Digital Tools: The Art of the GIF



Above is the first gif that I’ve made. It uses the most basic animation technique, as it simply consists of two alternating images, flashing to an erratic rhythm. I constructed these designs in photoshop using the brush tool. The two images were initially created as separate pieces, but I soon noticed that they shared a similar color palette and shape. I then had the idea to pair them, which created the effect of the asterisk-like emblem (the first image) being distorted intoa messy scribble (the second image). As a result of its minimalist color palette and clean style, I find this to be the most visually appealing of the gifs I’ve made. However, from an animation standpoint it is definitely the most basic of my gifs. With my next gif, I set out to practice my animation skills.

gif2

Visually, my second gif is quite simple: an orange rectangle diagonally slides back and forth across a teal background, with an occasional trail resembling the type of glitches found on mid-1990s windows operating systems. My intention with this gif was not to create an artistic masterpiece; rather, I sought to create a sense of movement through animation. While the animation of my first gif relied on two flashing images, this gif was an exercise in creating the illusion of movement by duplicating and moving one image (the orange rectangle) across many layers. Each position of the rectangle is a different layer, the visibility of which is determined by the animation frame. I’m happy with how the glitch trails turned out. One aspect of this gif which I feel unsuccessful with is creating the illusion of smooth movement. I tried using the tween effect, but the rectangle’s movement still appears more choppy than I would like.

gif3

For my third gif, I decided to take the concepts of animated movement and flashing slides even further by creating a series of appearing and disappearing geometrical patterns that completely transforms throughout its loop. The goal of this gif was to take the audience on a visual journey as the image transforms entirely. There is no grand concept behind this gif; it is simply the product of me playing around with different combinations of layers I created in photoshop.

Digital Tools: The Art of the GIF

 I decided to use my own brain as a base to make this series. My brain is always a source of contention and release. I chose to really focus on the negative with two of my GIFs hoping the third might make up for it as a small homage to the parts of me I truly love. (I never like anything to be 100% dark–even the most difficult minds aren’t.)

Evil_Iz_Gif2  

In my first GIF, Evil Self, which was from an earlier assignment. I began to add things halfway through that would make it scary. When I glitched the code it made my first self-portrait (the one in the middle) whited out and electric. It reminded me a bit of why certain aspects of Undertale were terrifying to me. The fights in the game are black and white and due to my sensory deficiency disorder I react very negatively to bright and white light. (Which is unfortunate because everyone in the art and photography communities seem to love it!) I added the static for that reason. To me, static is a fast animation of white and black attacking itself. Or, that’s what my SDD makes it feel like. What this all results in is that my Evil Self Portrait GIF is a combination of my struggles with Depression and Anxiety (namely, all my resentments and frustrations that I highlight with the words “Help Me I’m Sick” and “Mental Illness Hurts”.) But it is created not from my Mental Illness’s point of view but by how my SDD causes me to see the world. Essentially they are two very different things happening in my brain at once, but I used one to compliment the other in hopes that it may get an interesting visual narrative across.

  truth  

In my second GIF, Truth, I had a lot of fun animating and glitching it. I wanted this one to be a representation of both sides of me meeting in the middle. The good and the evil. I think it stemmed from a bit of teenage angst that I had harbored over the years (don’t we all still have a little?). Well this was going to be VERY angsty, I had a drawing of a humanoid figure caught in the chains of a heart for goodness sake! But glitching saved us all. It also reminded me that simple is sometimes better.

 

breathein

 

The third was the hardest to come up with. I went back to some old to emulate what I have done in the past because it is difficult to really know who you are in the moment. I added text and color over a pattern I was initially going to use for a brush effect. However the corners and gradients worked with the words well enough that I left it as it was. I was inspired by the gifs that help people who struggle with anxiety breathe at a calming rate. Adding a repeater effect and layering the moving structure on itself was done to further symbolize a heart. To individualize it (hopefully).

Digital Tools: The Art of the GIF

starbirth When we first started making animated GIFs in Photoshop, I had no idea what direction I wanted to take mine, but I was excited by the possibility of depicting a short and whimsical narrative, as well as playing with color. This GIF, which I’ve come to refer to as “starbirth,” was an experimentation with both of those concepts. It tells the story of a star that falls through the dark blue sky and out of sight, where it crashes to the ground of a planet. The crash knocks up star debris which billows in bright green and rainbow clouds and then shoots up into the sky, lighting it up with the birth of new stars. I had never made any animated art before, so making this forced me to consider color’s relationship with an evolving narrative. When the star fell, it was a semi-transparent bright green with a lavender shadow against the dark blue background which made the whole “sky” appear dimly lit. After the star disappeared, I used the same shade of bright green, but now at full opacity, to build the elements of the aftermath, and the story ends once the whole sky changes to that shade of bright green. I found the juxtaposition between the dark and the bright to be visually appealing and support the narrative, especially at the end when the bright green takes over the sky, signifying the brightness of the new birth and contrasting the dimness of the first set of frames. Most of the frames for this GIF were drawn using the paintbrush tool, but the stars were made using a brush I had created during one of our first lessons in Photoshop. Since the star shape was rough and sketchy looking, I felt that it paired well with the casual hand drawings and made the whole GIF kind of abstract and whimsical, like something from a child’s imagination. One struggle with this one was the hand-drawn illustrations though, because I had initially wanted them to be much neater, and found it difficult to draw using a laptop and the paintbrush tool. In the end however, I grew to like the imperfections in the way it is drawn, and am happy with it as a first exploration in GIF-making. bouncing-cubes-(corrected) As I continued my exploration with GIF-making, I considered ways to work around my problem of illustrating with a computer mouse, and decided I would try different styles that involved more shapes and premade graphics. I began creating lines and playing with how I could animate them. When I was trying to space them evenly, I discovered the grid lines and the ability to snap graphics to these grid lines. This sparked the idea of making a gridded pattern and having shapes pass up and down through the grid. So I created a black background with green gridlines and filled in the corner boxes with blue and white, creating squares that I would move diagonally toward the center, and then back. Inspired by the theme of the class, “club visuals,” I flipped the grid colors in every frame, to create a strobelike effect. I found it really satisfying to make a GIF that appealed to the digital nature of this form of art-making. This GIF also seems like one that I could expand on if I want my work to go in that direction. Part of its appeal is the flashing effect it creates, which makes it almost difficult to look at, and creates subtle color effects as a result of the rapidly changing colors. I could build a series of these GIFs that grow in complexity through modifications to the color palette, grid, and motion of squares, creating different visual effects that affect the way the viewer perceives them. purple-background-ovules-n-stars This GIF could be considered a product of all my experimentations in digital art thus far. Previously, the GIFs I made were building on my skills in Photoshop, but this one came later, after we had begun working in After Effects. As I produced more digital art, an interest in color and the way it can affect perception emerged. When we started with After Effects, we had an assignment to use the LoopOut(); command. In class, we had used it in conjunction with motion paths, to make the motions repeat themselves. I took in interest in applying this to color. Inspired by the work of http://flrngif.tumblr.com/ as well as psychedelic posters designed by Victor Moscoso in the 60s and 70s,I picked a rainbow color palette and assigned each oval a color. Then I created keyframes where the colors would change to the next color in the rainbow order, and applied the LoopOut(“pingpong”); command so that the ovals cycled through the rainbow palette and then cycle back for the duration of the movie. Since the assignment was dealing with motion paths and not color, and also because I wanted to add some more interest, I decided to add some bright yellow stars that would meander from the top of the frame to the bottom as the colors went through their cycle. This was challenging because it was difficult to design the motion paths exactly how I envisioned them in my mind. My goal was to make them whimsical and floaty, but their motion ended up much more quirky than I had intended. When it was finished, it was just existing as an After Effects movie, so when I decided to turn it into a GIF, I dragged it into Photoshop and saved it using Photoshop’s GIF format. While it seems less complex than all the others, this GIF ties together a lot of the skills I have developed in both Photoshop and After Effects, and is starting to solidify the direction that I am going to take my future digital art.

