Thursday, November 20, 2008
Wednesday, November 19, 2008
I liked the longer ones that told a specific story the best.
The one I was most excited to see what the one about the restaurant, because I work at a restaurant, but it turned out to be a lot less exciting then I thought.
One final note about Koyaanisqatsi. I realize most of you hated it and your entitled to you opinions, but I don't feel that the wording of some blogs was quite necessary. I'm sorry but calling it a turd is not a mature critique of art. When researching it online, almost every website praises it and many consider it one of the most important films of our lifetime. In fact the U.S. Library of Congress deemed the film "culturally significant". I just had to defend it one last time.
By Sarah Richards
"Do you believe that images have lost some of there intended effects due to the desensitization that people have acquired from media and tragedies?"
I do believe this statement is true because people will always look at images through their own life experiences. Artist have always used images with their own visions of what is being said to them, and hope that others will view it in the same way.
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
Chad Miltenberger asks this question in his reading response to Jerry Mander
Is it really possible to erase images from your memory?
My response....no, okay it is possible if you lose your memory...but without some injury to the brain (mental or physical), I don't believe you can fully erase memories. This question and Mander, got me thinking about memories I have of events I saw on tv as a child, namely the Jonestown massacre-sparked because of the CNN show this past weekend Inside the Jonestown Massacre. This month marks the 30th anniversary (sounds odd, like it is a celebration-which it is not). It's difficult for me to decipher what I thought was real at the time this massacre happened because most of what I recall about the event came from a docu-drama, taken from the real...a simulacrum of sorts. Watching the CNN show allowed me to blur that "fictional" memory I had of Jonestown, but it didn't allow me to fully erase what I believed to be true, because I saw it on tv.
Back in 1978, when Jonestown happened, we didn't have cable, in fact I don't remember watching tv at home on a daily basis, until I was about eleven. We didn't have CNN or other news channels to run 24 hour long coverage of dramatic news events, the only thing close was 60 minutes. My early tv experience mainly happened at my grandparents on their color Zenith console. On the weekends I'd stay the night there-the sleep over usually consisted of some heart stopping delicious meal and television after dinner. Typically my grandparents liked to watch cop dramas like Kojak, Barnaby Jones or Cannon. but they also gravitated towards docu-dramas (since there was no CNN to fill that gap with "real" drama). So a couple of years after the real Jonestown tragedy, this show comes on about Jonestown and I watched it with my grandparents. (You can see this clip, sorry...embedding is disabled.) This is where my memory of what was real, what was a simulation of the real, becomes grey-I cannot tell you what is fact or fiction. I don't know if I originally learned about Jonestown from the news or a tv movie. To this day, if I look at Powers Boothe, I see Jim Jones. Watching a made for tv movie was real to me, if not more, than the actual photographs and footage from the massacre (on tv news and in print).
I'm not a follower of Mander (and I love my tv) but he brings up some ideas that make me question how tv has shaped me over the years. I'd like to think I wasn't a naive television viewer as a kid, my Mom sold television advertising and I often watched the news being broadcast right in the studio. I knew how the magic worked inside that box and what supported it (ads). But I was just a kid and perhaps trying to analyse the horrible events of Jonestown was beyond my capacity..."what we don't know scares us". Here are the facts I know, I don't like Kool-Aid, I have no desire to go to Guyana, I don't care for 'leaders', and I've got issues about the tv movie Helter Skelter-this spooked me too, it took a long time for me to realize that Charles Manson was in prison and not living in my town.
Maybe in the long run, CNN has made us more sophisticated as viewers. We don't have to rely on those two hour tv movies-a dramatization of what may have happened. We can watch an event take place immediately and continue watching the talking heads analyze the event for weeks (or years) to come. Perhaps it is not sophistication, maybe sophistication is just a replacement for desensitization?
Monday, November 17, 2008
I also thought the political use of youtube was the way to go this year. I wasn't alway able to catch all the Presidential speeches when they ran on TV but was able to catch up using YouTube. I found President Barack Obama's acceptance speech inspirational and find it amazing that through the power of YouTube anyone in the world can watch it at anytime.
At the NW Film Festival I went to see Politics of Sand. It was a film based on Oregon's beaches. It was interesting to learn about Oregon's shoreline and also learning that Oregon is the only state in the US that has all public owned beaches. Every other state has some privately owned shorelines where the public cannot access the beaches. This was a huge war in 1967 to decide who owned what and government ultimately took shore property from private owners for all to access.
P.S. Koyannisqatsi Kicks Ass. Philip Glass is brilliant in his composition. Perhaps comparing him to Mandy Moore creates a clear gap in musical prowess... I just personally find him to be on the preferential side of said gap. ;-)
After waiting in the rain for 15 minutes for the museum to open exactly at 6:00, the film about the Blazers titled Mania was anything but manic. Once inside the auditorium, I was able to people watch before the film started which actually turned out to be helpfull seeing as many of the people from the film were sitting around me. It was a neat addition to the film to see the featured, local celebrities interacting with each other live and in person.... The film on the other hand was dull and did not fulfill its high volume title. The interviews were long winded, the same photos of the crowd were shown multiple times, and the weird chime-based soundtrack did not fit the content of the film. Defiantly not worth the seven bucks.
