and fabricated their life story.  Hopefully, what I’ve presented challenges the viewer to question what they’re presented. Is it factual or false? I wanted the viewers to ask themselves this question. I exaggerated the story and left the craftsmanship messy. I wanted it to have sketchbook feel, not for it to be curated like in a gallery or museum.

Image and Text

This assignment prompted us to pair imagery with text. I used a photograph I’d taken of my mothers worked hands gently placed on top of an image of Susan Sontag. Susan Sontag maintains to be a powerful feminist icon. A block of color is placed over the wedding ring, making it impossible to notice. Sontag’s mouth is crossed out, silencing her. Hot pink circles are placed over her boobs, glamourizing her body. The text reads “My hands, drained and strained. My dreams persist, resist. My time will come.” The poem is said from a wives and mothers perspective. In this photograph, the hands are meant to encourage a theme of love and labor. Mothers and women embody both these themes. Today is considered to be a progressive time. Yet women are often still chalked up to being a wife, expected to be. Little girls aren’t encouraged to dream big the way little boys are expected to. The text paired with the imagery simply encourages a theme of freedom for women. Women work hard and dream, yet society views them simply as wives, mothers, and sometimes pleasurable objects for men.

Installation

After the election I was distraught. I had comfortably grown up in the extreme liberal bubble known as Seattle. In a night my outlook on the world was completely disrupted. I struggled putting to words how I felt. Hoping others could better articulate the trauma of the reaction results I resorted to Facebook. Instead I become even more disappointed. Both sides were spewing ignorance and going on emotionally charged rants. At first I thought I’d interview my peers, only showing their lips as they spoke so that the viewer couldn’t identify race or gender. To me this election was about much more then politics, it was about fighting for human rights that Trump so clearly doesn’t stand for. It seemed that humans were filled with so much bigotry and hate for one another. Have we forgotten that we are all human, all alike. Or was this never learned in the first place. As social media blew up, it became harder for me to go on discussing the election. It seemed and still does seem like few people were engaging in intriguing, creative, and simply smart discussions. I didn’t need to interview my peers because they had already posted their opinions everywhere. I decided that my contribution to discussing this election would be exposing how we as a community are talking about it. Community as in this country. I placed huge red lips over dress forms and had scrolls of posts people have made regarding the election. The majority of them were ignorant and emotionally fueled. The lips were meant to seem bigger than someones head, so huge that they were almost humorous. The neutral color of the dress forms and absence of any head made it impossible to recognize peoples race and gender. As well I blacked out their profile pictures and names. Ultimately this installation is showing that we all need to think before we speak. To some degree this project is incredibly ironic. Many criticize Trump for spewing nonsense yet over social media the world is doing the same.

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The Story of What Happened

For this project I worked off a short narrative in which i described what it was like to come home and prepare for bed after a long day. I’ve found that going through the mundane motions of brushing my teeth and washing face have become fairly therapeutic. I had never worked with Adobe Premier before, however creating this video provided me an opportunity to familiarize myself with the software. I played with the juxtaposition of images and the speed. I offed a music that I felt emphasis the repetitive nature of the actions displayed in the video, a song called Coffee by Sylvan Esso. I played with color. In my first draft of the video I wore a black shirt. For the final I switched to a blue shirt in attempt to emphasis the blue in the room.

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Story of the Block

Each exercise we participated in during class revealed the important of sequence, progression, and perspective.When someone enters a block they immediately have an impression. Our senses flare constantly. Each person reacts uniquely to a situation or encounter. This is important to note, that everyones experience is unique and their perspective different. When studying a block I immediately noticed patterns. Cars blared in spastic rhythm. Their break would screech when the light turned red and as soon as the light turned green horns would blare. As time continued the block went from feeling completely deserted to slowly gaining life. As time evolved the blocks atmosphere would change. However, the constant pattern of cars stayed the same. The sequence of buildings became important because it became another constant within the block. In one excursive we overlapped the photos, representing a collapse of time. In the next we kept each photo distinct from the other, which slowed and stretched the sequence. In another exercise we repeated the photographs, dropping the ones that seemed insignificant. In our final layout we included images that showed the passer-byers and important highlights of the block. We were offered the option of titling these extra photos. This created a narrative for the block. Through each exercise a story line was created.