Digital Tools: The Art of the GIF

 
atom_gif

atomic_melt

 
fire_gif

atomic_melt_2.0

pujo

lakshmi_pujo

My plan with these gifs was to practice my skills with Photoshop. I’ve had experience with gif-making in Photoshop before due to some gifs I made in my 3D Modeling class (shown below).
halloween

halloween_3D_modeling

However, unlike the projects in digital tools, these were made in Blender and the stills were imported into Photoshop. In Digital Tools, I was able to make my art from scratch in Photoshop and also turn them into gifs. I had a lot of fun with them. Atomic Melt and Atomic Melt 2.0 are two variations of each other. I practiced angles and playing around with shapes. I also was able to play around with layering and different filters. With Lakshmi Pujo I played around with Indian/Bengali motifs. I sent it to my mom because at the time she was celebrating Lakshmi Pujo. This is a festival dedicated to the Indian goddess of wealth. Neither of us are particularly religious but we do participate in the cultural aspects of the festival. My goal with this gif was to create one of those “whatsapp” shareable gifs. My favorite gifs, however, were the good vs. evil ones.
evil_moyna

evil_moyna

good_moyna

good_moyna

The point of these were to create an evil and good version of yourself. While they’re both pretty peppy, I tried to “meme-ify” them a little. My last conference project was a critical theory study on economic memes. I tried to make “evil_moyna” evil by creating a text containing the word “capitalism” at the bottom. I also played with darker lighting. I do wish that I had inverted or flipped the image so that it would look more distorted. The “good_moyna” gif had lighter colors and a text containing the word “blep” at the bottom. A blep is when an animal sticks out their tongue. In the original image my tongue was out a little bit. I thought to add the text because it was kind of a wholesome meme/image. I really enjoyed playing around with glitching. Especially since we played around with glitch code in System Aesthetics.
clock_gif

wheel_clock

I again used a cultural reference for this gif. I modeled this after Ashoka’s chakra which you can find on the Indian flag. It kind of just became a clock with different layering methods. The wheel part also reminds me of Bridget Riley, who we studied in Art from Code. Overall I’m happy with my gifs so far. I can’t wait to make more. I’ll put a few more gifs I made below.  

Digital Tools: The Art of the GIF

  TWEENED-polka-dot-gif-in-making I had nothing more than a few hours’ worth of Photoshop experience at the beginning of this course. Since creating an animated GIF was one of the first assignments, I had to spend a large chunk of time learning the software, becoming frustrated, and then attempting to learn it again. I am a complete perfectionist, but one thing that art assignments continue to force me to is to let go of my perfectionist nature and to instead explore what the software allows me to create. While making these GIFS, I found a few different brushes that I really liked, ones that if I enlarged, created patterns almost a stamp. This is how I created the Polka Dot GIF. For the Purple & Orange GIF, I used a wallpaper and tile that I made for previous assignments. The wallpaper began with a drawing. My sole goal with this drawing was to practice using the brush tool, but my professor advised me to select one piece of the drawing and create a wallpaper with it. I used this piece to create a pattern overlay which became a wallpaper. I wasn’t a huge fan of this piece of the drawing originally, but I love it when it’s smaller and repeated like it is in the wallpaper and GIF. TWEENED-flower I really did not have a plan for this project. I had a ‘just get it done’ mentality, which probably wasn’t the best thing, but now that I have more experience with the software and am caught up to the level of the rest of my class, I can spend more time with the details of my art. I can create pieces and then go back and revise them, but I think it took just completing a few assignments for me to be able to get to that place. My art-process for this class has been less planned out, which is completely out of my comfort zone, but I’ve learned that it works better for me to have maybe a slight idea of what I want my piece to look like, but then to be flexible and see what I can create digitally. It doesn’t always exactly match my vision but usually, I like the end-product better anyway.TWEENED-purple-and-orange Another part of my process was trial and error. I had to spend time just playing and experimenting in Photoshop and I had to learn what patterns and colors appealed to my eye. I prefer GIFs that don’t have too sharp of a contrast in color or pattern, which I learned by making a GIF that I absolutely hate. One layer of this GIF is blue & orange and the other is a layer from the Polka Dot GIF. The combination of a drawing that doesn’t appeal to me, two vastly different patterns/designs, and a completely different set of colors made this GIF one of my least favorites. On the other hand, I’m proudest of the salmon background GIF and the Flower GIF because the colors change slightly, while the pattern remains very similar. Through making the Polka Dot GIF, I also realized that I often like images that are symmetrical and have a sense of order to them.  

Digital Tools: The Art of The GIF

Wink

My plan for the animated GIF assignment, as it has been for all of my assignments thus far in Digital Tools, was to create cohesive content, digital art with an aesthetic that carries from one style of digital media to the next. As I discovered early on this semester, through the wallpaper assignment, I am very much inspired by the Jonathan Adler and Kate Spade aesthetic. This came as quite a surprise to me as I certainly do not adhere to this aesthetic in my own fashion choices or interior design, but I find I am attracted to this colorful, preppy, clean look of playful design mixed with attractive color schemes.

The three GIFs I have chosen to include in this post are pieces I created with an audience in mind. I wanted to create GIFs I could imagine Millennials sending to friends or loved ones via Facebook, Email or text. I made GIFs that contain universal themes, with messages that can be expressed through imagery rather than text. I chose to create a wink, a kiss and a birthday cake.

Kiss

As I created these GIFs, one by one, I found I grew more confident in my drawing abilities on Photoshop. I had always felt I lacked skill in the drawing department, and with the introduction of the pen tool I’ve found a world of opportunity I didn’t realize existed.

I am most satisfied with the color scheme I have included throughout my GIFs. I’ve had a lot of fun utilizing my favorite pale shade of pink and finding other colors that work well alongside it. I am also very happy with the cohesion of these pieces.   I feel like they work well alongside one another, which has continued to be my hope for all of my work produced in digital tools.

If I were to change anything about these GIFs, I would have utilized a background other than white in my wink.   I also would have created the second frame of the kiss to have a more pursed lip detail. Overall I am very happy with my animated GIFs. I’ve already sent out the birthday cake in a happy birthday message. I have a feeling I will use it again soon.

Birthday Cake

Digital Tools: The Art of the GIF

This glitch gif started as a cut-out mask of my image from the original photo.  This I layered over a stock photoshop background.  I saved this file in various formats, like png, jpeg, and bmp.  I then experimented by converting the files to txt, opening the text file, and making changes to the text.  I started by typing sentences or phrases, like “hi mom!” into the code because I wanted to find out what these sentiments looked like, and whether an angry sentence produced a different glitch than a happy one.  This process initially produced very subtle changes that were not extremely glitchy enough for my taste.  The alternate image in this gif is a glitched png in which I deleted large blocks of text before I converted it back to a png.  I then opened the two files in photoshop and alternated them with one another in the timeline. After learning to tween the layers, I wanted to play with a subtler shifting.   I played with color overlays of pink (the file behind the pink image is a jpeg glitch) and introduced a peek of city hall behind me in one of the between layers.  So, the portrait can be seen glitching from my original photo to a color shifted, turquoise toned block in the middle of the image. gif5 These two gifs are variations of an animation which shifted the color of the background layer behind graphic tiles.  If I were to make this again, I would start with a suitable base file.  Instead of opening a tile pattern on top of a base layer, I started with the jpeg image I had made as a wallpaper of leaves.  Then, I used the magic wand to select the negative space around the leaves and delete it to show the purple layer beneath.  This resulted in a pattern with small imperfections in the mask – they can be seen in the final gif.  However, what I like most about these two gifs is their style of clunky, neon internet art.  So I’m happy that these look like the myspace background of a clueless 13 year old.   These two gifs show how I developed my animation of the lighter pink square. gif6      

Digital Tools: The Art of the GIF

Wing-Flap_1-31

I wish I could say it’s just my art style, but honestly, my work on this project is pretty basic by artistic standards. I’m not an especially experienced or practiced visual artist, and it shows in my work on this project. I didn’t have much of a plan going in, just trying to find the right mindset to create the types of images I saw everyone else creating around me. This was, obviously, not a very concrete plan. Trying to directly find inspiration in the work of other artists wasn’t working for me at this point, so I decided to focus on creating images inspired by things I enjoy seeing in the world around me instead.