This video was created by some friends of mine a couple years back and I find it to be absolutely hilarious every time I view it.
Here's the link, I'm having trouble posting the vid sorry: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZlIih_0afnA
On the evening of November 12th I attended Portland’s Northwest Film and Video Festival. Since I had work at four in the morning the next day I stayed for only two films. Skeptical of independent films I attended with high expectations.
The first work I saw that evening was Christopher Tenzis 10 minute short entitled
‘Tis The Season. The story was about a pink haired, internet sensation named Skye. It was filmed during the winter time in downtown Portland. The narrative was simple; Skye held out a sign which said “free hugs” and waited in downtown for people to give her a hug.
Tenzis, who before the film claimed to be a “purist” in the realm of film, shot the entire piece in 8mm film and set the music to John Coltrane’s “My Favorite Things”. These two elements bring back an aesthetic that reminded me of my childhood days watching Sesame Street who’s creators also used Jazz influences and 8mm film.
The way the film is edited draws pulls a great emotional response from the audience. Skye is dressed in warm clothing and is shown in various places in the downtown portland area and for the first five minutes of the film, she doesn’t receive a single hug. She is shown at train stations, in a park, in front of the Portland Art Museum, and other various populated areas. My favorite scene in the first half is a moment of irony when she sees a bunch of animal rights protestors with signs and she tries to fit in with her sign that doesn’t match. In the second half of the film, the tone changes. All of a sudden, one person gives her a hug. Then there are more and more hugs edited closer and closer together.
This film generated a large emotional response from myself and from the other viewers around me. For the first half of the film, there was a great amount of tension because it seemed like no one was going to hug her. The audience could connect with this as it is a universal feeling to want to be loved. The second half was a gigantic release as there was a bombardment of hugs from many different people of all different classes and professions. As the film keeps progressing, the hugs become more frequent and more animated. Though it is a happy ending, getting to the positive outcome is interesting for it is about a person who puts themselves out into the middle of the population and makes an effort to connect with people in a culture that looks down upon making a connection to other people. Our culture preaches fear in the news, in the paper, and in our television shows. This piece brings about a happy ending through rebelling against what is comfortable and what is acceptable.
The other film I watched that evening was an autobiographical documentary on a transexual who changed his sex to female entitled She’s a Boy I Knew by Gwen Haworth. The 70 minute documentary shot in digital video, while well made and spliced with an occasional animation to bring more life to the work, I couldn’t shake the feeling of narcissism Haworth displays as she looks back on her life and how her sex change effected the other people in her life. The film was much too long and brought many details of her family’s life into the picture giving it a very thorough picture of the situation, yet this may have put a damper on the watchability of the work. There was no real climax to the piece and it eventually ended after the sex change. The film did use graphic pictures highlighting his/her transformation which was intriguing yet quite disturbing. The film is a brave move in understanding a different idea of sex, however it does lack in the case of engaging an audience.
This last opp is a continuation of the Video Trifecta at Quality Pictures located at 916 NW Hoyt in Portland's Pearl district. This month the show is Video and Vodkas, which is available for purchase as a dvd released by J&L Books. J&L is a small independent press that publishes artists books and videos. Jason Fulford is one of the founders of J&L and he's built up a solid reputation in the art world, especially in "photo land". If you're interested in artist books and small publications, take a look at what they've done.
You are required to turn in your one page review no later than December 1st. Please attach some form of proof that you attended the show (gallery card, cell phone pics, a note from your mother, etc.)
- Meet with your group during class time today. Use this time to organize and narrow down the details of your group presentation. On Wednesday, you'll have about thirty minutes to meet with you group, so try to get as much done today as possible. Wednesday you will have to confirm with me your chosen group project topic and we will also determine which day your group presents. How? A member from each group will draw dates from a hat (no peeking)....the dates to pick from will be December 1, December 3, or December 8. If your group has any questions, I will be available via email and phone during class time, feel free to contact me and I will respond quickly. Home phone # (503) 735-4642.
- Remember to submit your Power of YouTube post on the blog today. We'll take a look at some of those posts on Wednesday.
- Turn in your reading response (written) and your NW Film Festival (written) response on Wednesday.
- Answer on the blog by Wednesday, as a comment, one of the posts that has in the title line: Question for the class. These questions have been taken from student's reading responses and date back through most of the readings. Pick one to respond to, it doesn't have to be long....a few sentences is fine. You are welcome to respond to another student's comment in response to a question as well....helping to create an online conversation about the original question. To get credit for this blog log, you must make a comment (either directly to the question or to comments made regarding the question).
- Extra credit for the DTC artist talk at Northbank Gallery is due on Wednesday, it is worth 2.5 points. You can also pick up 2.5 extra credit points if you turn your final paper in on Wednesday as well.
