Nonlinear Narrative: The Protagonist

Becca Radley Concept   The protagonist for my game design project is Becca Radley. She is a 24 year-old professional ghost hunter with a predisposition for off-the-wall plans. When her producers demand that she and her brother/co-host Casper provide the funds for their next season themselves, Becca uses her money to purchase lottery tickets. One of them wins, but it is not enough to meet their goal. So, when Becca sees a massive old mansion for sale she hatches a plot to convince the owners the house is haunted and then convince them to sell their house for a lower price. Once it’s bought, she reasons, she can suddenly “resolve the haunting”, and sell it at a higher rate. Becca is the “face” of the Radley ghost hunting duo, with a showmanship that made their show – Ghost Quest – somewhat of a cult hit. Her ideas are not always good, or morally stable, but things have a way of resolving themselves in her favor. The top image is an example of Becca in the artistic style I’ll be using for conversations. I wanted to draw my inspiration for conversational sprites from dating sims and hidden object games. I also wanted my over world sprites to be fairly simple, so as not to crowd the viewer with detail. The rest of the images are over world sprites, as I assumed that it would be easier to find a face that looked aesthetically pleasing in the simpler style then develop a face in the complex style, rather than developing a face in the complex style and then trying to make it read well in the over world sprite style. I considered what props/special physical traits I might give Becca, but after some thought I decided that a more utilitarian design would function best for her. She’s a bit out-there as a person, but I wanted the townspeople NPCs to be bizarre with her as a grounding point, so I wanted her to look a bit “ordinary”. To that end, I decided I’d make her (and her brother to a lesser extent) stand out from the rest of the characters and the background by I started with a free-sketching style in the first image. I liked the proportions in that image, but felt like it would make keeping on-model difficult. I gave her some earrings and an eyebrow ring to showcase that she was more rebellious, and gave her white hair so she would contrast with the background. In the second image, I tried giving her a jacket. When we brought our three characters into class, a few people thought Casper was the main character due to the number of accessories he had, so I thought I might give Becca a hoodie in a different color. It ended up covering up much of the design on her shirt, however, so I removed it in the next sketch. Ghost Quest is her personal project, so I wanted her to display the shirt openly. This created the problem of how to properly display the logo. It was difficult to make one that read properly in the sprite style. In the next attempt, I simplified the logo under the logic that I could do the more detailed logo in the conversation sprites, but I ultimately didn’t like that. In sketch #4, I added a little ghost decal to the shirt to make it more clear that ghost hunting was what she’s about. I also simplified her shoes, as I was having difficulty making the white rubber section of her sneakers read well. In the next sketch, I decided to make the design more shape-oriented, and also to try outlining Becca with black rather than a similar color to the actual part of her body it was next to. Making her blockier ended up making drawing her easier, but I didn’t like the black lining so I abandoned that in design 6. Design 6 and 7 were both attempts to decide what those shapes were, and improve on the Ghost Quest shirt design. I also made her eyebrows black, to call attention to the fact that Becca is bleaching her hair rather than just having her hair naturally white. In design 6-8, I also played with the color of her shirt and skin to have a higher outline contrast, and tried to figure out what shape of eyes i wanted her to have. I ended up fairly happy with the shape of design 8, though when I put her in the background image her color scheme contrasted poorly with the background. So in image 9, I used photoshop’s Kuler wheel to give Becca a shirt color that fit into the scheme. Using the yellowish green in image 9, I ended up with a color that was different from any of the colors in the mansion’s scheme, but still fitting in with them. As this was happening, I started sketching the backgrounds for the game. This ended up fueling my decision to give the rest of the characters color schemes which were either black and white or closer to the background color schemes. In this way, it will emphasize the way everyone else is a part of the town they live in, while Becca is an interloper. I’ll also be tweaking Casper’s design so that it compliments Becca’s more. The backgrounds ended up becoming more abstract/fauvistic. Becca has a fairly solid design contrasting the background, while the backgrounds and the other characters are a bit smudged and indistinct to give them an air of mystery. I’m fairly certain that Becca’s design is still a bit incomplete, as it feels a bit too divergent from the background design at the moment. I want to work on sketching the backgrounds and other characters a bit more, so that I can be more aware of what I’m trying to contrast. Beccaspritetry1 beccaspritetry2 beccaspritetry3 becccaspritetry4 beccaspritetry5 beccaspritetry6 beccaspritetry7 beccaspritetry8 beccaspritetry9

BAN!: Conspiracy in the Age of “Free Speech”