As I had previously created a brush that reminded me of a bird’s wing, and the motion of wings flapping is one that I have always found fascinating, I decided to try to mimic that sense of motion in my first gif. I created five layers in photoshop, and used the transform and distort tools to alter each layer, until they looked similar to how I visualized the stages of a bird’s wing flapping. Once animated, the image was much smoother and more convincing than I had expected with only five layers, and I was quite pleased with the result, despite its simplicity.

CMK_Good_Glitch

In creating glitch art, I decided to work from a selfie I took while in cosplay, with a pastel rainbow overlay. I chose this image because I really only like looking at pictures of myself when I am cosplaying in those pictures, but unlike in most such images, I took this picture while out of character. As such, this is the rare picture that captures the uniquely comfortable way I am able to inhabit my body while in cosplay, without the obscuring effect of my being in-character.

As I was unable to glitch my image on my computer itself, as was taught in class, I used an online glitching tool to glitch my initial image. (The tool I used.) In order to avoid my tendency towards using tiny variations on the same image, I did all of my glitching using this tool’s “randomize” feature.

In this first glitch gif, I made the transitions between images crossfade, to create a sense of smooth continuity. My intent was to make this image glitched but not unsettling, and this continuity allowed the image to have the calm sort of flow I imagined.

CMK_Evil_Glitch

When glitch gifs were assigned, it was suggested that we try to make our two images representative of our “good” and “evil” selves. While brainstorming how I might convey the idea of my “evil self” through glitching, I was inspired by the glitch art created by Andrew Hussie for his groundbreaking multimedia webcomic, Homestuck. In Homestuck, he uses glitching frequently, as both an artistic tool and a plot device. This work was my first significant exposure to glitch art, and as such, it felt natural to me to derive inspiration from it while attempting to create my own glitch art.

To create this second glitch gif, I selected the most heavily glitched images I had created, alongside those that I found most viscerally unsettling, and tried to juxtapose contrasting images through rapid transitions between frames. By only using rapid glimpses of the more heavily-glitched images, I tried to convey a sense of foreboding in the composition of the gif. While I wish the frames of red and green glitching were shorter, to better convey the effect I was going for, overall, I am satisfied with this result.

Digital Tools: Art of the Gif

I'm Gay

I will admit, I am subject to my own vanity, and to be honest I deserve to be vain.  I was in the closet for the first twenty years of my life.  This was twenty years of being in “forced drag”, going through the wrong puberty, being unable to seek out gay and trans history due to the fear of being outed, twenty years of being ugly because how my head saw me, the mirror and the world refused to reflect.

A year and a half ago I shook off my forced drag persona and went by my true name: Baphomet.  I started to finally use he/him pronouns. Nine months ago I started hormone replacement therapy.  I can say that since coming out as a trans gay man my physical and mental health has improved.  My relationship to others has improved.  However, as I keep saying, I’m finally hot.

Is this vain? Hell yes it is.  However until you have gone home from a hookup and cried over how ugly you are compared to the man that you just were intimate with, you can’t tell me anything. Until you’ve shaved your head in a rage because you got called “she”, you can shut it.

Like the artists before me such as Warhol, Gaugin, van Gogh, Cézanne, and Scheille; the self portrait is a way to introduce myself in a stylized fashion, and in my circumstance a way to reclaim and reassert my identity and space.  For my first gif I did just that: I drew a self portrait of myself as a cartoon character. I am angry and baring my teeth. My big fur coat is standing on end, as it it were my own fur and I’m some kind of angry mammal.  The animated text reads: “I’m Gay.”  I am shouting this at the top of my lungs.  For so long I have been denied my identity as a gay man and been alienated from my own spaces and even currently I have been asked why I even transitioned if I am only attracted to men, as if the only valid way to be trans is to also be straight.

For my next two gifs, I used a selfie I took on my phone of myself in the same coat as seen in the drawn gif.  By using the selfie I am simultaneously conveying my transness, my gayness, and finally my right to claim my attractiveness as both trans and gay.  For both, created a fur pattern for the background and created a wreath of chrysanthemums (for that hedonistic and vain homosexual aesthetic ala Oscar Wilde).  These two layers served as the background for my selfie.

Glitch Gif 1

For the first gif I took the original image i created and made raw copies of it.  Then in photoshop I played around with their settings, creating interesting graphics to be later used as patterns.  In a new photoshop document I overplayed these patterns over my original image, with the opacity for each being between 29-40%.  Finally in the time line I played these overlays randomly, and tweeting them to have 3 frames between each original one.  The result is something sophisticated, dream like, and slightly disorderly.

Glitch Gif 2

My next gif I took my original photo and made several copies of it as a .bmp file.  Then I individually converted each file to a .txt file.  Within the .txt files I cut and pasted random lines of text from the middle and moved them around.  Finally I converted my corrupt .txt files back into .bmp files, and took screenshots of each (photoshop is too smart to open and read corrupted files).  Finally I took my original photo, new corrupted photos, and my texture graphics into photoshop and made a glitch gif.  Within the gif the images are dispersed and played randomly between each other with the texture images (again set at between 29-40%) also being randomly played over.  The result of this gif is something disjointed, distorted, and in all strangely energizing.  If the first selfie gif was akin to me drinking tea in my boudoir then this final gif is akin to me drinking magic mushroom tea in that very room.

Through these gifs my goal was to proclaim my worth.  I am gay, I am trans, I’m finally handsome and worthy to love myself and to be desired by others.  I am reclaiming my image, my voice, and my expression as an artist in a world that wishes it could cast me out a revile me, when it can do either.  I’m finally the handsome and talented Baphomet Nayer, and I have earned my right to be as vain as my cis and heterosexual contemporaries.

Digital Tools: The Art of the GIF

repeater-gif

I am going to be very transparent in this post: learning the ropes of Adobe Photoshop and Adobe After Effects was quite a long and perilous journey for me.  It might be important to add, or not so much at all, that I had no plans or ideas going into this project… which brings me to introduce the gif above.  This gif developed from the repeater effect on AE.  Generally, in my art, I tend to use a nice complementary palate.  Lately, I have been enjoying the feeling of pastels.  In this gif I played around with different functions and characteristics, such as opacity, rotation, trim lines, and changing of position.  I would say this composition worked O.K., however, it’s not too much to my liking.

