RDA Part 3: Designed Activism

Project Proposal

My project is focusing on the damage oil mining is having on our environment. A method previously described as the “future of oil mining” is having a toxic effects on our drinking and groundwater. The modern version of fracking has allowed oil companies to unlock oil and gas reserves across more than 20 US states. This has resulted in lower gas prices which people have taken advantage of greatly. While this seems like a good solution to boost the Americna economy it is highly dangerous to our climate. Fracking also has serious effects on air quality as these harmful chemicals enter our water system. There have already been many instances where residents in fracked communities complained about their water being polluted with these toxic chemicals. 

Fracking has also had economic repercussions as it has lowered the costs of oil and is expected to cover 80% of the global demand for oil in the next three years. With our current political climate the oil business in America is no where near an end as Trump has sought to portray himself as a “savior of the US oil and gas industry” (Time Magazine). With Trumps attempt to “Make America Great Again” through oil and industrialization the future of our environment is grim. This rise in oil production has also caused unrest in the Middle East and Russia as there is increased completion for oil exports worldwide. 

However, there are things Americans can do to help decrease the demand for oil. Switching to electric cars, public transport, using solar energy are all options, some of which are more economically friendly. Many countries and states have banned this practice amid concerns over water supplies. (The Guardian) 

I personally have witnessed the damages of fracking while driving through West Texas, one of the main oil exporters in America. When your plane lands in Midland Texas all you see around the tarmac is old oil mining pumps. As my family and I drove for miles to a ranch the highway was surrounded by empty land covered in these pumps. There was hardly and vegetation or wildlife to speak of in these areas. However as soon as we reached the ranch’s area the land was once again full of life. This experience was valuable to be as it made me more aware of the damages oil and natural gas has on our environment, it made me question all of my actions regarding sustainability and made me think of how I can do more to help protect our planet. Seeing this shocked me as I previously so oblivious to the effects oil has on the environment as I did not directly witness it. 

This experience inspired me to create an installation piece aimed at educating society about the damages oil consumption is having on our country and what we can do to help. My plan is to place in a clear box an arrangement of wild flowers. I will than be covering these flowers in an acrylic material that will mimic the black shiny oil. The box is meant to represent an environment as well as draw more attention to my project than simply covering flowers in black would. The flowers will be a random selection to show how this effects everyone and every part of the world. The use of the flowers will also make the project more aesthetically pleasing as the elements of color will draw more attention to the piece. This box will be placed in Washington square park and around it will be pamphlets with facts about the oil industry and what we as individuals can do to help protect our environment and cut back on oil consumption. These will be small fliers one can easily fit in their pocket. These fliers will contain graphic images of the damages oil mining has on our world as well as bullet points stating facts of what has already happened due to oil mining and what is going to happen if we do not change our ways. These pamphlets will also include advice on what we as individuals can do to help. 

 I believe the visual element of my project will have a strong effect on the audience as the issue is easily recognizable. The installation will be presented this weekend in Washington Square Park. As I do not have the right documents and permission for public art I will not be able to have this project on display for an extended amount of time. However, I plan on also photographing and publishing it on multiple social media accounts inducing my personal one and one I created as a platform for Parsons students to share their ideas and projects. Both of these pages have a relatively large amount of followers therefore I will be able to reach out and educate many. 

My goal for this project is to educate my peers and other people living in New York about what is happening to America as a result of the oil industry reckless behavior. Through this project I also plan on educating myself about what I can do to cut back on my oil consumption. I believe this project will show people that even if they do not drive a car they are still contributing to the demand for oil which is wreaking havoc on global climate change and the greenhouse gas emissions. I believe that art has a powerful effect on society, even more powerful than actual scientific research. Therefore backing my project with factual evidence and making it as visually stimulating as possible will have a strong effect on the viewers. 

Vaughan, Adam. “Fracking – the Reality, the Risksand What the Future Holds.” The Guardian, Guardian News and Media, 26 Feb. 2018, www.theguardian.com/news/2018/feb/26/fracking-the-reality-the-risks-and-what-the-future-holds.

Worland, Justin. “U.S. Fracking Is About to Transform the Global Energy Market.” Time, Time, 6 Mar. 2018, time.com/5187074/fracking-energy-oil-natural-gas/.

“California’s Fracking Gone Wrong, Part 2: The Environmental Costs.” Occupy.com, 27 June 2013, www.occupy.com/article/californias-fracking-gone-wrong-part-2-environmental-costs?qt-article_tabs=3#sthash.ZkQ2sa4V.ROdjQxvk.dpbs.

Final Outcome

I was very pleased with the outcome of my project. While photographing it in the park I was approached multiple times and asked what the piece was. I was happy to explain the concept and the purpose of the piece. I had also had my fliers and my friend helped distribute them to those curious about the work. Once I had the desired photographs I placed it underneath the monument (pictured above) this was the ideal spot as there were many people passing by and it did not get lost amongst the greenery. Although I tried to hand out fliers, it was difficult as many people simply do not want to have to cary a piece of paper around, however I did manage to hand out a few.