Statement: A visual hijack is when an artist uses the visual strategies of an oppressive image, or target, to re-establish new ideas that are counter or detrimental to the system that the oppressive image upholds. Part 1: Setup
      • Choosing Target
        1. Choosing a target requires a target that is not only choose-able but workable. There are many images and visuals that are oppressive to people, but a good target is one that is both flexible to change and iconic enough that this idea-override will be a challenge.
        2. For this hijack, I chose Breitbart. Breitbart is a very popular and inflammatory conservative news company run in the United States, born from Andrew Breitbart, a former journalist at the Drudge Report (Phelan, 2016). It is perhaps the face of conservative news in the US and is extremely well-known by name and persona.
      • What Makes Breitbart a Good Target
        1. Much of their content is, definitively, oppressive to the artist.
        2. Follows Daniel Dennett’s Rules for Evolution (Dennett, 127) (and therefore, something that will stick around)
“Heredity or replication” (Dennett, 127)
Breitbart is a very successful replicator, meaning that its single form (Breitbart news story) is both easily repeated not just in craft, but in idea and memory. There is something that sticks in one’s brain and the brain of others (Dennett, 129) to reaffirm the idea of Breitbart as a creator of conservative news. Their consistent updating also reminds us of this. The name and persona of Breitbart extend beyond the news story. If one were to say, Breitbart is going to be at the rally!, one would not presume a series of newspapers to stand up and speak. The company is an idea beyond its own function, and that idea is replicated both by its function and the function of other people.
  “Variation” or “an abundance of elements” (Dennett, 127)
The elements in this project included the design of Breitbart, a screen capture from Breitbart the day after the election of the 45th president of the United States (Wayback, 2016), and a screen capture of The Drudge Report on July 11th, 2001, the closest pre-9/11 capture available (Wayback, 2001). Breitbart has many words on its page, being a news company. Many of these words are topical buzzwords and naturally have their own ideas and feelings attached to them. For this project, I also used language from the Drudge Report, Breitbart’s predecessor, to increase the elements available. Drudge Report, pre-9/11, has a lot of pre-contemporary language and distinct linguistic catches that look jarring beside the more typical contemporary ones.
  “Differential ‘fitness’” (Dennett, 127)
Breitbart produces several articles with repetitive buzzwords to create a public reaction to an idea, using the same model of “fitness” (Dennett, 127). By recreating the same elements in varying orders with different emphasis, Breitbart employs the same system as most memes to create ‘new’ content. Therefore, the elements in Breitbart writing as well as Drudge Report headlines are already packaged and ready for remix. Using large or small quotes from the sites creates levels of ‘normal’ and ‘abnormal’ within the paper, by splicing common ideas and repairing them with a Frankenstenian sense of culture. When placed together as a cohesive piece, it is difficult to establish one clear reality. breitbart drudge
      • Defining Working Systems
        1. Breitbart, as a news source, is very popular: why? - Gramsci suggests that there are two kinds of “intellectuals” (Gramsci 113), those who are naturally “organizers” (ibid) and “organically” (ibid) rise to lead people, and those who “[emerge] into history out of the preceding […] structure” (Gramsci 114). - Breitbart, ironically, is the latter spinning itself to seem the former. Unlike the classic bootstrap American narrative, Breitbart did not rise from the American public just as conservatives needed it, but was an egg waiting to hatch for many years. - Andrew Breitbart left The Drudge Report in 2005 to begin Breitbart Media (Phelan, 2016). Gaining popularity from its predecessor and from Breitbart’s reputation as a catchy journalist for Drudge Report, the news source became a household name after getting famous with their report Big Government in 2009 (Phelan, 2016).
        2. But why was their internet popularity so fast and effective? - Ken Layne says about Andrew Breitbart’s reporting style at Drudge Report, “just choosing links and writing a great headline and placing it on the page — is a real art form” (Phelan, 2016). - Mark Dery, a web scholar, writes that the “one-liner” is an intensely effective online format (Dery, 2). - Breitbart gained popularity because it was easy to read and was a “unique brand of lightweight, gossamer junk” (Phelan, 2016) while attacking “intellectual scaffolding” (ibid). - The same short form use of repetitive, easy to understand elements in different positions allowed for Breitbart to become one of the most iconic conservative news sources of our time. By not requiring much attention but having a high malleability, Breitbart was allowed to produce and reproduce easily. - This success gives it authority, and the authority mixed with replication causes it to “‘produce’ intellectuals” (Gramsci, 117) who, in turn, give it authority.
        3. How do you hijack this? - When online, there is a sort of anonymity; personas are built on digital footprint rather than their identity. “People are judged on the content of what they say,” (Dery, 2) and who they are comes from that action. > Use the Breitbart name and likeness to create and alternate persona that reflects a facet of why it is oppressive - There are three key components to target for Breitbart: its replicability, its notoriety, and its credibility. Although I could have done a project on how the articles describe Dennett’s fitness, or a project showing the hypocrisy of promoting fringe news from a singular large company, I chose to attack the credibility.
      • What defines the hijack? - For publications that were notoriously unreliable, my initial idea was simple headlines with incorrect photos. However, this evolved into a more distinguished metaphor: using the conspiracy magazine. - Conspiracy magazines are known for false, outlandish, and usually fabricated information. This seemed like the perfect reflection of the ‘fake news’ phenomenon. It also enabled me to use the integrity of the Breitbart name against them. - The same brevity of headline and buzzword tactic is used in both conspiracy magazines and the Breitbart articles, but how they are judged is different. The artifice is similar, but the value is different because of reputation. - Like a news company, the magazine implies replication (multiple issues). This metaphor helps to uphold the same replicative property as Breitbart, the news company. - Because I was attacking the credibility of Breitbart, I made an active effort to use its other two major strategies in my favor, so that my piece would appear more connected to my target.
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  • Magazine Building
    1. First Prototype - Most of the work for the magazine occurred in Adobe InDesign. I used Photoshop to create backgrounds for the magazine, mimicking the spray paint design of Breitbart’s official website. The three focal colors (orange, gray, and black) were taken directly from screenshots of the website. Not having worked in InDesign prior, this was quite the adventure, but the program proved to be more friendly than unfriendly! - I deeply wanted the newspaper to be large and unruly when read, so the paper size was 11×17 inches. This proved correctly impossible to handle when printed. - Before designing the layout of the piece, I compiled several references for ‘old’ conspiracy magazines covers. Paranoia proved both the easiest to find and the best representation of a variety of covers, featuring image- and text-heavy covers. I then emulated the closely-oriented/busy layout of the covers, which felt surprisingly easy and natural. - Most limitations were in the composition of the magazine format, but the metaphor of a conspiracy magazine was a fun and easily mimicable. The limits guided the piece more than restricted it. - My original goals for this prototype were to play with the ideas of headlines from Drudge Report only, with images from public web using keywords from headlines, using only the design from the Breitbart website. - Titles for the magazine varied, trying to describe the fake authorship; options were: Breitbart American Men, Breitbart American News, and Breitbart News.

image_6483441 (4) image_6483441 (2)image_6483441 (1)

  2. Second Prototype     – The second prototype was modified to include more text: it now included Breitbart’s   contemporary headlines. This lead to more dense text and smaller ‘packets’ of words and phrases for use, in order to disguise the headlines. The newer words allowed also for more play and topical humor, which felt easily accessible     – There were also more images, to allow for a more gentle visual experience. The title that I settled on was BAN: Breitbart American News     – Lastly, this week I finally created the BreitbartAN Facebook page which is listed on the back of the magazine, and which only has posted the screen captures of the Breitbart and Drudge Report websites.

image_6483441 (5)