My next gif was more thought through, and much more engaging than my first.  A few years ago I discovered the artist Deth P. Sun.  A great deal of his paintings have dark, grey, night-like backgrounds… usually featuring a cat with a sword at his waist.  This cat is often depicted in a colorful yet seemingly quiet environment, whether it be a tropical forest or his cluttered bedroom.  I love Deth’s scenes and wanted to reciprocate that quiet but brightly colored world he creates.  I created the star shapes with stroke and without fill, as it seemed to be gentler and allowed the atmosphere of the gif to be more inviting.  The stars all rotate at different degrees, and some are rotating at a negative degree to add some diversity.  Once I had completed the stars, I felt as though the gif was too monotonous, so I added some fast moving trim lines throughout.

stars_animation

Recently I discovered a really exciting and magical Japanese artist called Ikegami Yoriyuki.  Her paintings are so inviting with their deep and bright colors, and the characters shown appear to be emotional and sometimes indulgent.  Ikegami’s imagination is full of rabbits that dress and walk like people, small fluffy dogs, serene and dazzling nature.  A painting of hers that I saw not too long ago depicted very small pixie-like persons with wings for hair.  They were hiding inside of bold colored tulips, and flying to them from different angles.  In my final gif I wanted to create a scene of nature, that was also magical and serene.  Yes, it was very difficult to do… but it worked.  I created the flowers with the shape and pen tool, arranged them neatly in a row.  Then I drew a trim line that curves and curls playfully, as to represent the trail of a bumblebee.  I made sure that the line kissed the top of each flower, while it traveled across the image.  When the gif was almost complete, a risky idea came to me.  The thought was to show a tiny ball of yellow above each head of the flowers, and to make it disappear once the trim line came into contact with it.  This worked by way of me meticulously timing keyframes for the opacity of the yellow dot to diminish completely upon meeting the trim line.  This gif I like the most because of its color scheme and seamlessness.  I’m hoping to create sillier images in the near future.

tulips

Digital Tools: The Art of The GIF

 

The inspiration for this gif originated from one of the brushes I created in Photoshop. I designed this brush after the cross hatching drawing technique I learned in my art studies. When I started to stare at the lines where they intersect I could see all the shapes they made. Then I thought it would be more interesting to see the lines move in different directions and see how the shapes in between them change. I decided to make four rows of lines going in different directions. I made the vertical and right diagonal rows go clockwise and the horizontal and left diagonal lines go counter clockwise. Initially, I was going to have the lines rotate all the way around but since I was assigned to work only in photoshop that seemed a bit too tedious. So instead I decided to let each row go in a direction for a few frames then have them rotate back. I also made the frame where the lines rotate the most invert colors to add more interest.

 

  When I first started this glitch portrait I was not sure what kind of glitches I wanted to use. I decided to take the trial and error approach and stop when I found something I liked. After several tries I finally came across the black screen and the disjointed face glitches as seen above. I achieved the former by first turning the png file into a txt file. Then I copied a small portion of text and pasted it in random places. The first glitch I made only had this glitch at the bottom part of the picture. I decided to copy the first glitch photo and repeat the same process going further up the txt file as I went along. I repeated this task until I had several glitch photos that could serve as animation frames to make the glitch look as if it was creeping up the photo.  I created the disjointed face glitch while messing with a bmp file.  I also erased the eyes out of my normal photo and layered it on top to give the glitch an eerie feeling.

 

  My original idea for this gif was orange and purple rectangles rotating at different rates on a white background. However I liked the idea of the background alternating between the two colors in time with the squares movements. I eventually settled on the background color changing in accordance with the corresponding rectangle that reaches the bar at the bottom of the screen. It took about 13 frames to animate each rectangle going up or down. Once I got them to go in opposite directions on the vertical axis I copied and flipped the frames around to create a loop effect. I also made the bar at the bottom change its color to a slightly darker version of the color of the background and rectangle.

Digital Tools: The Art of the GIF

finger-gif-final pimple-gif por-gif-1

For the first gif, my plan was to be make a gif with alternating patterns based on the brush I created for the first assignment. I intended to create a series of the finger print patterns with enlarging scales. So each new finger print pattern shown on the new frame would be larger than the previous ones. In addition, both the background color and the color of the finger print would reverse compared to the previous frame. Thus, there were alternation of color in both background and foot prints. The pattern in the previous frame would be the same color as the next background, and vice versa.  My plan in the change of scale worked well, so there was the effect of stepping up and leaving finger prints. However, the alternation of color was difficult in workshop because every time when I switch color, Photoshop was not giving me the accurate reversal color I needed. So on the second and forth frame of the gif, the pattern on the right bottom is visible when it is not supposed to be.

For the second gif, my plan was to make a gif of a pimple popping disaster. The gif is supposed to have a random pattern of blood flowing on the person’s face. I drew the image of the nose based on an image searched on google. It took me more time to make this gif than the first one because this one has more frames. I was considering the color of the nose and the nostrils so they would look both natural enough. I chose purple of the lips before the pimple popped out so the face looked more peaceful compared to the later disastrous face. I specifically chose this perspective of the face so it would be more unexpected. It also gives more attention to the nose compared to other parts of the face. It was difficult to draw the needle. I considered the brush tool, but I was not confident of drawing a perfect straight line and giving a sharp end. The line shape tool seemed to be a better option, but it still looked more of a thin rectangle than a needle. I enjoyed drawing the pimple the most. I used a larger brush with a blurred edge to draw a red dot and drew a smaller orange one on top of it. After all, I am happy with this humorous presentation of a disaster in daily life.

Finally, making glitch portraits was one of the most exciting experience in this class since I’ve enjoyed playing around with my self-portraits on some glitch photo making apps on my phone and listening to 8-bit music. I had never expected the theory of making a glitch art could be this simple. I did not really have a plan in my mind when I was glitching my portrait. In the process of glitching, I found some come patterns. Codes that are closer to the beginning of the file is describing the upper parts, and vice versa; longer codes contain more image information so when I edited with longer codes, more areas of the image were changed. I was having a hard time with glitching in jpeg format. I did not give me much effect as other file types. After I finished glitching some images, I selected eight of them for the gif. I arranged images with similar glitch methods separately. The final gifs change glitch from up to down repeatedly. I wished I could have added more glitch or pattern on the background too.

Space HiJack : An Untitled Trash Project

  Breakfast 4 Dinner 3 Dinner 2 Dinner 1 Breakfast 3 Breakfast 2 Lunch 1 Lunch 2

The Space HiJack Project was both frustrating and rewarding. I initially wasn’t sure what to do for my project. I presented the idea of using trash to my classmates. I received a lot of helpful feedback and suggestions, but ultimately decided to stick to a suggestion made initially, I believe, by Casper.

The idea was to have trash laying around the building in an orderly fashion, as if to suggest a story, inviting people to stop and think about what they were seeing. That sounded both exciting and challenging. We settled on making it seem like someone had a meal and left the rest behind.  I gave a lot of thought about what the meals would be. I ultimately settled on having the kind of meals I ate, using things from home. The installation was installed in three different parts of the building. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
  1. For the breakfast installation, I placed a bowl with Cookie Crisp cereal — my favorite morning treat. On the side, a glass of orange juice; as well as a bottle of milk. The items were placed next to an emergency exit on the bottom floor of the building.
  2. For the lunch installation, I placed a glass of Diet Coke and a plate of stir fry under a water fountain on the first floor of the building.
  3. For the dinner installation, I placed a plate with leftover meatloaf and mashed potatoes next to a glass of milk. It was installed next to the front entrance of the building, under one of the path lights, as to make sure it was as visible as possible even at night. While the choice of pairing milk with meatloaf might seem odd, it is reflective of the kind of meal I have at night (provided I arrive home at a reasonable hour).
On the next day, as it turns out, two of my pieces (lunch and dinner) had been removed. It was ironic — but mostly rewarding. In part, you could consider their removal a failure. After all, whoever removed it, clearly didn’t think it was art. It was trash. In other words, the meaning that I was trying to attach to these objects — which would clearly point to this being an installation — was not conveyed as clearly as it should. The objects remained just that: objects.

On the other hand, I ask myself questions: Who removed this? Were they aware that people were installing art in the building that would be seen by students the next day? Perhaps the most important question of all: What do they think of as art? If I saw this installation in a gallery, I would stop and think about its meaning, what the artist was trying to convey. My father, on the other hand, would walk by it, laugh a little, maybe say something like “I could do that!”. This isn’t a supposition either, I’ve seen him say things like that before.

Let me now speak about why the removal of my pieces has felt to me like an accomplishment. I’ll try to explain it as best I can, because I don’t have a full opinion formed yet. I believe my excitement comes from the fact that someone engaged with my art. They picked it up, then they threw it out! They touched it, they walked over to the trash, threw it in. The pieces of it are now in a dump somewhere. Perhaps they’re being recycled at this very moment.

I don’t know why, but this interaction (an interaction not person-to-person, but person – to object – to person) has made me feel like the observer of the piece rather than the person who created it. It feels, strangely, as if this wasn’t an installation, but a moving piece (performance art, maybe?) that started when the art was picked up and thrown out, and ended when I found out it was no longer there.

