The seminar reading on Maya Lin’s Vietnam memorial was my favorite assignment out of all the readings that were handed out to us this past semester. Lin’s memorial was a simple structure, but with a complicated process. I admired her strong willpower and tenacity to stick by her well thought out design despite the backlash from the people who felt so strongly against it. Her reasoning and description of the memorial certainly helped me in writing my final draft proposal, as I tried to describe more of a sense of presence of being inside one just like she did. For example, I tried to make the reader feel as though they were entering the island memorial design I made for my final studio project dedicated to the late iconic architect, Zaha Hadid by starting off the explanation about the entrance to the site, “The memorial starts off with the branch of the tree, which is a long and narrow lane. It then journeys into the heart of the tree, which is built in the nonfigurative manner. It consists of a curved elevated platform through which people have to climb up a set of stairs to get to.” This was one reading I would definitely want to refer to in the future when I need to make more formal proposals for my projects, as it includes all the useful points I might need to incorporate into my own final drafts further ahead.
The first assignment we started off in seminar was a reading called “I Remember”, by late author, Joe Brainard. His book was a list of his own special memories in life that he reflected on extensively, and each memory is introduced by the words “I Remember”. I distinctly recall this particular exercise just because of the sheer amount of fun I had in creating my very own entry of significant moments. His book was lighthearted and quite relatable. I would find myself sympathizing with his own memories from time to time. An excerpt from my own submission was, “I remember the time I tried talking in a lisp for a while in the 4th grade because I thought it was cool.” He had a specific method to writing it that was short and sweet, and would connect to the reader instantly. I also tried to emulate that with my own work as seen above. This assignment really made me pause to sit and reflect at my own system of writing, and how I could best learn from the various styles that Brainard incorporated into his book.
I also particularly enjoyed the trip we made to the New York Times building to specially see the Moveable Type Exhibit. The entire visit was a once in a lifetime experience, and one I will forever appreciate. The installation consisted of a series of screens lined up against two walls facing each other, and it displayed lines of flashing text from all the newspapers the company has ever published. I had a great time reading all the excerpts of news since the former days of the highly distinguished newspaper, and admiring the presentation of it all. The class trip made me value the art of text a lot more because even the most mundane bunch of words (and in the case of this exhibition, which was only news) made the entire concept feel so poetical and elegant. I took a great deal of photographs to always remember it, and one of them is attached below.
Overall, this seminar class certainly did help me experiment with, and ultimately learn from the various styles of writing we were introduced to. The writing I would most likely want to continue experimenting with is the assignment we had based on the reading of the book, Exercises in Style by Raymond Queneau because I liked the way the author tried to switch stories between the perspectives of different people with interesting personalities. These classes made me dive deeper into the realm writing and annotating, and increased my curiosity with experimenting with a bunch of various writing styles.