    1. Third Prototype/Final - The third prototype had more focus on ‘public’ interaction: I added ‘viewer of the week’ photo, a mail in portion of the magazine, and the Facebook icon that is recognizable on so many websites today. These changes work with helping the magazine to appear connected and “making the world a little smaller,” (Fairey, 3). - Again, the design was altered to make the piece more legible and move better across the page. There were plenty of other design notes after this prototype, however, they did not make the final for time issues. Still, it shows that rarely is any design perfect!
For Access: PROTO EDIT
  • Installation
    1. The Inaugural Year: Celebrate Sarah Lawrence - The purpose of this event, according to the Sarah Lawrence website, was to “highlight dance, music, theatre, and writing performances and readings; science demonstrations and posters; displays by student visual artists; Sarah Lawrence programs beyond the campus; Graduate Programs; student publications; dessert reception and the opportunity to have your photo taken with our college mascot, Godric the Gyphon” (Sarah Lawrence, 2017). - The event itself was spread throughout the first two floors of the Heimbold Visual Arts Center and several outdoor staging areas. - Many alumna, board members, and donors were present as well as students to blend in with. I chose this event because not only did is present a group who was not typical to the college, but it also presented a group who was a risk for the college to interact with. These people also likely had a knowledge of what Breitbart was, and perhaps might even have an opinion on the piece.
    2. Distribution - Originally, I planned to wait at a singular table and distribute 15 printed copies of the magazine as a repeated action; however, due to how few people were in the area, I began to move throughout the event spaces and hand out papers. - A friend and photographer, Khalifah Jamison, took photos of people reading the magazine and of myself handing them out. - Surprisingly, it was very hard to wait for people to take the magazine. This was remedied with a much easier “would you like a newspaper”/”would you like a magazine.”
    3. Gallery - At one point, I entered Barbara Walter’s Gallery. At the suggestion of Jamison, I stood in middle of an exhibit portion so that it appeared I was there as a part of the exhibit. Many people saw me enter the gallery, however, many more did not. - I passed out several newspapers within the gallery, this time without speaking or with as few words as possible. Many people took the time to very much study and read the paper, some even looking at the art behind me for answers. Several groups of people read the paper and returned it, thinking that it was a permanent part of the exhibit.
    4. Reactions - Most people received the magazine with confusion. Twice, people laughed. One person rejected the magazine upon seeing the Breitbart name, but their companion took the paper. - A few people held onto the magazine, more people secretively than visibly. This leads me to believe that although they may have wanted to read it, they were ashamed of the Breitbart name. However, there were some who openly displayed the Breitbart logo as they carried it.

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        – The only people who carried it visibly, from who I noticed, were white men.
  • Conclusions
    1. Did This Work - I think so; many of the people who talked to me about the magazine asked questions such as “who did this?” and “is this real?” - The purpose was to destabilize the view of ‘credibility’ of Breitbart name and source. By making people unsure about whether Breitbart had actually published a nonsense conspiracy magazine, I feel accomplished and that my ideas translated correctly.
    2. SURPRISINGLY, the Facebook page backfired. - The Facebook page has had a surprising amount of interaction, but it does not seem to be anyone related to Sarah Lawrence College or from Yonkers/Bronxville area. There was one person who interacted with the page from Yonkers. - The page has been tagged in links to an actual Breitbart article. - The page has been sent message about a conservative activist in trouble.
    3. The messages replicated differently online versus with the magazine. - The Facebook page only had the untouched content from the Drudge Report and Breitbart, meaning that there was no hijack necessarily present. Therefore, posting it online without the finished product meant that it only replicated the Breitbart name and likeness without the critique of the final product. This was not only unintentional, but a failure to consistently represent the product cross-platform. - In this case, the Breitbart name outshone the content itself and proved too strong to feasibly hijack, and in fact hijacked the project itself.
    4. Although the credibility of Breitbart was put into question by this piece, the reach was small due to the print nature and the institution of Breitbart remains mostly unaffected.
  • Future work
    1. I would like to use the growing (?) online basis to replicate the short form conspiracy publication, but instead as a consistently published online publication. This would require continuing to find new elements from Breitbart and Drudge Report as well as choosing the set for these elements (ie. parameters for what screen grabs to use).
    2. An alternative to creating my own conspiracy work would be to use the same growing online basis to link to screenshots of actual conspiracy news websites. Again, the Breitbart name and image have proven very strong within this project, and the continual use of this header would stand as the backbone and reference for this project.
    3. Lastly, perhaps the best thing to do is re-research more forms of working on removing credit from organizations or change my perspective on this project entirely. The first way is not necessarily the best way, and more reading and viewing cannot hurt!
    End Notes “The Inaugural Year: Celebrate Sarah Lawrence.” Sarah Lawrence College. Accessed October 16, 2017. https://www.sarahlawrence.edu/news-events/events/2017-2018/2017-10-05-inaugural_event_cele-eid217579.html. “DRUDGE REPORT.” Wayback Machine. July 11, 2001. Accessed October 16, 2017. https://web.archive.org/web/20010711064315/http://www.drudgereport.com:80/. Dennett, Daniel C. “Memes and the Exploitation of Imagination.” The Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 48, no. 2 (Spring 1990): 127-35. Accessed October 15, 2017. doi:10.2307/430902. Dery, Mark. Flame Wars: Discovery of Cyberculture. Durham and London, UK: Duke University Press, 1994. Fairey, Shepard. “Sticker Art.” Obey Giant. May 2003. Accessed October 16, 2017. https://obeygiant.com/essays/sticker-art/. Gramsci, Antonio. “Antonio Gramsci.” In AN ANTHOLOGY OF WESTERN MARXISM, edited by Roger Gottlieb, 112-19. New York, NY: Oxford University Press, 1989. Nussbaum, Daniel, Joel B. Pollak, Jeff Pooro, and Neil Munro. “Breitbart News Network.” Wayback Machine. November 08, 2016. Accessed October 18, 2017. https://web.archive.org/web/20161108073830/http://www.breitbart.com/. Phelan, Matthew. “Building the House of Breitbart.” Jacobin Magazine. November 05, 2016. Accessed October 15, 2017. https://www.jacobinmag.com/2016/11/breitbart-news-drudge-alt-right-koch-trump/.  

