Bridge 1 – Part I: 7 Days of Responding to Visual Culture

Day 1:

I photographed this image in Washington Square Park in November. I chose it because it was related to the theme (environment) I chose.

This photo relates to the NYC in my view really well. First, the retro building outside and the modern cage inside provide me an incongruous contrast; NYC, for me, is a city that mixes different cultures and time periods in a detestable way. Second, Ai Weiwei, the creator of the cage-like sculpture, is a name I have never heard before, so do other names and nouns that were (and maybe still are) completely unfamiliar to me. NYC is a city that brings me so much cultural shock, and I still don’t fit in this city after 5 months living here. Everyone says that NYC is a place of chances and freedom, but barely feel so in this city.

Day 2:

I photographed this image on the top of the New Museum in the first week I came to NYC last August. As I mentioned in the last post, I dislike the way how different cultures and time periods are mixed in NYC. This time is a more general view. I choose Vancouver, a place where I lived for 3 years, to compare with NYC. In the west side of Vancouver, the streets are urbanized; going all the way to the east, the areas become more like villages, and at the east end, the houses hide in forests. Each districts has its own function, and the gradient change is natural. I cannot see a well-organized structure in NYC, as everything is blended together.

Day 3:

I found an online image of Brooklyn Bridge taken on Washington Street. The photo is taken either in sunrise or sunset, since the background in blurring in light yellow. I think this photo can represent NYC’s environment from some perspectives. Specifically, NYC is known for its high urbanization, and the city is structured by reinforced concrete in general. When I see this photo on Pinterest, I see some related images that are taken from similar spots but during different time period. One similarity that I find interesting is that the images are mostly one point perspective (going forward), which creates an atmosphere of forcing citizens to run forward. Since the general tone of the image is dark with few sparkles, it also reminds me Van Gogh’s painting “Cafe Terrance at Night”. The painting is also one-point-perspective, and it has a similar structure as the photograph I find.

Day 4:

The online image I find is the corner of a random block (probably in Soho) that is built around 1970’s (in my guess). This is an atypical view of streets in NYC. Besides Broadway, I see this (75% short buildings + 25%tall buildings combination) very often in NYC. The windows are normally small and identical, which give me a feeling of pigeonholes. The buildings also remind me a game called Tetris, since they are both grouped randomly by squares in similar sizes.

Day 5:

I find a image of Broadway, the busiest street in the city. Some components of the photo are alike to the one in Day 3. However, they are illustrating two different characteristics of the city. There are obviously more objects covering the image, and at the end the density of the objects is extremely high. Also the image is more colorful  than the one in Day 3.From the background, I guess it is either when the sun just rises or about to go down, but the neon lights are still on, with the vehicles filling the street. To conclude, this image really shows the high sustainability and urbanization of NYC.

Day 6:

On MoMA website, I find a work that really catches my attention. Altar/Engine, a 3-D printed art craft, is made by Tauba Auerbach in 2015, which I feel it related to NYC’s geographical environment in some way. The blue surface can be a metaphor of water, and the white tall sections (the main group of objects)  is like Manhattan, the most affluent place in NYC, The lower sections are like Queens/Brooklyn, which are not as prosperous but still have their own functions.

The structure of this work reminds me of a circuit board. The circuit board can be clearly divided into multiple parts, but they are still connected to each others by electronic power. Since Auerbach’s work contains yellow and white elements, it also reminds me the ferries and subways that play the role of transporting people in between different areas.

Day 7:

The painting I select from MoMA is created by Kerry James Marshall. This untitled image created in 2013 describes a scene in a nightclub. NYC is known as its nightclub culture, and around my dorm there are lots of bars, and young people from NYU and other colleges wil fill every corner of the bars in weekend nights. However, unlike my expectation, the bar in the painting has a very dark and glooming atmosphere; the main object is not human, which is unusual. There are few people in the bar, and all of them seem to have African heritage. The style of painting reminds me a Japanese anime called “Madoka Magica” (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Puella_Magi_Madoka_Magica). In this anime, girls with strong negative emotions will become witches; and witches are drawn in a similar style as Marshall does in this painting.

1 Comment

  1. kooz910 · January 29, 2018 Reply

    What If Questions:
    Day 4
    What if the photo is taken from a different angle?
    What if the photo is a painting or an illustration or a sculpture or an installation?
    What if the photo is printed and enlarged?
    What if the photo is turned into a model?
    What if the photo is painted on street?
    What if the photo is printed on daily objects? ex. plates, cups, book cover
    What if the photo is a poster that has a slogan under?
    What if the buildings are no constructed or not tall?
    What if the buildings are turn into wasteland?
    What if the photo is taken in a different lighting or weather?
    What if there are people or lively objects in the photo?
    What if the photo is made of a collage?

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