In class presentation:

Object Redesign P2: Biomaterial Intergration

Natural Dye using berries.

For my prototype I used the natural dye kit. Because blue is not really a color that occurs naturally it was hard to create a prototype for what blue jeans would look like using natural dye. I was unable to access an indigo plant which is typically used for denim so I used blackberries and blueberries. I was worried how this would look once I noticed how pink my natural dye looked, however once I placed the dye fabric in the mordant it created a nice purplish hue. I believe if I used more berries the color would have been much more saturated. The process of creating the dye was longer than I thought, however it was interesting to watch the process.


  1. I boiled the berries 10 min longer than the recommended 30 for maximum saturation
  2. I washed my fabric samples and boiled them in the natural dye for 30 minutes after removing the berries
  3. I placed 3 of the samples in the mordant I prepared
  4. The remaining samples I left to dry naturally without treating them with the mordant

What I found was that the mordant heavily effected the color as well as the feeling of the fabric. The non treated once felt much harder and the color washed out easily. The treated fabric was a darker bluer hue and felt softer to touch.

Actual dye

Wool and cotton in the mordant

Non treated samples (left was washed)

Dry washed sample

Dry non-treated washed sample

Dry treated wool sample (left was not washed beforehand therefore there was natural oil on it from the sheep)

Dry treated sample (lighting in the room effected the color of the photograph)

Juanli Carrion – Studio Visit: IS2


Opus 2012: 

If the opera was sung in English or Spanish would the audio element of the performance piece still have the same level of quality? 

Outer Seed Shadow: 

As this is a public art, how do you expect the audience who is unaware of its intention to perceive it? 


How do you successfully capture and recreate an environment within an installation piece? 

Building the Never-ending Ruin of the World: 

How has the idea of memory changed due to the “virtual era” 


How does the backdrop create an alternate reality? 


What does this imaginary city say about our current society at large? 


How does this work challenge the way we think about nature and natural monuments? 


How does the language used in these public interventions effect the overall quality of the work? How is this distinguishable from regular text seen on the streets throughout cities? 

Atlas Shrugged: 

How does the medium chosen successfully support the context of a dystopian world? 


Since food is something that brings people together why is not used more often in the context of art and protest? 

Final Project IS2 – Visual Culture

Prototype April 6: I collected the key object for my installation piece – my mothers cowboy boots. I have also purchased other smaller elements of the piece such as doilies and a miniature cactus. I downloaded the video element from the movie Giant which I rewatched and chose the specific scene for my piece. I am currently researching how to make an oil like substance to reference the “masculinity” in Texas.

Seminar topic: significance of drag in American Pop-Culture.

Message: I am exploring the harsh gender boundaries in Texas through the use of objects and the depiction of Texans in Western movies.

I am making an installation piece using a carefully curated selection of objects. I will be placing the objects in a clear box to show how these objects are confined to a specific environment. To create bring this environment to life I will be using audio and visual elements. This will include a collection of clips from western movies where gender roles are heavily emphasized. I will also be using a recording of my Texan grandmother discussing the objects I selected and her personal memories from growing up in Texas.

The materials I selected are effective as they are very literal. The main visual element of the work is something from the environment I am trying to simulate in my work and the audio/visual part creates a cohesive installation piece.

Since last week I have looked for more objects I could use in the piece and researched how I can construct this box so that it looks as sleek and high quality as possible. This week I am planning on creating my recording. I am planning on working on my project for around 6 hours this week including the time spent searching for more video components and recording my grandmother.


Bridge 4: Refining Research Questions

 Sofia Perevalova


Bridge 4: Connections


READ THIS WORKSHEET CAREFULLY, ALL OF IT. Reviewing your Visual Essay Collage and Abstract, answer all the prompts in Part 1. Considering your Library Explorations I and II, answer all the prompts in Part 2. Upload a copy of this completed worksheet to your Learning Portfolio. Submit on Canvas the URL link to your LP post. Bring the hard copy of this completed worksheet to class on Friday, 13 April.


What is the specific Research Issue or Question on which you reflected and, therefore, that is expressed via and contextualized in your Visual Essay Collage?

What is the significance and influence of Drag on American culture? 

Select the 4 most important symbols in your Collage. Briefly explain the meaning of each one AND how it relates to your specific Research Issue/Question:

1. Ru Paul’s photograph. This is a key symbol in my collage as Ru Paul’s Drag Race is the show that changed the fate of Drag in America as it no longer became taboo. This show has become a staple in American Pop-Culture. 

2. Nan Goldin’s photograph of two drag queens is highly significant to my research. Goldin was among the first artists in America that really brought queer culture to the public through her raw, unfiltered documentation of her friends and members of the queer community. This image is important in my research as it references the time when drag and queer culture were considered taboo. Through her work however society became more aware of queer culture and the struggles members of this community face. 

3.  The photograph of a drag queen in a military uniform is meaningful as in my research I briefly explore drag queens in the military and how they performed infant of soldiers as a way to raise their spirits and bring joy. This image is important as it as significant reference to that aspect of drag in American history. 