YouTube Beauty Video: Crème de Nature

Around three years ago, I came across with series of videos on YouTube called Nature Is Speaking. These videos are voiced by famous people such as Julia Roberts, Harrison Ford, Kevin Spacey and many more, as if they are the nature itself. (I’ll put a link down below.) these videos were telling the viewer how we were destroying the nature but also reminding that mother nature has harbored way more powerful creatures than humans in the past. The video made me think what have I done in my life for nature as a product of commercial society. Of course, because I live in the boundaries of a social group and use social media, I was thought to believe that some products are better than others. In the current years, there has been a social awareness around the world for natural issues. People realize that all the harmful and chemical products they have been putting in to their bodies have a side effect. For this reason, there has been a switch from chemical to natural sources. For instance, in beauty industry while for many years in most of the creams, shampoos and other indulgences paraben was a highly used product, there is a shift to palm oil. So, in my Hijack, I wanted to hijack the promotion of this change from chemical to natural. Although I cannot deny, it is a good thing for our body, and health, I am against the publicity of these products as if it is not destroying the nature and the habitat of animals. For the first class I had a sketch of a face something similar to a face filled with worms and leaves. I was inspired by Italian painter Arcimboldo’s Spring. However, in the class discussion I heard very encouraging commentsarcimboldospring. My classmates made me realize that my draft wasn’t actually hijacking the image but almost empowering the product. Then while discussing my product in the class someone brought the idea of YouTube videos where beauty gurus (using this term loosely) review beauty products on their channels. So, for the second week, I actually created a product with food coloring, oreos and parsley trying to make it look like an “organic” product. In the cream I created, the red food-dye represents the blood of the animals that die because their habitat is destroyed. Oreos and parsley symbolizes the nature. For the design of the product, I chose simple colors white cream boxIMG_2635 with pink sticker. The name of the brand is italicized to represent the elegance of the company and put few leaves to show that it is eco-friendly. To emphasize the elegance of the company, instead of choosing an English name, I chose a French name, Crème de nature. For the video, I met with a friend of mine, Cristina, while I was introducing the cream, saying how eco-friendly it was, Cristina was putting on the cream on her body. Since the cream was red, the spectator could see the effects of the cream at that instant. So, I believe my cream does make people more aware (I hope) by using shock and disgust. When I showed my product to the class, the class mainly liked it (I hope) Angela suggested that I should also have a design for the lid of the cream as well, and have a fancy decoration for the presentation. So, for my final presentation, I brought up some glitters and a panel, that looks like mirror. creamlogo            Overall, I really had fun while doing this project. I think I really had chance to express my thoughts on industry by doing art.

Cultural Hijack: What I Learned From my Failed Kekistan Hijack

For my hijack i attempted to subvert the 4chan meme, the Kekistan flag. The history of the meme can be found here (http://bit.ly/2xCg1Tg), but why I chose it as my target was because it used by contemporary white supremacist and new fascist movements, currently known as the “alt-right.” To rob the power of Kekistan, my hijack must undercut its replication. To do require two somewhat conflicting processes. First it would educate the vast public of its ideological associations as a dog whistle. Secondly the hijack would interfere with the meme’s replication so it would not be used again the same way a joke dies when it is told too many times badly. The latter intention was inspired by Dennet’s “Memes and the Exploitation of Imagination” and how they reproduce themselves.

The iteration I used to hijack explicitly references Nazi imagery such as the Iron Cross and the three lines. In my attempt I used learned how to Gimp, which I learned for this project, to alter the image in a variety of ways, including fusing the flag with the Nazi flag and incorporating Lisa Frank iconography into it.

Unfortunately I came across several problems in attempting to subvert it.

  • The meme is steeped in a history of shitposting, so my first attempt to subvert through exaggeration, such as adding “Nazism is My Passion.” This led to an unclear message in the image, only affirming and promoting neo-Nazi idea;s for those unfamiliar with the original’s associations to Nazism.
  • The next drafts reference Lisa Frank’s colorful designs and it’s image connections to Nazi flags in order to the achieve my goals. Unfortunately, it still did not achieve the critical tone that is needed to be a hijacked. Instead the image just seemed to be another reiteration of the meme.
From this experience I learned that in order to visual critique and hijack coded memes and racist imagery, it must not incorporate the images. In order to hijack the meme, I must create a counter meme that educates and exposes those who use it for malicious means or figure out another way to bring hijack a coded meme.  I also learned how to use Gimp for this project and have that skill under my belt. 

It’s A Match! – Hijacking the Romanticization of Ideologies

Satya_and_Che Ayn_and_Pamela Brian_and_PeterBen_and_Bernie
A meme was the best source to visually hijack for me. In Daniel Dennett’s Memes and the Exploitation of Imagination, he writes that “in a struggle for attention, the best ideas win, according to the principle of the survival of the fittest, which ruthlessly winnows out the banal, the unimaginative, the false”. The best ideas are the most creative, pretty, and dynamic. The best ideas are also visually appealing. The best ideas are memes (sometimes). A meme is a cultural unit – or ideas that leap from brain to brain. And only the most visually enticing ones last as memorable units. I personally agree with another statement made by Dennett: “I don’t know about you, but I am not initially attracted by the idea of my brain as a sort of dung-heap in which the larvae of other people’s ideas renew themselves, before sending out copies of themselves in an informational Diaspora.”. The information in our brains is not really our own but what is adapted from units in other people’s brains. We collect the best ideas from the brains around us. Then we replicate them to sustain ideas. My visual hijack shows how we are influenced by ideologies. I used a meme as my medium in order to replicate my own message.
 
I began a campaign using one that already existed: “It’s a Match” from Tinder. There are various humorous ones like the relatable girl matching with food. My first prototype had Che Guevara with a white woman. My idea was to show that Che’s revolutionary views are idealized by young people today. The romanticization is represented by the millennial branding of Tinder. The use of the image of the white woman seemed wrong, though. After critique from our Cultural Hijack class, I figured maybe this woman wouldn’t be someone to romanticize Che. Maybe this woman would idealize someone like Ayn Rand. A Che-match would be more of someone like a Ben or a Satya. Someone a little hyper-masculine yet progressive. I decided to use Bernie Sanders in a variation of the original prototype. However, after some critique, I didn’t want to alienate and antagonize the left. I found images of Ayn Rand and Peter Thiel for more variations of the original prototype. In total there are 4 variations, but I had hoped to create more – one with Nietzsche and another with Milton Friedman.
 
My overall goal with the images was to critique the romanticization of ideologies. It is easy for people, including myself, to idealize figures and ideas. Antonio Gramsci suggests that “Each man, finally, outside his professional activity, carries on some form of intellectual activity, that is, he is a ‘philosopher,’ an artist, a man of taste, he participates in a particular conception of the world, has a conscious line of moral conduct, and therefore contributes to sustain a conception of the world or to modify it, that is, to bring into being new modes of thought.”. Everyone can think critically about the world in whatever way they want to. But everyone is also influenced, to some extent, by organized ideas. Ideas can always be recycled, reevaluated, and replicated. Gramsci states that each person is a philosopher participating in a particular conception of the world. But what are we ultimately influenced by? Who is influencing our views?
 