Cultural HiJack: Brasil Slogan HiJack

Official Government Logo of the Brazilian Federal Government.

Official Government Logo of the Brazilian Federal Government.

First HighJack Attempt HiJack 1 HiJack 2 HiJack 3 HiJack 4      

I chose to HiJack the current slogan of Brazil’s Federal Government. The slogan, “Brazil: Order and Progress” was implemented by the illegitimate government of Michel Temer after the parliamentary coup of democratically elected president Dilma Rousseff. Its positivist message is reminiscent of Brazil’s former undemocratic governments and is meant to instill the false perception that politicians are fighting Brazil’s institutionalized culture of corruption in government. A year after the coup, Timer’s government has been wrapped in corruption scandal, censorship, as well as the implementation of measures that negatively impact the working and middle classes.

Thanks to class feedback, I was able to zoom in to two aspects I wanted to address with my HiJack: (1) allowing people to freely express their reaction towards the new government online, a place right wing  censorship has not been able to reach, as well as (2) associating a new image to the slogan, one that invites reflection on what it means, by allowing people to express anger and surprise at how the current government has been inept at living up to its promises of order and progress — presented clearly in the original image.

The images were edited in Powerpoint, without much alteration. Colors were changed through the use of filters. The emoticons were taken from Facebook’s new “reaction” buttons, which perhaps are worthy of a HiJack in and of themselves in the future.

When the project started, my first idea was to add an atomic bomb explosion to the globe of the original image. It quickly became clear through class feedback that that did not convey my message properly. Upon thinking more of how to get the point across — ultimately that this slogan was a propaganda piece not translated into policy by the government — I was able to find images that expressed my intention.

At first, I had a hard time finding a way to subvert my image. I underestimated the amount of reflection that must go into changing an image for a specific purpose. I also think that my strong and complex feelings towards the political situation in Brazil contributed to my difficulty finding one single message I wanted to get across. The current political situation is complex, but at the end, finding one single aspect of it to zoom into was beneficial.

I believe my Hijack promises a certain amount of replication and that people would be happy to use it in their Facebook profile picture to express their discontent with the current government. Facebook profile picture frames have been used for a couple of years now as a way to not only decorate your picture, but to get an important message across. Self-expression, and specifically political expression, are encouraged in online forums and social media: that fact is helpful in encouraging the kind of quick replication that would be much more difficult to achieve in the physical world. The virtual world can be used as a tool for greater and faster dissemination of politically subversive material.

I enjoyed this exercise very much. It was challenging, but the practical aspect of it has given me a deeper understanding of the process and reflection that must go into this kind of work. I plan to continue trying to get my Facebook frames to gather a certain amount of attention.

Cultural Hijack: [Scholar’s Library]

On the same day, I read both the beginning of Beautiful Trouble by Andrew Boyd and a piece assigned by guest artist, Mandy Morrison. Beautiful Trouble is a guide for artists who want to work in socially, visually, and performatively effective ways. The piece Mandy Morrison assigned was “Dancing with Twitter,” a piece in The Mobile Story written by Susan Kozel, Mia Keinanen and Leena Rouhiainen. Their performance, entitled “IntuiTweet,” (Farman, 81) explores the kinesthetic sensations of movement as transmitted over Twitter and realtime re-enacted by other collaborators. Beautiful Trouble’s piece on “Media-Jacking,” written by Patrick Reinsborough, Doyle Canning and Joshua Kahn Russell, discusses using an opposition’s media power and time to create a disruption in favor of your cause or message (Boyd, 72). In light of the recent rise of politicians using Twitter as their broadcast, I thought it would be appropriate to take back Twitter. This idea solidified as I reread Daniel Dennett’s Memes and the Exploitation of Imagination; one quote about replication stuck in my mind: “a scholar is just a library’s way of making another library” (Dennett, 126). That day, I started the Twitter “Scholar’s Library.”

twitter bg

Since then, Scholar’s Library has been a project that I have worked on intermittently, adding to the Library over several months. Each tweet is composed in a consistent format, both visually and performatively. My initial goal for Scholars Library is to:

  1. Interact with people, semi-organically in physical and digital space
  2. Detail an aspect of who these people are, and therefore how to read their contribution
  3. Produce a ‘fact,’ whether factual or otherwise

For a visual format, I wanted to take each of these into consideration and develop a finished piece that was both different from the physical interactions and exactly the same in its intention. I created a simple formula for this:

thing

The consistent performance aspect was initially unintentional. As I began speaking to people to create tweets, I found that I was very nervous and often couldn’t quite think of what to say. I noticed after the third person that in my nervous nature, I had repeated the same three questions every time:

  • Name? This is going online, so you can use your name-name or an alias.
  • Someone who you admire? It doesn’t have to be the person you admire most, just, someone.
  • What is a fact you know?

These questions acted as a small interview, which in turn formed the tweets.

The project continued as a simple side project to indulge my own creativity until mid-November. At this point, by the recommendation of my class, I began to focus more on Scholar’s Library as a conference project. This is when the library entered the real world. I developed and re-developed the presentation of the Library several times: initially, I considered projecting tweets onto the windows of the Sarah Lawrence Esther Rauschenbush Library during our finals week as a playful distraction, similar to the “99% bat signal” of Occupy Wall Street fame (Boyd, 273). However, as we did not have the ability to project on these windows (yet!), I had to rethink the physical aspect of the Library. I considered the qualities of the Library, the nature of the short-form tweet, and why I even wanted to present my Library in the campus library. Finally, I realized that what I wanted from the large-scale projection was two things: visibility and legitimacy. What is more visible and legitimate than the thousands of books in a college library? I started to rebrand the visual components of the twitter page. There were several versions of the Scholar’s Library icon. The basic design modified the book logo from Library of Congress, as it is an open source image. The color scheme also remained consistent as I intentionally chose a very stable and intellectual deep blue and white. The versions of the icon happened because, firstly, I could not decide what to put in the book! First it was a question mark, to reference the semi-factual nature of the project; after that, it became a simple S, for scholar; by the end, the symbols I chose were quotation marks, to honor the spoken component.   scholars lib blue circle scholars lib no bg scholars lib blue In critique, my class reminded me to consider one thing: replication. The origins of both the Dennett quote and Scholar’s Library was theories of how knowledge replicates. Replication is what lead me to the final icon, a book on a beautiful descending sea of identical books, fading as they moved farther and farther from their ‘source material.’

FINAL

With my new digital digs, I planned. I wanted to be sure that I distributed the tweets at a time when there would be high circulation of atypical books. Of course, the perfect time was our impending finals, when approximately 1,300 students rush to the library to write papers on niche subjects they moderately care about. The next issue was “where.” Deciding which books to store the tweets in became a sort of game. But again, I returned to the many knowledgeable artists of Beautiful Trouble: “Stay on message” (Boyd, 178). My focus wasn’t about windows, or finals, or even the delicious chai that they never have in the library cafe. It was about the process of learning and replicating knowledge. Therefore, it seemed most appropriate to install the tweets in a series of books with language or fact related to the tweet. This was paired with opening the Scholar’s Library page on any available computer in the library and setting it as the homepage, giving the Library both a digital and physical preference. At the installation, there were 20 tweets in the library. This resulted in 80 books.          lib map unnamed Installation was hilarious and taxing. Over the course of four hours, myself and my collaborator Wynn Heyward scoured the shelves for our 80 books. The list spanned all sections of the library, intentionally, and featured many silly or strange titles. Several students stared as we scampered through the library, tweets in hand, placing the small slips of paper logo-out in the books and turning them so the tweets stuck out in the aisle. There were a few books we could not find in this process; most were replaced with nearby alternates, but some were shuffled in with the extra tweets I had printed earlier. At the end, these extra tweets were positioned at the front desk, and after a long day of scholarly adventures, we left. slips books There are very few things I would do differently about this project, as I intend to do many different things with it in the future. I consider this the Opening Day for Scholar’s Library. It was successful in that I gained a few followers and noticed a few slips gone; it was unsuccessful in that I wished I had had more tweets, more help, and a generally larger production. Still, I thoroughly enjoyed myself, and plan to continue on with the Library. If anyone has a contribution, find this Scholar and we will let the world know.  

