Week 1: Collect all found media, audio
I’m going to be using some found media for example scenes from Albert Hitchcock’s “Birds”. This will be combined with my own videos to create a montage style video. I want it to be kind of panicky because of the concept of the project. Once I have collected all the videos I want I am going to trim them and figure out the structure of the video.
For the audio of the film I have two ideas. The first idea is to use a recording of my grandmother talking about her fear of birds. If that doesn’t work out because the quality is bad or it doesn’t work well with the video I thought of using a recording of a poem by a Russian poet. There are a few poems about birds that I have found and one of them is by my grandmothers favorite poet so it would work well conceptually.
Week 2: Film pigeons in a park/on the streets
I am also going to have mostly my own videos in the project so I am going to go to different places in New York where there are a lot of pigeons. Because I am not comfortable around them this will challenging so I think a lot of it will end up being zoomed in footage. I want to have videos from different angles to show how through this video I am trying to figure out why I am afraid of birds.
Week 3: Editing and making the audio if I decide to include my grandmother speaking
Once I have all of my videos ready I am going to combine them in Premiere. I want the video to look frantic, but also coherent with good transitions.
Week 4: Finalizing film
Thesis Question: To what extent do the objects in our life serve as reminders of our cultural identity?
Throughout my life I have been collecting objects from different moments in my life as a way to always have a memory of that moment. These objects are precious to me even if it is simply a plane ticket. I have collected a variety of objects for example jewelry, tickets, receipts and small notes from days I believe were special, but the most significant collection in my life has been my doll collection.
Since I was born, my mother and father have given me dolls from their trips all around the world. I have dolls from Sudan, North Korea, Nepal, Chile, Egypt and more. By now I have over 100 dolls, some from the same country. These dolls are all done in different styles and are all wearing their traditional clothes. I keep my collection in a shelf in my room, they are not organized by country, but by time. I organized them in this way so that they document a journey. I view this collection as a single object because I value each doll the same and feel like the absence of just one would fail to document all the experiences my family has had traveling over the years.
Of course the core of my collection is dolls from Russia and America which have a more personal meaning to me culturally. Despite that, the dolls from the countries some people might not even know about mean just as much to me. I relate to all of them culturally, especially the ones from the countries I have also visited, because growing up some of my earliest memories were from traveling to foreign countries. As I brought back a doll each time I felt as though I was bringing a piece of that culture back home. This remains special to me as I will always have a small reminder of the places I have been and the memories I made there. These journeys have contributed to me as a person now, making me more open and curious about other cultures.
One of the earliest memories I have about my doll collection is my dad returning from Kyrgyzstan. At that young age of four I did not know about this country. However, I was mesmerized by the doll he brought back. It has the traditional head piece that looks like it has silver hair and a traditional long green silk coat over a white dress. This is still one of my favorite dolls because of its beauty. I was immediately interested in where the doll came from and what the people in this country are like. As my curiosity for these dolls grew I began to pay closer attention to the craftsmanship and clothing. I began to appreciate my growing collection more as each time I was learning something new about a different culture. I particularly remember being extremely curious about Iraq the time my father brought back a set of three dolls from there. This set had three figures – a man sitting down next to some kind of bowl of sand and two women in Hijab. All of their faces look the same except for the man’s beard and they were made with a low quality plastic that over time has fallen apart. The dolls had an eerie quality to them, their faces were less doll-like and had more stern expressions. When my father gave this to me I was almost scared of it, but I was also very curious. I wondered why these dolls didn’t look as “cute” as the other ones which were usually smiling, I was curious why the material was so strange and why my father said it this was the only thing he could find. Similarly to the dolls from Iraq, the one from North Korea was also the only one my father could get. It is a piece of fabric in a frame with embroidery of a woman in a traditional dress. The fabric and the thread is thin and rough, the figure lacks a lot of detail and looks very unrealistic, which just like the Iraqi dolls, comments on the country’s political climate.
I believe that this collection has educated me about the world and has also inspired my art. Most of my art revolves around people and their cultures. I am constantly inspired by the people in my life and my own research about different countries and their cultures, for example their clothes. This has always been the main inspiration for my work. Without my parents evoking my interest in cultures I believe I would not be the same person I am today and my art would be completely different.
My doll collection holds a special place in my heart as it is very sentimental and has helped shape me as a person, making me more culturally aware and curious. My collection has also helped me maintain the memories I have from the places I have visited. This collection has brought me and my father closer as he thinks of me when traveling and we often sit in my room and look at my vast collection recalling our memories from these places.