After creating the final drafts, I bought adhesive paper and printed them out as stickers. I handed a few to all of my friends and put some up in various places on campus. Sadly, one of the stickers I’d placed in Heimbold was taken down prior to a campus event in the space. Aa few of my stickers popped up on social media (like Snapchat) and some friends even said they’d seen them around. Overall as a hijack, I think it was a success because it had people laughing. The Bernie sticker seemed to be the most popular. My image didn’t hijack the original image (the It’s a Match meme) but it did use it as a medium for self-critique.

A Previously Invisible Lesbian Calendar

For my visual hijack I hijacked typical heteronormative pictures from the 50’s-70’s and made them queer by replacing the straight couples with lesbian couples. I choose pictures from these time periods that I thought encapsulated the time frame best. I was seeking to hijack the kinds of pictures that first come to mind when one thinks about straight couples from these time periods. I wanted to hijack these pictures because I feel as though there is little to no representation of lesbian couples especially in the 50’s and so on in the 60’s and 70’s. I think it’s very important to have representation, it’s not like lesbian couples did not exist then, but without representation and evidence we are erasing them. In the beginning of my project I was working with the famous V-Day kiss picture. I thought this was a perfect all encompassing image. I photoshopped an image of a women kissing to the original photo. Copy of df In crit, a discussion of the original picture being connected to sexual assault came up and imagine immediately became unuseable. If one person has that connotation then others will too and I do not want my hijacked imagine that is supposed to present love and celebration to be linked to sexual assault. During the same crit, the class and I brainstormed other possible ideas and from this, the idea of hijacking heteronormative pictures from the 50’s-70’s was born. A classmate also mentioned that I should check out the Sarah Lawrence College Archives for pictures of the faces that will be on the new images. I had conference with Angela the next day and we brainstormed even more and decided that I needed to look at A LOT of pictures from these time periods before I decide exactly which ones I want to hijack. From this conference the idea of a calendar was born. The symbol of the calendar is important to me. The idea of time passing and these women being there, still being here they have always been here. I love that the calendar is saying look! “Look at these couples, doing normal everyday things, they are being celebrated for being themselves.” After this conference I looked at probably a hundred different heteronormative images from the 50’s-70’s in order to get a clear picture of exactly what I wanted to hijack. I started editing prototypes to the final images. couple&bookscouple_bookscouple&booksI went to the Sarah Lawrence College Archives department and they let me look at the pictures they had from those time periods and more. I flagged the imagines I liked and they sent they to me as pdf’s a couple days later. Then I started making the calendar. I had a rough start in the beginning. I did not know exactly what I wanted the calendar to look like. I also spent a lot of time finding the dates for 1960. I wanted the calendar to hypothetically be from the year 1960. calendar_milkshake After further thought I decided I wanted the calendar to be use able. I continued editing many images in order to get the ones I liked best   After another crit in class I decided to redesign my calendar layout, and create a few more month themed imges. Ex; halloween and christmas. I included names for all the couples and the calendar itself has Christian,  Jewish, Hindu, Buddhist, and Islamic holidays for the year 2017-2018. I also decided to use color and picked a very distinct yellow. MarchF This is one of my finished calendar pages. I will be selling the calendars sometime in the next few weeks in Heimbold. By the middle of my project I realized that I was becoming so incredibly empowered by creating a calendar full of lesbian couples. That surprised me more than I expected. I was also surprised when I started to get better at Photoshop. And I started getting excited to edit my images and wanted to spend more and more time working with Photoshop so that my images would look better. In some of my images it is clear that the image has been messed with/edited but in others it is not as obvious. I did this purposely but also not at all. In the process of becoming better at photoshop I figured out how to blend pictures better and what tools could help camouflage the layering. But In some cases I liked how it looked when it was more obvious the picture had been messed with. Throughout the entire project I was influenced by Gramsci. He introduced the idea of hegemony, this was the first time I had heard of this concept.  “They do not know what they are doing, but they are nonetheless doing it” This quote spoke to me. It stirred up ideas of how back in these time periods it was normal to not see displays of gay and lesbian love. All of these “typical” images I hijacked were created because people thought that was how it was supposed to be, but they had no idea what they were feeding into! According to Gramsci hegemony is the only way to control an entire nation, politics is not enough. I loved the idea of how this is where we come in, to show the counter image and explain how they are brainwashed. The film “They Lived” influenced me as well, the idea that with my project I am giving people goggles to see what in the past they were not seeing. A quote of Dennett’s that stuck with me “survival of the culture is not the best of the best” this is one that reinforced my idea. Images of lesbian couples did not survive in the popular culture but that does not mean that the images that did survive are the best. This encouraged me to create the images that are the best of the best.
A Reworking of Aunt Jemima aunt-jemima-logo I first heard about the racist history of Aunt Jemima in Alwin Jones’ Black Life Matters lecture last year. This year, Komozi Woodward also brought up this history in his lecture. He explained that the advertising used was that of a ‘slave in a box’. After brainstorming a list of possible images, I settled on Aunt Jemima. Originally, I wanted to remove the smile and pearl earring, swap in a wig, and change the coloring of her face so it wouldn’t look so light and glowy. The lighting made her appear like she was wearing makeup. I wanted to alter the image to create one more closely aligned with the realities of slavery. My second idea was to take an image of Georgina, one of the lead characters from Get Out, and make that the new Aunt Jemima image. This option felt like the easy way out, the way to get around using Photoshop, a program I had no previous experience with, so instead I returned to my first idea. I spent hours trying to learn the tools of Photoshop and apply them to my photo. I would often try to use a tool and the result would look nothing like the tutorial I had learned it from. I emailed the image to myself but lost layers of the photo in the process. I eventually learned from a friend that I needed a flash drive and I needed to save the image as a tiff. 1 The next class was coming up quickly and I did not have an image I was satisfied with. I had a vision in my head, but I could not figure out how to make my idea appear on my computer screen. Two days before this class met again, I realized that if I were to go through with my first idea, I would be creating an image that already exists. I would be exchanging Aunt Jemima with the image of slavery that you would find in a Black history textbook. Both my original and second ideas relied on a pre-existing image. I realized my first idea was just another easy way out. At this point, I had removed the pearl earrings, and all of Aunt Jemima’s hair (in preparation for a wig). I had eased some of the ‘smile lines’ and turned the image into Black and White. I planned to leave my image as is and ask for assistance from the class. I saw the current version of my image as pure trash. In fact, I almost deleted it before class. Shockingly, I received overwhelming amounts of praise from the class, so I made some minor changes, and then decided it was final. I printed the image onto sticker paper and cut them out by hand with scissors. I then went to a few different stores including CVS, True Value Drugs, and ACME. I couldn’t find Aunt Jermima products at the first two, but I placed the stickers over the original Aunt Jermima images at ACME. Aunt Jermima’s image is on two different spots on the box of the pancake mix. My sticker was a bit too small for one of the spots but fit perfectly on the other spot. 2     I was heavily inspired by Shephard Fairey’s Sticker Art and Mark Vallen’s critique of Shephard Fairey. Although I appreciated the replicability and accessibility of stickers that Fairey described, I lost respect for him after reading Vallen’s critique. My impression was that Fairey was quite self-absorbed. Vallen described that after Fairey was busted for plagiarism of a White Panther image, Fairey made a joke about it and said “I wish all my busts ended that well” (Vallen, 6). Although Fairey alters images to create something new, he begins with a pre-existing image. Fairey for example, took an image advocating for the liberation of Puerto Rico, took in out of the context of Puerto Rico and into the context of the Obey slogan. This isn’t inherently plagiarism. This is similar to what I did in altering the image of Aunt Jemima. However, Fairey does not give credit to any of the original artists. Fairey’s view on race and graffiti culture also rubbed me the wrong way. “I was somehow convinced graffiti was something you had to be born into, like a Black or Hispanic mafia” (Fairey, 2). The use of the term mafia seems like an insult. Fairey fails to mention that graffiti is a part of Hip-Hop culture which is a piece of Black and Hispanic culture. If he is going to engage in graffiti culture, which some would argue he should not be doing at all, then he must understand where that culture comes from. Also, it makes sense that he does not feel like he will fit into this culture, because it is not his. I hijacked an image that mocked the conditions of slavery. I did not use humor in my image, because the original image used humor and it did not work. It is what made the image so offensive. Another reason I rejected my original idea was because the image of slavery is shown so often that individuals become desensitized to it. It is also not my place to put that trauma on display. Additionally, my final image, which peers described as ‘ghostly’, better communicated my message which was that individuals need to re-think the implications of Aunt Jemima. The ghostly nature drew on inspiration from Get Out, but did not steal a pre-existing image. Throughout this project, I had to figure out which of my ideas would communicate my message while maintaining originality.

