Sunday, May 19, 2013

FIlm History Documentary

Recently, we've watched a film in class about the history of film. I myself am not very knowledgeable on this topic, but I'm not one to pass up an opportunity to learn about something interesting.
  The documentary opens with the story of the Lumiere brothers, the first filmmakers in history. It was fascinating watching the first film reels to be released, and to think that what we consider the norm of the moviegoing experience- immediately sharing the experience of watching a film with others who are in the room- started as staring into a tiny screen by yourself. And even then, film didn't have the fluidity that it does now, and only had just enough to trick the eye into perceiving fluid movement.
  The next section of the documentary detailed the growth of film as a medium and the huge role that different cuts played in the creation of cinematic contemporaneity. Also, I wasn't aware that the use of multiple exposures was used as early as it was. I was under the impression that it hadn't come into common use until at least fifteen years later, but seeing Buster Keaton's film wherein his character was trapped in a movie was very entertaining (and very enlightening) to watch.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

"Between the Folds"

It's always been my opinion that it's interesting and enlightening to watch someone skillfully perform a task or discuss a topic about which they're incredibly passionate (this could be anything from religion to music to an animatronic band- as seen in the documentary The Rock-afire Explosion). It's also always been my opinion that art and science are (regrettably) typically thought of as distinct entities; though in watching Between the Folds, the line between art and science blended to the point that I couldn't see it anymore. Seeing math applied to origami to create such lifelike forms (an alligator, a scorpion, gnomes surrounding a tree) left me amazed.
 Though two thoughts in particular stood out to me. The first was at the beginning of the documentary; a man (whose name I unfortunately cannot remember) said that, in the same way that forms in origami are created by folding paper, everything in the universe- from DNA to the billions and billions of galaxies in space- is merely the product of folding matter. (I like this metaphor quite a bit. It effortlessly ties together the art form and the rest of the universe; a connection that, I feel, is becoming increasingly lost).
 The second thought was expressed by the same man. He was explaining that the quality of any given piece of representational origami isn't necessarily reflected by how closely it resembles its subject. He raised the question, "Why is an elephant with four legs better than an elephant with three legs?" This question really forced me to rethink what I consider "art." (Several days earlier, I had ranted in the museum with a friend about how pretentious I find a lot of modern art to be. The impetus for this rant was seeing a canvas covered in eggshells, black paint and bacon grease) I asked myself, "Is the quality of a given portrait reflected by how closely it resembles a recognizable form?" And, in spite of how much I agreed with the origami artist mentioned above, I feel that my answer, as well as anybody's answer, was, is, and always will be irrelevant. It's irrelevant because art, no matter the medium, isn't about answering anything. It's about inviting the viewer to ask questions not only about the subject matter depicted therein, but about themselves as a reflection of the piece.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Things that have happened in the future if you're in the past before that future

Oh look, I have a blog.

  So, as an assignment for New Works, I had to build an instrument. Rather serendipitously, I had already built a guitar several months before. It was built from a single board and a whiskey bottle. Rather cleverly, I named this diddly-bo (a one string guitar) "The Whiskey Bender."
  However, it became apparent very soon that I couldn't be heard a single bit with a glass bottle as a resonating chamber. Hence, I decided to use an old cigar box for the body. In addition, I put a single piezo pickup inside the cigar box. I used a small Marshall amplifier that I had received for my previous birthday. On the cigar box was a plaque that read "The Chairman's Reserve Torpedo." Having a very absurd sense of humor, I decided to change its name to what was on the plaque. My band was named "Un Cabayo" and our song was titled "Goats Falling Off Cliffs."

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Rolling Stone calls it a "Game Changer..."

  So, now that all of the film projects are over, here comes the moment of truth.

  As for the assignment, I had one objection: a prompt. Whenever I write a story, I really don't like getting a prompt. It seems that a prompt for the sake of an assignment really only yields trite stories about winning a soccer game with one's friends (a fact for which I have made no attempt to hide my hatred; there's few things more irritating than when someone tells me what to write). When given a prompt that could be mistaken for a fortune cookie or a cutesy platitude to be found etched on a pice of wood, hanging in the kitchen of a Mexican family, I suddenly lock up. Many of the ideas I get for stories/short films/what have you don't really adhere to things like "Write about a time that you worked together with a group of people to accomplish a goal," or "write about a time that you learned a lesson." It's very annoying when a story has a clear-cut moral that reads as though its creator is pointing to you and saying "THIS IS A MORAL AND IF YOU DON'T ACKNOWLEDGE IT AND FOLLOW IT FOR THE REST OF YOUR LIFE WITHOUT QUESTION THEN YOU WILL BE A BAD PERSON."

"Good things come to those who wait...if your definition of  'good thing' is  a lame life lesson."
   And now onto the film in question: I think that our group did w pretty good job of getting the point across. There were moments where I watched it again and thought "We could have made that a little clearer," or "Did we really need that?" As with any artistic endeavor, I think that if we had a bit more time and a much more rigid itinerary, then we could have made it a lot tighter than it was.

[Joke about Roger Ebert not having a lower jaw]

Friday, November 4, 2011

Well, uhm...

Filming for our most recent project in Nu-Works is coming along well, considering the fact that we don't have a lot of time for working. I feel as though if we had only a little bit more time we could really do something cool. Of course, that isn't to say that I think the project is poor quality (actually quite the opposite), there's just this sneaking suspicion in the back of my mind that we could make a really good project if time weren't an issue.

I've noticed that ever since I started coming to Booker T Washington, I've become a bit more of a surrealist. Last year I outright refused to do much in the way of socializing, whereas now I do participate in light conversation, but I make comments whose topic is on the periphery nearly one-hundred percent of the time.  

Such is the life of an artist; my genius and tangential, hubristic manner of speaking is (deservedly) unappreciated.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

WELP 2: WELP Harder

  I've already given my view on my own space project (see blog post: "WELP..."), so I'll cut straight ahead to my view on one other person's. My favorite project would have be the project in which my class mate Haley stepped inside of a waist-high cardboard box labeled "Haley Cook's Magical Box" and gave multiple examples of different kinds of space (personal, outer, inner, etc.). What I enjoyed about it is that out of all the other projects, it was the least vague (to me, at least. I understood what the others were saying, but it still felt as though the idea of space- a nebulous, abstract concept more pertaining to the lack of something- was a bit lost on some people. I want to emphasize, though, that this doesn't mean they were bad. I thoroughly enjoyed all of them).

Saturday, October 8, 2011

I Have Found A New Way to Spend Time

...sending ridiculous emails to companies. For example, here's an email I just sent to the Gatorade Corporation:

Dear Gatorade Corporation,
      First off, I want to say that I have absolutely no complaints with your product (other than the fact that I think you need to make a Rainbow Torrent flavor, but that's besides the point). I personally feel that the experience of drinking Gatorade can only be improved with a double beer hat, substituting beer with Gatorade.
  Which brings me to my question: I understand the ad campaign is long gone, but ever since I officially became a Gatorade Aficionado (at least, according to the Gatorade Fan Club: Dallas Chapter), I've studied your ads and have begun to ponder the exact amount of Gatorade consumption needed to make my sweat turn blue (blue being my favorite iteration of your refreshing beverage).
  So, how much of your delicious, satiating product do I need to drink to make my sweat turn blue? Please answer at your earliest convenience. Thank you for your time.

P.S.- My school sells Gatorade in the cafeteria. However, the cafeteria closes at 1:55pm, and the only time I can really buy a Gatorade is after school (which is at 4:00pm). I want you to know that in spite of the fact that we have a Powerade machine in the halls, I have never once betrayed you and settled for poor substitutes.