Cultural Hijack: [The Cocoon]

For many, many weeks, the only question people would ask me was: “so, how’s the cocoon?”

Admittedly, because of this, the cocoon felt successful before I had even installed it: people were talking about it, and that is the first step to public art.

This all began in a class as we discussed Heimbold, the visual arts building at Sarah Lawrence College. Heimbold has three intensely obvious characteristics: it is built with steel, concrete, and glass; the space is large and intimidating, with little emotional or physical access to the building itself; and, much like its typical occupants, Heimbold is suffocatingly white.

We framed Heimbold as a problem to solve. How do we work with and against the building itself to create successful, affective art? One student commented that “your eyes are welcome, but your body is not.” This comment is what created the cocoon.

3



Initially, the cocoon was a hug machine. Taken from another project series, the Hug Machine extends from the walls of the building it is installed in, and envelops the participant in a comforting, human-like hug. However, there was something incomplete about the Hug Machine. Andrew Boyd, editor of Beautiful Trouble (a text I read towards the end of my time with the cocoon), writes quite smartly in his manual to good art: “praxis makes perfect” (Boyd, 162). After trying to digitally construct The Hug Machine, it became clear that certain elements were more important to me than others; the softness, enclosure, and positive intent of the Hug Machine were what really appealed to me.
At a loss and needing a project, I reviewed some of the texts from the semester. I spent 90 minutes in a bubble bath rereading Edward Bernays’ Propaganda, a 1928 classic on the nature of Public Affairs, business, and the public. In Propaganda, Bernays gives several stories of companies working with the public in a sleight of hand; they would promote their projects through public works, contests, and academic studies. (Bernays, 70-79). He explains why this is justified:
“The development of public opinion for a cause or line of socially constructive action may very often be the result of a desire on the part of the propagandist to meet successfully his own problem which the socially constructive cause would further. And by doing so he is actually fulfilling a social purpose in the broadest sense.” (Bernays, 73-74)
Bernays’ idea of social uplift or change happening in conjunction with and for the intent of business made me think. Earlier, we also studied Nikeplatz, a piece by Mattes & Mattes.


nikeplatz

 

Nikeplatz was created as a reaction to people placing company logos, and therefore brand identities, both on their body through clothes and in their spaces through advertising. However, the piece itself was simply a performance of Mattes & Mattes unveiling a building-sized sculpture of the Nike logo in a public park and interviewing passing people about it. This proved much more effective than a simple statement like “corporate logos are bad” or “where are you putting brands?” Because Mattes & Mattes’ piece was not necessarily the construction itself but rather the reactions, people felt that their opinion was their own, and in natural reaction to the over-the-top commodity occupation. Much like Bernays suggests, the most potent propaganda isn’t direct, but conscious of how to influence social dynamic. I desperately wanted to join in on the fun.  

The Hug Machine’s redesign involved three necessary components: soft materials, a feeling of enclosure, and an enforced distance between participants and Heimbold itself. My mission was to redevelop Heimbold as a space, sneakily, so that people would feel both welcomed and comforted in a typically hostile space. The combination of these key elements are what lead me to the cocoon. Cocoons wrapped their occupants in soft, shapely domes that were produced naturally in high-bug/butterfly/worm areas. The metaphor of nature invading a deeply removed and unnatural space excited me, as did the easy recognition of the material and shape. It was going to be wonderful.

Silkworm_&_cocoon chrysalis_macro_close_up_cocoon_pupa_metamorphosis_transform_cycle-419018



For the cocoon, I studied many naturally occurring cocoons. The shape that appealed to me most (and seemed most iconic) was the shape of a moth’s cocoon; the silkworm’s cocoon had a texture that fit my ideal balance of softness and ephemeral weightlessness; finally, in considering how humans should interact with it, I referenced Nacho Carbonell’s Cocoon Seats, an installation that allows people to interact from the shoulders down with their heads in a cocoon. Although I wanted a singular experience for the cocoon, the way that Carbonell creates a simultaneously singular and social experience greatly appealed to me.

Nacho-Carbonell-Social-Sofa-Communication-Line-1-537x358



After a consultation with our fearless art leader, Angela Ferraiolo, I began experimenting with fabric. This featured a bucket of cornstarch, several fabric samples from the internet, and a tiny knife. My process was testing each fabric (felt, cotton, wool, and raw cotton) for two things: rigidity and fluffiness. I distressed each fabric by sliding the small knife into the surface layers of the fabric and pulling up small tufts; this proved most successful for felt and the raw cotton. However, the second test for rigidity eliminated the felt, as a few days after applying the cornstarch, the felt molded. In sight of my research, I ordered six feet of raw cotton batting for my cocoon.


wool unnamed 2

This is where the real construction began. I spent several days cutting the sheets of batting into two panels, designed so that when they hung together, they would look like the moth’s cocoon. To support and set this style, I also sewed in over 25 ft of copper wire so that the cocoon could bend in odd shapes and styles, but maintain its overall shape. There were two wire inserts other than the outline of the cocoon, which gave the piece its sense of depth and movement.

                 cut sewing

The final step, and my personal favorite, was the lights. To reinforce the ephemeral feeling of the light, fluffy distressed cotton, I sewed in four LED copper string lights, creating spirals and curves along the inside of the piece that later wove up the copper supports that held it in place. The lights were beautiful, and glowed just enough that they were visible from the inside but somewhat hidden from the outer world, helping to divide the conceptual cocoon space from the real world Heimbold Space.

                  scissors close spiral  

The installation itself both succeeded and failed, in my opinion. When hanging the actual cocoon, I ran out of the copper wire that I used to suspend it from the supports of the second floor staircase. Although tragic and frustrating at the time, I nudged, angled, and twisted the wire until it came to a satisfactory, semi-closed shape. The final touch was two small stitches that closed the cocoon from the back and a single red chair underneath, to encourage people to not only interact with the piece, but do so leisurely.

unnamed  inside outer2

There are several things I wanted to do differently in this piece, but I consider them lessons for future projects. My biggest regret is, like the cautionary tale that Seres Lu tackles in Graffiti vs. Street Art, my piece was art. There was something inherently limiting and classist about my piece being art, which was counter to the intent of an equalizing, sheltering space. Still, in my many trips through Heimbold, I caught several people resting in that red chair and staring up at the lights that twinkled around them.

As an artist, I see many conceptual and aesthetic flaws in my piece (namely, the uneven hand stitches that secured the wire within the piece and oddly bourgeois nature of art)— as a student, I thought that the cocoon was a perfect respite.

Cultural Hijack: A Tour of the Building

IMG-4151 IMG-4148 IMG-4145

Process:

I wanted to criticize space and my class challenged me on how self-righteous it came across. In frustration, I realized that what I wanted to do was explore Heimbold through my emotions and my memories. It is a micro-situation with thoughts and ideas from Vito Acconci Following Piece, The Art of the Question by Anonymous, and Tom Finkelpearl’s “Participatory Art”, as well as my own experience as a theater student. I initially wanted my project be more aggressive but I was convinced against it by my class. As I developed the places and spots to visit I made a few consistent spots to visit.

1. I started on the top floor and ended on the bottom floor of Heimbold.

2. During the show I entered bathrooms of all genders. I stuck my hand in the toilet.

3. I told different and often conflicting versions of the same story. The conflicting nature of it comes from conflicting natures on the same stories. For example I framed one tour as a descent into my feelings and chose not to in another.