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Healing Hands

adding color and fonts       When the project was assigned I struggled to come up with a theme for the collage.  however, my friends suggested I embrace the Halloween season and explore witches! Immediately nuns stood out as their polar opposite. The further I looked into the images of both groups I began to note the similarities between them. A group of women whether it be an order or a coven, performing sacraments or rituals. They both have a strong belief system in magic and religion. At the core of both demographics is the themes of sisterhood!      
choosing images

choosing images

    initially, it was very difficult to decide which images would best illustrate the similarities between the two. I chose to not separate them but rather interweave the images of both groups.  
setting them in place

setting them in place

  the diagonal line shows artifacts that they both share. A tarot card vs a prayer card or an amulet vs a rosary. And I noted that all the images had one thing in common — their hands! Each group places particular emphasis on the power of hands. The hands are used for spells, prayer, meditation, and blessing.    
adding color and fonts

adding color and fonts

  Finally, after adding color to the project I wanted to depict that not all witches are evil and not all nuns are holy and vice versa and that each has faith in their own magic!  

Anti-Violence

Screen Shot 2017-10-10 at 12.19.04 AM I knew at the beginning that I wanted to have my collage be about this new headspace I feel that I’m in right now. After a serious car accident in January that forced me to take a semester off, and now that I’m back in New York after spending so much time immobile in Texas, I feel that my feeling about being in New York is different, and I think that when I explain my car accident to my friends I tend to have a somewhat lighthearted or even humorous slant to not bring the mood down. I wanted a car to be at the center of this, and so initially I cut out a photo of a silver Prius in Photoshop, because that was the car we were hit in.     IMG_5975 Then, I took photos that I had saved from my Snapchat since the beginning of the year as well as downloading the photo of the wheelchair and the woman using the walker from the internet. I played around with where I wanted to place these,and eventually placed them into what ended up feeling like nodules around the center car, moving some pieces that I felt were important to be in motion, like the car, the woman using the walker, and the statue from the library. After my conference with Angela, I realized how I had separated all of the elements, and wanted to increase the size of individual pieces and change colors to make the collage make the viewer feel the dichotomy between the violence of the car crash with the familiarity of the art pieces from on campus, Mr. Softee, and the snow (none of which I can access while home in Texas). I initially enlarged my face in the corner.   Screen Shot 2017-10-09 at 2.31.45 PM After some more photo editing where I changed the colors and edited some of the photos, I think that the piece came together in its cohesion. I also repeated the photo that says “Cliffs of Depression” in the background to add to the business and make it feel more connected to the rest of the piece.   Screen Shot 2017-10-09 at 11.10.46 PM I decided to name this collage anti-violence, which is also one of the text blocks in the collage, because that was a term I put in a poem I wrote, and I think that it really represents the third space I’m trying to evoke. While this violent car crash and broken leg did happen to me and are on my mind, I’m also still living in a world of art and sweet things, which makes for a strange mental state. I think that I could still improve this collage by making the pieces from the library more clear in what they are to a person looking at the piece who has not been to Sarah Lawrence or someone who doesn’t remember the pieces of art in the library. I also think that while I tried to clear up the colors and use that to make the piece more cohesive, I think I fell short in that regard. Overall though, I am proud of how this piece turned out.   Screen Shot 2017-10-10 at 12.19.04 AM

Virtue and Vice

Finished Realized Collage

Finished Realized Collage

 

My collage began with a brainstorm of words and associations, held together by the single narrative of vice and virtue. Having just finished the Odyssey in my literature seminar, I was struck by the physical and psychological pleasures and seductions the narrative protagonist Odysseus had to temper himself against to make it back home after ten long years of war, and another ten years spent as a vagabond on the sea. While a handful of the seductions he has to overcome are supernatural, many of the “vices” Odysseus must ward himself against are almost impossible to overcome, simply because he is human. There were many personal lessons I could distill from reading the story of Odysseus and his battle homeward, as well as the the internal struggle that sometimes proved even harder than whatever his divine antagonists could cook up. With this in mind, I set off to make a collage to capture my interests in Greek myth, modern graphic design, vice, virtue, and the journey from adolescence into adulthood.