4. Dian Arbus’s photograph of a man in drag is important as it was taken at the time where drag, cross-dressing and queer culture was highly taboo. This photograph is symbolic in its meaning and references the way these people were perceived by the public. 

Review the Abstract for your Visual Essay Collage. Identify the 4 most important terms AND the single-most important sentence. List those here:

1. Taboo 

2. Gender Identity 

3. Entertainment 

4. Pop-Culture 

 The intention of drag is to entertain people and bring people together, it has helped many people with their gender identity and self expression. 


Reviewing your Library Exploration I and II research findings, list the titles of the 4 most relevant sources you have found. For each source, specify whether it is a primary or secondary source AND its type (e.g., journal article, book chapter, archive material, newspaper, etc.). IMPORTANT NOTE: Bring hard copies of each of these sources to class on Friday, 13 April:

  1. Brevard, Aleshia. 2001. “Drag Queen.” In Woman I Was Not Born To Be: A Transsexual Journey, pp. 43-62. Temple University Press. 

Book chapter I will be using as a primary source as it explore the gender identity of an individual and the influence being a Drag Queen had. 

2. Couric, Katie. Gender Revolution: A Journey With Katie Couric. Documentary. Produced by Katie Couric. USA: National Geographic, 2017.

This documentary is a secondary source as I am using it to have a better idea of gender identity and the intricate details of queer culture at large. This is important to have in my research as it provides me with a broad yet detailed overview. 

3. Eberwein, Robert. 2007. “DRAG.” In Armed Forces: Masculinity and Sexuality in the American War Film, pp. 87-101. Rutgers University Press. 

This book chapter explores the influence Drag and sexuality had on warfare and how it challenged gender stereotypes. This is a primary source as it provides me with knowledge on gender as a performance and Drags influence on American culture. 

4.  Paul, Ru. Ru Pauls Drag Race: All Stars Season 3. Produced by Ru Paul. Los Angeles: VH1.

This TV show proves me with a visual element to my research. I will be using this as a secondary source. I plan on using this for reference to show how drag is currently influencing American Pop-culture. 

Given how you currently understand your Research Issue, compose 3 specific questions that you would need to address to explain and understand your Research Issue. These questions should all directly connect to the specific focus of your Final Research Paper. Thus, for each question, find a way to be as specific as possible about what in particular you must understand about your topic. These questions should narrow the scope of your topic. Note your questions here:

1. Why was Drag created?

2. How has the perception of Drag changed since it originally became popular in society?

3. How is drag important in gender identity, how has it influenced the ideas about gender in our society today?

Given how you understand the scope of your Research Issue, describe in 2 to 3 complete sentences the environment in which your Research Issue resides. In other words, clearly situate the WHO and WHERE of your analysis for your Final Research Paper. 

My research is focused specifically on American pop-culture. The paper explores the influence specifically American Drag has on American pop-culutre, I chose to do this as there was the most information and I have first hand witnessed how much more relevant drag is in the United States than in the UK for example. While drag has been around since the creation of theatre since only men were allowed to act, I am focusing on drag in the United Sates from the the mid 1900 until now. 

Explain in 2 to 3 complete sentences how that environment in particular is both appropriate and important for understanding your Research Issue.

This environment is important in understanding my research issue as I am focusing on Drag in pop-culture rather than throughout history. Because drag is particularly present in United States pop-culture, it is important to explore it specifically in this environment to understand its current significance. 

Describe in 2 to 3 complete sentences the audience (the reader) for your Final Research Paper. In other words, whom do you imagine would or should want to read this paper? Who would or should be interested in this issue?

I imagine the reader of my paper to be someone who either participates in drag themselves, therefore can provide a critical point of view as well as someone like me who previously was less educated in this field. Both these individuals would be interested in this issue as they both may learn something about the history of drag they previously did not know. It is also important for the people who do not know so much about queer culture and drag to read this as it can show how much pop-culture they see is influenced by drag. 

RDA #2: Participation Observation


This experience as a volunteer at the park was very educational for me. I learned more about gardening and I cleaned the park and got rid of the trash. This experience showed me how much effort goes into maintaining the parks in NYC that we often may take for granted.  I am interested to see how the park will look once everything we planted blooms as it was very barren and empty. I believe that this volunteer program is something that many people could benefit from as it is a nice way to connect with nature and is a big contribution to our local parks.

Integrated Seminar 2: Visual Essay Collage


Formerly a taboo, underground topic, drag has been become a fixture in todays pop-culture. Artists like Diane Arbus, Nan Goldin and Cindy Sherman have been influenced by drag culture and have created serious of works inspired by it. Drag through social media and television has become to a certain extent a daily source of entertainment for people. An aspect of drag which makes it appealing to masses is its humor. The intention of drag is to entertain people and bring people together. It has helped many people with their gender identity and self expression. This collage explores the influence drag has made on society either through visual art or pop culture. Using references from the arts. TV, military, where drag was used to entertain soldiers, as well as daily experiences I associated with gender identity in some way shape or form. 

The Significance of Drag