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Each block in New York is incredibly unique. From the people to the stores to the garbage that lines the sidewalk, it is special and different. However, 6th ave between Waverly Pl and Washington ST. lys a block that is all too bland. CVS and Duane Reade have monopoly on one side of the block. On the other side sits a big white church, that’s not particularly pretty. The church was built in 1834 making it the oldest Roman Catholic Church in New York City. A red door is at the front and happens to be the most vibrant part of the block. An occasional woman may stroll along. Most likely falling across it by accident, having just come from the friendly streets of the west village, which is bustling with hip activity. Empty storefronts lay next to CVS and Duane Reade. Apartments that seem abandoned sit next to the church with a red door. The streets fairly clean. The church must maintain it or its cleanliness is due to its vacancy. A food stand is stalled on one of the corners. And after thirty minutes not a single sole bought food from the stand. Cars often rush by, sometimes screeching to a halt. The stoplight that faces south is quick and gives cabs just barely enough time to pass through. Older women walk by tugging at their puppies, who wander aimlessly. Compared to many streets in the city this one feels empty. Cars overwhelm the street. However, the sidewalk and buildings seem vacated. It’s eerily peaceful, yet somehow the block maintains to feel like the streets that follow freeway exits. The sun sometimes blares down on the block, making the white church with the bold red door appear almost heavenly. The roar of cars took precedence over any other sounds. Every once and awhile a pedestrians voice may override the hum of vehicles. The sounds of other people’s conversations linger only for a moment as the roar of the cars blare back.

A Day Unfolds

When I began this project I decided to approach it with as much freedom as possible.  I went through my day acting as normal as possible. Capturing moments that were important to me rather than the traditional daily routine quickly became my goal. On the first linear time map I laid the photos out based on time. The map read from morning to night. On my final time map I decided that the sequence was less important. I wanted viewers to be unsure when each photo was taken. I kept all the photos in black and white because no event took precedent over another.  The photos are grouped by location because throughout my day thats what separated time, where I was.

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In the morning sun shines brightly through my window. My roommate roars with laughter. Friends from her home often call her early in the morning. She gossips with them for hours and sobs when it comes time to hang up. I attempt to offer comfort but barely knowing her there’s not much I can do. So, I decide to go for a walk. I think that when it comes my time to cry and be homesick i’d appreciate space. Back home I hated going on walks. But here it’s all I want to do. On each block there’s so much to see, so much beauty and sorrow in one place, I can’t help but feel inspired. Everything and everyone is constantly changing. As I round the block past my dorm I spot a man slumped across a stoop. His shoe had slipped off just a few feet behind. I was enamored by how comfortable he looked. I decide to explore the East Village. Peculiar stores line the street. A Mickey Mouse and three skeletons sat propped against a shop window. Smiles stretched across their faces. A nearby gallery displayed a sign that reads ‘bada bing’ with the statue of liberty boldly centered. I grew up hearing my grandmother say this. Whenever something felt exciting or special to her, she’d shout ‘bada bing!’. I wandered closer to school. The empire state building always seems to lay in the background. In Washington Square park it seemed all classes, rich and poor, gathered in desperation to escape the heat. A baby ran naked through the fountain while a woman tanned in her bikini. At the corner grocery store Gus sodas lined the wall. My baby brothers name is Gus and for a moment I wished to be back home with him again. I continued through New York to my friends apartment. I passed the spa I was gonna start work at soon. The spa was named Daphne and I had decided that was a good omen. Growing up Scooby Doo was my favorite show. My friend changed in and out of different outfits. Once she had found the perfect pair of vintage mom jeans we escaped from the apartment and continued to wander. We searched for a cheap dinner. Men chopped ducks next to a pizzeria with dollar slices. Finally we landed on a diner where we devoured breakfast food and curly fries. While we walked home we were disturbed by the sight of a young woman crying on her knees. Her boyfriend stood near by unsure what to do.

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