 
Initial Brainstorming and Layout sketches

Initial Brainstorming and Layout sketches

After brainstorming, I went in search of iconography and inspiration to guide the tone and mood of the collage. Creating a “third space” was not an easy task, and creating a specific tone and unique texture evolved constantly at every step in the collage process. Beyond just the images I selected for the collage, I had to be very careful about position and relationships. Questions such as: where do I want my audience to focus on? what elements of the collage am I naturally drawn to? what doesn’t look right? continually popped into my head. Many images or changed or discarded, and one of the hardest parts of this assignment was finding the correct typography to convey the tone I was seeking. Perusing through Google Fonts, some of there selection was either too comical or didn’t add to the atmosphere of the piece. Or worse, I would gather together a collection of fonts that practically looked the same. I found that I could spend hours browsing images and fonts online, but until I took the leap forward and threw the paint on the wall, I wouldn’t know if my design decisions would stick or not. Needless to stay, creating a collage was an exhaustive effort that felt even more meticulous than my self portrait. However, I also recognized after brainstorming that as long as I held onto the essence of my collage, the elements and imagery would naturally insert or subtract itself. The creation of the collage itself guiding my artistic selection.

 
Background: Topographical Lines with Cyan Purple Gradient

Background: Topographical Lines with Cyan Purple Gradient

Central Images And Color Palette

Central Images And Color Palette

                               

There was a host of digital and graphic icons and imagery I drew inspiration from. Since Robert Rauschenberg, collage has only been aided by the advance of digital imaging and processing. While I didn’t have very many fancy applications at my hands besides Photoshop, p5.js is a very robust drawing program that allowed me to edit, translate, rotate, scale, and manipulate in many other fashions the images i inserted into my digital canvas. After creating this collage, I come away with an even greater appreciation for the subtle art of position and placement. For example, I struggled as a beginning collage artist diversifying the placement of squares which gave my collage a very rigid and structured look. I can say I spent as much time thinking about where I was going to place and translate an image on the canvas as I did coding that translation, if not more. Even still using a great deal of squares and rectangles, I think I begun to achieve some diversity and nuance in the drawing the audiences’ attention to specific portions of the collage.

  reduce text

If there is one part of my collage I can latch onto and say that I am happy with, I would argue I am very happy with the color scheme and palette I was able to achieve. I love working with conflicting, opposite, and opposing colors, and in my brainstorm I was latched onto the idea of a gradient. While that original gradient changed in some dimensions, I really fell in love with the background I created using a topographical map and an overlay of color. While I sometimes felt the ideas of vice and virtue I was playing with didn’t always shine through, the highly pigmented color palette and hues cinch the collage together and keep the viewer constantly searching for information and creating inferences from association.

collage image

My creation of this collage comes from my own appreciation for the story of Homer’s Odyssey, my love fro graphic design, strong color palettes, and my own musings about mortal temptation. While not directly hitting the bullseye, I think I landed somewhere close.

The L Words

The L Words I’ve made many collages in my life. I’ve always enjoyed cutting out images from magazines or flyers, taping them to the lid of a shoebox and finding satisfaction in the collection of visuals. Making collages always felt very personal, I was unknowingly trying to represent a part of myself through the images I was cutting and pasting. As a student of media, my life has been a path woven together by the television and films I’ve consumed. I’ve always looked to digital story telling to inform my own narrative. Out of the hundreds of series’ and films I have watched throughout my life, nothing has made as big of an impact on me as Showtime’s The L Word. This is not a unique narrative; many people attribute The L Word to their own coming out stories, as many people, like myself, need references when beginning their road to self-discovery.
Initial plans

Initial sketch

Graphics sketch

Graphics sketch

Considering the fact that The L Word (2004-2009) was and remains to be the only American television series with a cast of lesbian characters, it has played an enormous role in the lesbian community. Though I cherish The L Word, I also find extreme disappointment in the fact that this affection I hold towards the show stems from the reality that it is the only one of its kind.
Initial layout

Initial layout

My collage is simple. I’ve included portraits of the main characters, symbols of the central themes, and recognizable sounds and dialogue from the series.   I’ve approached the aesthetic with an early 2000’s lens to mimic the visuals found in The L Word.  My collage reads as obvious and straight forward because unfortunately, in 2017, this is the extent of lesbian representation on television. I wanted to highlight the absurdity in the fact that this is all there is. These few women, these representations of the “l words”, are the only ones the lesbian community has to identify with on television. These women, these terms, hold so much meaning because of their extreme rarity in media. I juxtaposed the smiling faces of The L Word cast members with an image of traditional lesbian representation on television. So often do we find queer representations of women through the male gaze, something The L Word addresses and successfully avoids. I also emphasized lesbian hashtags, a concept that both unites and devalues.
Traditional representations

Traditional representations

Throughout this process, I’ve found the creative elements, the selecting of sounds and images to be very straightforward and satisfying, while the construction of the collage itself has been more of a challenge. As this is the first project I’ve attempted to code without a direct reference, I’ve struggled with taking the tools I’ve learned through the readings and in class exercises and putting them to use without an outline. While this has been a struggle, it has also been a great learning experience. I’ve had to exercise problem-solving strategies, spending time testing different methods to reach my end goal.
Flag by vertex drawing

Flag by vertex drawing

Though I managed to solve most of the issues that arose with coding this piece, I have yet to be able to get rotations to work. I was unable to get the three animated elements to follow a center rotation. Every time I tested different rotation examples, my entire collage rotated along with the element I was trying to isolate. This is something I hope to address in class.
Issues with rotation

Issues with rotation

The L Words is a collage I’ve made to showcase the few lesbians on television, both in disappointment for their lack of company and deep appreciation for their existence.
The L Words

The L Words

Secret Garden

Start of Collage

Start of Collage

Failed collage attempt

Failed collage attempt

The Finished Collage

The Finished Collage

This collage piece was mostly focused on me trying to get a lot of elements from different sources and try to get them to look as natural as possible together. Except for the phone which was intentionally made to be somewhat ethereal looking, I think That everything meshes together pretty nicely. While originally this piece was supposed to be a critique of people critiquing technology, it morphed into something that’s about death and ascension. While overall I believe that I did a pretty good job with this piece, I feel that I could have tried to figure out a better use of text for the collage. I think that the use of lots of connected semi translucent triangles gives the collage a sort of low-poly aesthetic which mixes nicely with the snake. Also, I’m very happy with the way the yellow light beam is synced up with the ladder of the man in the iPhone. One of the artists that I was most inspired by with this piece is Magritte who creates very surreal, uncanny paintings. I believe that the man on a ladder in the iPhone somewhat resembles some of the motifs he uses.