- Last, there are many of you that are missing reading log/blog log responses. I have a pile of stickies to give students regarding what I am missing (responses due this week are not included). Since I am not there, I cannot give these to you in class today, so instead I will send emails to students this morning stating who is missing what. Check your email today. If my graded information is incorrect, please let me know. If you do not receive an email from me, you've turned everything in and are a-okay. Please note, there are several of you that are missing so many responses I am not sure how you will pass the class. Please refer to the section below cut and pasted from the assignment sheet, which was given to you on the first day of class. If you have questions about this, email me or call me as soon as possible. READING/BLOG LOGS, 40% of final grade…..You will receive either a check or a minus for your logs. To receive a check mark you should turn it in on time, and demonstrate that you have taken your time to respond rather than hastily “right before class”. The log is due the following week after you receive the assigned reading, usually on a Monday. To receive full credit for all the logs, you must receive mo more than one minus mark and turn in all reading/blog logs. If you fail to meet this requirement, your grade will drop 5% (two minus marks), 10% (three minus marks), 15% (four minus marks), etc. depending on how many minuses you received. For each log you do not turn in, 5% will be deducted from your final grade. You may turn in logs late, but they will be counted as “minus” rather than a “check” grade. Reading logs that are more than a week late will not be accepted
Sunday, November 16, 2008
Youtube for many is a learning tool. Personally, as a student of music, I have found youtube to be an invaluable resource. You can teach yourself to play certain pieces just by watching others play. i learned much of my turntablism through youtube.
Also, musicians can be turned on to new technologies to help them advance their compositions. This is one of my favorite videos of the mpc with producer T-styles.
Start the video around 2:23 to experience trueform hiphop production.
It is also great to see non-professional musicians play amazing works. I love the Villa-Lobos guitar preludes! (especially the first one ;) ......)
What constitutes mass media? The individuals that makeup the antithesis of mass media, also create their own system or group. By definition is this group not part of the mass media? Who decides and defines who and what the mass media is?
My question is, do you believe that images have lost some of there intended effect due to the desensitization that people have acquired from media and tragedies?
Have we surpassed the idea of 'technology-as-art' and gone into the realm of 'art-using-technology'?
Do movies that are treated like a product really qualify as fine art?
....how do you think art will continue to change by embracing new technologies such as digital photography, art installations, and the internet?
YouTube is a blessing and a disguise. We can watch, post, and learn great things about others, at the same time there are evil and, sometimes, very disturbing images that shouldn't ever be burned in our brains, let alone have them become famous for it. But if you want to become publicly humiliated by it, so be it, I will still laugh. But where does the line cross? People who have a half a brain shouldn't put posts up of beatings because they find it humorous. I wouldn't want to be part of that thinking process.
“Water Paper Time” was one that wasn’t my favorite but at the same time, I was not catching any “Z’s” during the movie either. It showed a woman who hand made her own paper. I never really thought about this as being art. In the beginning it seemed like it was a PBS special. But then I started to really study how the Filmmaker was showing how simplistic and complex paper really is. Paper has a way of being very strong and weak at the same time. The point where I noticed this was when the paper was floating down a creek and it never really collapsed. I thought when paper hit the water it would kind of just denigrated. This film was a good interlude to the next movie.
The main attraction “On Paper Wings” was a great movie. That is as simple as I can put it. It was just a fantastic film. This is a true story from WWII, about the balloon bombs, which only a few people have heard about, that went from Japan to Bly, Oregon; they detonated and killed 6 people. They traveled through the Jet Stream releasing sand bags from the base of the balloon when it released too much air when it expanded. The most amazing part about these balloons was that they were made of paper. So when the bombs were supposed to detonate they wouldn’t leave behind any evidence. All of them didn’t detonate so they left behind clues from where they came from.
The most amazing part was the series of events that happened because of this. The women, who made these balloons when they were small children, grew up and found out from a gentleman who was in the internment camp that was 30 miles south of Bly. This gentleman didn’t hear about the balloons for almost 40 years when he knew about it he informed the women from Japan. When the women who made these balloons found out about the people’s identities from Bly, they felt that they needed to do something to show peace and sorrow for what they did. They made 1000 cranes made in origami to signify peace. The women from Japan ended up bringing it to them in Bly and it changed both of their lives.
When I chose this movie it just seemed to work with my schedule more than anything else. I decided to ask my friend Alison who is half Japanese and trying to understand her culture much more, to come with me. She and I didn’t know the impact that it would have on us. For her, she got to see what had happened to just a few people and how much this war impacted their lives. Alison ended up buying the movie. Now she wants to buy a few more for her friends and family. For me, it showed that no matter how long something happened, there is still a time that needs to heal, and that history is so scary especially if you forget about it. So for now to signify peace and history I will remember 1000 paper cranes, and honor that.
What kind of strange events will occur from this war that is going on? And will it be up on Youtube faster than this movie?
I was really surprised to see Will Patton in the movie sense I've seen him previously in blockbuster films. I had some issues with the character Wendy and some of the choices she made while being homeless but over all it was an alright movie.