4. I asked people questions about whatever story I told and asked them to do things. Including but limited to:

- sing a note

- look out a window

-sneak down the stairs

-play inside a rolling cart for film department

-reassure me that I am doing ok

-Stare at other students.

-Move chairs

4. Rely on my humorous personality to entertain even when I felt drained and unsatisfied.

What I feel about my piece and what I learned:

The first thing I noticed was the stress and lack of confidence from the first performance to the last. I became more emotionally drained from performance to performance. This led my tours from being confident and playful to (internally) more fearful and transgressive. What this meant  was that no two tours developed the same meaning. The same way that remembering alters the memory itself  over time, so did the descent from the top floor to the bottom. I felt that my piece became less about the construction of my Heimbold experiences to my failure to maintain the same thinking of it. I couldn’t remember the right questions or routines and would, with varying degrees of success, make up new ones. This in my mind is painful and yet in retrospect completely in line with the performance project as a whole. Because my relationship with my performance became strained and possibly unhinged so did my demonstration of the space. This meaning is of course very different for the audience, but their experience of the space was more of an amusing tour of memories, make believe, and activity that I would not experience at first.

One theme that sticks out in the retrospect is the transgression. Transgression here appeared in three forms: transgression of social mores, transgression of comfort level, and the failure to transgress against one authority instead of another. Let’s start in more of a note form of each kind and what that means about Heimbold.

-Social mores I would violate and ask the group to participate in include put my hand in a toilet, enter a gendered bathroom as a group, stare at a stranger walking by, play in a rolling cart, and stand on tables. What this did was provide a moment of playfulness but also give a eye on two elements of the space. The first is that there are things you can do that are fun that aren’t wrong or hurtful. The second, there is no true rebellion over the space. My playful attitude has zero effect on the architecture of the building beyond add a feeling onto it, like adding invisible graffiti onto the space.

-I never transgressed the comfort level of any of the participants. I did transgress my own comfort level when I initially put my hand in the toilet. By having my audience witness it I did unsettle the impossibility of the action. It’s small but it will be something remembered nonetheless.

-Finally I felt I pushed beyond my comfort zone in a positive way. I have touched on this early but I do feel that this performance has pushed me out of a certain comfort around my art making and I would like to further with it.

Cultural HiJack: The OöfOöf

My first round of OöfOöf stickers!!

My first round of OöfOöf stickers!!



I created a fashion movement at Sarah Lawrence College. The OöfOöf. Ever heard of it? It’s the newest trend! Ideas and concepts explored in my project; manipulation, social movements, absurdity, social reach and pull, wanting to be apart of something you don’t understand, and what is fashion?

The OöfOöf  is made from a plastic shopping bag that food/items typically come in. I was looking at a bag full of these plastic bags in my living room one day and realized that some of the images on the bags aren’t too far off from something I would see being sold at Urban Outfitters or any other clothing store that is trying to sell “hipster” “cool” “edgy.” I was overcome with the idea of turning the bags into my own garment! My mind started spinning more and more and I started to think about how I could get people to wear them for me! I was confident in my own social pull at Sarah Lawrence and my manipulation abilities. I was also confident because Sarah Lawrence is a unique college, where something like this isn’t too far off from something you would expect a student to do. To turn a regular old plastic take out into an OöfOöf I cut off the bottom of the bag. Then, on the side without an image, I would cut it in half, creating a vest look. This is the OöfOöf!

I wanted to have an OöfOöf Day! Where people all over campus were seen wearing them. I wanted this to happen two fold, I did so by:  getting people to participate in advanced and on OöfOöf day I asked people I to wear OöfOöf’s on the spot.   My class had told me to think about trying to sell people on the OöfOöf, I drew on my experience in customer service. In preparation for the project I read the Tactics section of “Beautiful Trouble.” The section was helpful, all sorts of ideas came out of it.

To execute this I had to convince the advance people the new OöfOöf trend was something they wanted to be apart of. I marketed it to the advance people as something they were now apart of, something that was very special and selective. I always started out with the question: Want to be apart of something special? They would ask me to explain and I would follow with the statement: There is a new fashion trend / social movement happening at Sarah Lawrence College and I want YOU to be apart of it! It depended on the person but most would ask a couple more questions before agreeing. I would say I couldn’t tell them the trend until they agreed to participating. I used this tactic for multiple reasons; it created a mystery to the OöfOöf, it fostered intrigue (after hyping it up so much they usually really wanted to know what it was), and it was a way for me to manipulate! I was able to convince people to do something for me that they were given very little solid information on. Before they agreed I would just make the trend sound very fancy, selective and special. Once they agreed, I would leap into a description of the OöfOöf’s, it was most helpful when I had them with me. I always said that each OöfOöf is picked specifically for the person, and that they are incredibly meadable. Basically how people of all different sizes can wear an OöfOöf!

Organizing the advance people was the most time consuming aspect of the project. The people I asked in advance when I didn’t have the OöfOöf’s with me, I then had to hunt down to give them one before OöfOöf day. It was very important that they were wearing an OöfOöf I had made and that everyone got a “fitting.” The fitting was very important because it reinstated making the person participating feel as though this was a special thing I had asked them to do and the fittings also drove home how OöfOöf’s are for everyone, this gave me the time and space to adjust the OöfOöf perfectly to the person. I wanted all the advance people to feel cool, comfortable and confident in their OöfOöf and I knew those feelings were a crucial in order for the advance people to follow through with the project.

I wanted the college to see the OöfOöf’s around before the actual OöfOöf day. I took inspiration for the Tactics section of “Beautiful Trouble” to inspire me. At first I had my heart set on hanging a banner of OöfOöf in the library. I thought it was the perfect place, because I did not want the first reaction when someone sees an OöfOöf to think of it as art. Well I tried very hard to get the banner to be hung in the library but after weeks of emails and my project being bounced around between people and different departments, I momentarily gave up. Instead I made stickers!! Setting aside the banner idea for a hot sec and working on stickers was not a bad thing. I had been wanting to make stickers all semester and so incredibly overjoyed to get started.

Description of  the stickers: it’s a picture of an OöfOöf on a black hanger against a pink/purple background and the name OöfOöf over the image in Didot font italicized. I wanted them to look fancy, colorful and get the message across. Over thanksgiving break I made the stickers and put about 20 all over campus. I did this so that after everyone came back the stickers  would be everywhere and so that people would not see me putting them around. I got the sticker making bug and could not stop making them. I gave them to all of the advance people and I made even more for around campus! I was obsessed!  I think the stickers were one of the most successful aspects of this project for a couple reasons. 1. Someone I do not know posted a picture of the sticker on her instagram! 2. When I asked advance people to participate, after they agree and I gave  them stickers, a few of them said “Oh this is the trend?! I’ve seen these around campus!” 3. And the same reaction happened when I gave the stickers out on OöfOöf DAY day!   I think this is successful because my stickers made an impression on people. They recognized them and thought about them, even if it was a fleeting thought. People really wanted to know what an OöfOöf was.

Moving back to the banner. I did end up making one! It was hung during open studios in heimbold. It looked great and I’m very glad I made it.

The day before I sent this message to all the advance people: “THANK YOU for participating in this special Sarah Lawrence trend!~~ here’s whats up: TOMORROW Monday the 4th is OöfOöf DAY ! PLS wear your OöfOöf all day!! (if you have work and have to take it off for a bit that is of course fine!) I recommend wearing the OöfOöf over a more tight fitting shirt, then a jacket over. The OöfOöf’s are delicate so wearing it over a bulkier garment can cause wear and tear! If ripping occurs, you can always tape the ripped pieces together or text me and I can provide another OöfOöf. It may not be the same style but it will still be curated specifically for you. things to remember!: when asked why you are wearing it say something along the lines of “oh this? my OöfOöf? this is a new trend! Have you not heard??” if a professor asks you, you can be less sassy and say its for a conference project, also please do not say jenny morris is the one behind all of this. THANK YOU so so so much again! pls text me with any questions !!”

