I’m Vivian Gong. My major is Fashion Design, but I’m also interested in Photography and Interior Design. In the first semester, the courses are very diverse and cover a wide range of topics and skills, but also share many similarities. In Time course, I studied how to use Premiere to edit video clips. I captured moments in daily life to express my own perspectives and ideas by using DSLR camera and Premiere. In Space course, I studied through several materials like wood, metal and plaster and learned how to combine them into utilized objects.
In Drawing&Imaging course, I learned basic theory of making image, and tried to put the image in my mind into the paper. In Integrative studio and seminar, I used the skills I learned in Time and Space to try to visualize my idea of some given topics. I made a collaborative video with my group mates about SoHo in Integrative studio 1 and made a video about consumerism influences female in Integrative studio 2, both by using the skills I learned in Time course. Also, the final project of Integrative studio 1 is a book I made by using the special printing machine in the Graphic Lab which I did researches in Drawing&Imaging course.
For an artist, the crucial part of doing a project/artworks is the process of transforming the idea in the head to the real visualized experience that others can interact with. With the various materials researched in courses and the rich equipment source of the school, the visualization of the idea could be more easier and exciting that the voice in the artwork could be heard by many audiences and let the audiences interpret it without the artist to explain. All the courses’ projects are research-based and I really enjoyed the process of researching. The New School has a library that full of rich sources and students also have the access to NYU’s library. These sources provide me a rich background information in my academic writings, and also offer me a deep look at the topic in my studio making. In both the Bridge project 4 of Integrative studio&seminar 1 and the final project of Integrative studio&seminar 2, the topics of seminar writing and studio making share a lot of similarities. The researches I did in seminar writing and the perspective I gained can reflect in the artworks I made in studio. In this way, the projects are connected cohesively.
There are two highlights from my first year. One is the Bridge project 2 of the Integrative Studio 1. In the Bridge project 2 of IS1, we are asked to made a “gift card” for a friend who had never been to New York City. In seminar, we did interviews of our friends about what they would like to do if they were in NYC without letting them know it’s a school project. Then in studio, we are asked to experience the thing our friends wanted to do and made the “gift card” according to the experience. The “gift card” can be interpreted as any media. My friend wanted to stay at a really quiet old bookstore without any electronic devices for an entire afternoon. So I turned of my cellphone and spent the entire afternoon at the third floor of Strand which the entire floor is full of rare old books and first editions. I’m not a book person, so at first I did this totally because I want to do the thing my friend wanted to for her. But when I started to read poem collections, and immersed myself into the reading environment at the old bookstore, I found that New York could be so quiet and inspiring. This experience offered me a new perspective to view New York. When doing the “gift card”, I wanted to use typewriter to type the poem I read on the old-fashioned paper, and formed a book for my friend. I reached out a lot of stores and libraries, but none of them had a real typewriter that can still be used. So I used the calligraphy of typewriter to print on the old-fashioned paper to make the book. If I have more time, I would try to reach out more resources to rent a typewriter, because I think the text typing by a typewriter has something special that can convey the environment of the old quiet bookstore very well.
Another highlight of the year is the Bridge project 3 of the Integrative Studio 2. I choose to research class as my studio theme through the semester. In this project, we are asked to research a location, draw sketches and take photographies to collect symbolic visual imagery relevant to our topic. And then create a taxonomy combining 18 pictures and 18 sketches. I focused on how class influences female characters representing in video games for this project. I found an artist named Angela Washko whose majority works are focusing on the relationship between female and video games. One of her projects particularly interests me which she focus on “pick-up artists” who publish book, blogs or video games in order to seduce or have sexual interactions with/access to women. This project is an immersive installation named The Game: The Game which is recently exhibited in The Museum of Moving Image in New York.
I went there and experienced the game and took a lot of pictures. I found this installation is so thought-provoking by placing the real exists things (“pick-up artists” creations) into a video game and made the first perspective as a female. Every woman can be the goal in such scene regardless of their own willings, but in “pick-up artists” and men (even some women)’s eyes who read their books or play the game, they are just learning about how to deal with sexual relationships. In other exhibitions in the museum, I also found out a lot of signs of woman being treated like objects in video games, and most of the female characters are appearance-attracting and neither need to be saved by the main female character or are weaker that need to complete things by attracting others using physical body. For example, in the iconic video games “Donkey Kong”, the main male character need to overcome several difficulties to save the princess. Princess is an object, a trophy, a symbol of success for men.
Such stereotype or plots still have market and the businesses still get profits nowadays. I think such situation about the position of female in video games reflects female’s social status in real life, and is formed by so many creations of visual culture in the society for a long time. The 18 pictures I selected showing the discrimination towards woman in video games (I took at the museum of moving image), and in the contrast, I drew 18 sketches about woman as another half players of the video games have their own power and control the way they present themselves and deserve more respects.
I choose to study Fashion Design as my major is because I’m interested in how clothes as a way of communication between individuals and the outside world. As one of the most immediately seen media when people interact, clothing can reflects the situation of people who wear it and the outside world can also hear the statement of the piece of fabric is trying to make. I want to address gender inequalities and stereotypes in future projects, because I think nowadays clothes become a tool to symbol the difference between genders, and a lot of stereotype and gender emerge. Like some projects I did this year about how video games influence female, how consumerism/advertisement affect female, these topics share some similarities, and the same situation can be different and worth research for in different contexts. I believe Fashion Design could be a career for it. The new skill I want to learn is how to print images or pattern on fabric, unlike paper, the drapery of fabric gives it the special characterize to express certain tension. So I want to learn fabric-printing to add to that.