What we have all been waiting for! OöfOöf DAY! On OöfOöf DAY I stood outside the library at three different times asking people if they wanted to be apart of a new trend?! I stood outside from 9-9:30, 10:50-11:15, and 12:30-1. I picked these times because people would either be going to class or leaving class or were busy times at the library. I gave a sticker to everyone that participated and I found this to be an extremely helpful tactic! Some people were so overjoyed and excited to be apart of something and others wanted nothing to do with me. People posted about the OöfOöf’s and OöfOöf DAY all throughout the day!! It was greatly successful in my opinion and I had so much fun doing it!!

Overall thoughts, I had amazing time during all the steps of this project. A goofy idea of mine was turned into a real thing and I don’t think there is any greater experience than that. Having a funny idea become real! WowowoW! There were obviously some lows, like not being able to hang the banner in the library and being bounced around to all the different people. But it taught me how bureaucratic it is to work in public space. I now have to tools to work in public space in the future. Besides from the banner there were no more lows regarding the project. If I was to do it again, I would have more people post on social media. One friend of mine tweeted and posted on Facebook. That was extremely successful and someone who took an OöfOöf outside of the library commented on her post!

The project taught me about manipulation, how to sell a silly thing, working in public space, and the value of stickers.  
OöfOöf on instagram

Someone I don’t know posted a picture of my OöfOöf sticker!

 
On OöfOöf DAY! A friend posted an instagram story of her Someone I don't know posted a picture of her OöfOöf!

On OöfOöf DAY! A friend posted an instagram story of her OöfOöf!

 
OöfOöf on Facebook

OöfOöf on Facebook

 
Another person posted about the OöfOöf on instagram! she even personalized it by wearing it backwards!

Another person posted about the OöfOöf on instagram! she even personalized it by wearing it backwards!

 
OöfOöf on Twitter!

OöfOöf on Twitter!

 
Someone was spotted  wearing an OöfOöf in class!

Someone was spotted wearing an OöfOöf in class!

 
OöfOöf banner in Heimbold

OöfOöf banner in heimbold

Cultural HiJack: Bathroom(s)

clean-your-hands-hand-washing-poster

This project began very sensitive; I wanted to discuss sexual assault and harassment on campus, which is quite personal to me. I came at the project initially from a point of anger, and conceptualized a piece where I would use polaroid pictures of places on campus to insinuate the viewer in the situation. I wanted to make it uncomfortable to be a bystander not doing anything. After a lot of discussion and thought, it became clear that the project needed to take a different form. I hadn’t consider that the piece would be upsetting to other people who have been assaulted and harassed on campus, and that it wouldn’t only be seen by those perpetuating the abuse or disaffected onlookers.

So I abandoned the polaroids, but I held on to the idea of gendered harassment, as it felt too important not to tackle. I spent a lot of time trying to figure out how I could appeal not only to the bystander and the perpetrator, but also to the affected parties, and how I could accomplish projecting a message that would be understood differently by different people. I looked a lot at Jenny Holzer’s work, and the ways that she abstracts ideas slightly into phrases and places them innocuously but obviously. The idea of humor was important in conceptualizing the form the piece would take, but ultimately abstraction became the most important element.

I decided on posters, instructional, in the vein of the CPR instructional charts posted in school cafeterias. The gendered bathrooms in Heimbold seemed the perfect place for the project – the concept of a gendered bathroom is loaded politically and emotionally, and even a public bathroom of any kind can be extremely anxiety-inducing for someone who experiences sexual harassment.

I found a hand-washing instructional poster and removed most of the text, finding the images useful for evoking the images of paranoia experienced both by those fearing harassment and those who are overly concerned with the genders of the people they share a bathroom with. I tried to draw attention to the ridiculous amount of thought people put into the gender of those around them and how that relates with their own gender – an angle I felt would be sympathetic enough to not be triggering for anyone but would still have the potential to cause someone to reflect on their own thoughts and actions. The actual process of installation terrified me – when I considered the placement of my piece, I put aside my own fears surrounding gendered and public bathrooms, but ultimately I was able to install. It was a positive experience, and gave me space to think, in relation to my project, about the arbitrary distinctions of spaces that are closed off by gender and class. The social constructions are baked in to the space, but that makes it easier to hijack.

Nonlinear Narratives: Down Post Mortem

background pt 2 copyswamp grass copyswamp water walkable copy My game is about Kaira making friends in a swampy wasteland while on her quest to regain her memories and find out why she lost them in the first place. The game is right now basically a walking simulator. It will eventually be a choice based RPG with follower characters and branching dialogue and story options. In her quest to regain her memories she will eventually also realize she has a sister that she needs to rescue. The McGuffin is exploration as the only way Kaira can regain her memories is by exploring and solving the challenges she and her companions face along the way. For example Kaira is trying to regain her memories and some of the things she needs to regain those memories are in parts of the swamp she cannot breathe in, so she needs to gain the trust of a companion who can breathe in those areas so he can explore them for her. While this character has yet to be introduced in this game build he will likely appear very soon as he is pivotal to the story. I used abstraction in that the game is less detailed than I originally was going to have because the scope of the project would’ve been so much. I used aesthetic in my game to try and give it a dark and mysterious vibe. I use the purples and black colors to show that even though this is a swamp it’s not a swamp that one would find today. The environment is natural in form but unnatural in color scheme and inhabitants. The darker color scheme also gives a somber mood to the game which I am also going to toy with in later maps that will have warmer and more welcoming color schemes.
Nadia Sprite copy

Nadia, yet to be introduced character

One of the characters who will appear in this more warm place is Nadia. Even though her dress is cool colors I want her to still give off a warm and inviting vibe. I mostly have her in the dark blue dress to show that even though the home she’s crafted for herself is very different from the environment around her she is still very much one of the people who lives in the swamp. Another character who has a warmer color scheme is Shari, the talking serval. He is a swamp cat that if Kaira befriends, will be able to get things from the parts of the swamp that would be toxic for Kaira to enter. Almost all of the possible companion characters have an aspect of their design influenced by another companion to show that they are possible companions. Such as how both Shari and Zhis have orange, or how Shari and Nadia both have scarves like Kaira does. I want to use the warm and cool color schemes to make the player feel different things about the different environments. For example, Nadia runs a tavern that I want the player to find warm and inviting in comparison to the hostile and dark swamp outside. My story is nonlinear because it starts in the middle, the events that led to Kaira and Zhis being where they are happened before the game began and there was a whole mini adventure that the two went on before the game began but the game starts in the cage, after Kaira has forgotten all these things. The level that I’m working on now in the final game would probably be a flashback that happens partway through the beginning of the game.
zhis sprite copy

Zhis, Kaira’s first companion/friend

 
enemy static copy

The first enemy

 
shari sprite copy

Shari, Kaira’s second friend in the swamp

I used abstraction in the fact that a lot of major characters that Kaira can befriend or interact with aren’t human. For the majority of the beginning of the game Kaira is the only human the player sees. This shows that the environment is not one the player is familiar with, but Kaira’s casual interactions with these non human characters shows that it is an environment she is comfortable in. My plan for moving forward with this game is to flesh out the animations as well as the dialogue that Kaira has with the characters already in the game as well as the future characters. I also want to work on the next few maps as well as adding more sprites for future characters. (Kaira will have A Lot of friends) As far as feedback loops go the more the character explores and talks to people the more she will be able to remember which will make her want to explore more as she gets closer to her goal of confronting the force that made her loose her memories in the first place. How Kaira goes about accomplishing this will also effect how other characters see her. For example there are some choices she can make that will cause her companion’s deaths or cause them to abandon her because of her actions. A player who say doesn’t care for Zhis for example much might find this mechanic helpful while others may be distressed that their favorite companion could leave them depending on their actions, causing the player to have to weigh the pros and cons of the actions they take in the story. Another feedback loop will be an approval system where the different companions of Kaira’s will approve or disapprove of the actions Kaira takes and this will influence how they feel about and speak to her.