A Hedgehog Goes on a Walk in a Big Forest

Screenshot from 2017-10-09 21-05-00

Once upon a time, there was a Hedgehog who wanted to go on a walk.

Why did the Hedgehog want to go on a walk? He didn’t really have a reason.

It’s just what the Hedgehog wanted to do for as long as he could remember.

And so, he set out to walk, perhaps to learn something, perhaps to find his perfect forest.

Screenshot from 2017-10-09 21-10-59

The Hedgehog first walked through the forest he grew up in.

The familiar trees were as beautiful as ever, but the Hedgehog kept walking anyway.

c

The old forest gave way to a new one, filled with trees the Hedgehog has never seen before.

This forest seemed so big, and so amazing.

But it was not quite what the Hedgehog hoped it would be.

So the Hedgehog decided to keep walking.

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Soon, the Hedgehog found himself in a yet another forest.

“The trees in this forest are similar to the trees back at home,” the Hedgehog thought.

Would this be a good place for the Hedgehog to be?

Only time will tell.

download

This is a small planet, filled only with places the Hedgehog is familiar with.

The Forest Planet is divided into three parts, each populated by beautiful trees from every forest the Hedgehog has seen. As the Hedgehog continues to walk in search of something, this small planet is there to keep all the memories of every forest he has seen.

When the Hedgehog revisits one of those places on the Forest Planet, he recalls a familiar thought he had while he lived there, familiar sounds of each forest play, and out in the distance, the fog seems to form a mirage that makes the forest seem even closer to reality than it already is.

While this project does not share a lot thematically with Richard Hamilton’s work, his collages were my main inspiration. I really enjoyed the way “Just what is it that makes today’s homes so different, so appealing?” blends together textures and cutouts of various objects and people to create a very coherent room.

In my collage, I tried to achieve a similar effect by combining colored polygons that make up the world with various images to create the little planet.

download (2)

I really enjoyed creating the polygons that make up the planet and the sky. To make it easier to visualize the parts, I created a small tool that showed me the necessary x and y coordinates to make the shape fit what I have in mind.

My favorite part, however, was creating the sky.

landscape

I’m very pleased with how this effect turned out, and I hope I will be able to use it in the future. To create it, I found a picture of a landscape, and used actual colors from it. I made each polygon of the sky slightly transparent, so that color from the one behind it bled through. I also made each polygon “rough” to give the sky a bit of a handmade feeling, as if I cut out a bunch of pieces of colored paper to create the sky.

Danger Zone

What is finished (for now)

My first instinct with this assignment was to write “this is a collage” and turn that in, in true Rauschenberg style. But then I decided to give it a shot and see what I could come up with. The assignment came right after the country’s biggest modern mass shooting in Las Vegas, so I was thinking about gun control and mass shootings and terrorism and things, and it made me consider fear and danger, and that was the theme I went with.

Playing around with some ideas

It’s a weird time to be an American. I suppose it’s kind of a weird time to be anyone or anything because we have so much stuff. We have more information at our fingertips than ever. Technology is insane. Politics are absurd. But we still have time to think about Kim Kardashian’s butt? When I think about fear, this week I’ve thought about coding (haha). And assignments, and the future, and relationships, and money, and and and++. Then I thought about what other people are afraid of and how big of a spectrum that is. People are afraid of spiders sometimes, and sometimes they’re afraid of nuclear warfare. There’s so many different tiers too. I suppose it’s all psychological, but in a sense I think they’re a difference between being afraid of a constant thing like a spider, and being afraid of the dangers of cultural appropriation (hence, Kim K’s butt).   There’s a lot going on in my piece, because there’s a lot to be afraid of. However, there are images on there that people shouldn’t be afraid of or think are dangerous. But that points out a larger discussion about who’s to say who can be afraid of what?

Hole in the Sky

Already having been behind in Art from Code, I realized that my outlook towards this assignment stipulated an effective strategy. After talking with some people, I decided to try to capture a poem that I had already written in the form of a collage. Poetry naturally contains a lot of contradictory and sometimes overlapping images, motifs, and concepts. I first started by simply gathering all my images, taking suggestions from my poem, and putting them down on a canvas.
Screen Shot 2017-10-07 at 10.56.52 PM

Using push(), pop(), and translate() to simply get images down on the canvas.

I then moved some of the images around to be more compositionally pleasing, and tried to incorporate more of the requirements to the prompt by utilizing the rotate methods and also starting to add text from the poem – focusing on reiterating the central symbols. The translate method was extremely useful in helping me work through revisions as I changed the placement of images.
adding rotation

adding rotation and text from the poem

After adding some more text, I began to use the arrow shown in Chapter 3 of Make as it is an example of a vertex drawing.
adding arrows

adding arrows

I quickly realized that arrows were not actually what I wanted. When I think of collage, or my experiences with collage, I am reminded heavily of using tape. So I decided to make several ‘tape’ pieces. But I think playing with the alpha channel of each of these pieces of tape was fun. The tape elements remain fixed in the canvas, whereas the three images behind it are animated to center-rotate. I think the fact that these pieces of tape remain fixed is a cool reference to antiquated practices of collage.
pieces of tape

pieces of tape

I added the sound elements of: waves breaking, the apollo moon landing, and a dog howling. I also applied the collage idea to my usage of sound, by having the sounds all play at once, but at different relative volumes, if the mouse is clicked. Poems are sort of like dreams or are a literary method where several related images are interwoven. I think collage might conceptually allow something similar to happen. For reference, the inspirational poem can be found here. In retrospect, I think I would have liked to learn how to resize images within the p5.js library itself, if possible. Making a collage is difficult; it is hard to make the images cohere or speak to one another. My final result does not satiate my own expectations. While it contains vector graphics, sound, rotation, animated rotation, text, colors (though only within a contained palette), and fonts, this piece seems still too disorganized for me. And I am afraid that it may not be very accessible to others.

Gabe Eng-Collage Promt

I started with the idea of commenting on the role of wealth and attention in society. But after a while I realized my concept kept coming back to social media.  Obviously social media is a catch grab for attention but it also has defined modern society and younger generations.  Social media, along with the development of technology in itself, has redeveloped the way we interact and communicate with each other.  So for my collage, I wanted to emphasize that point, but also the notion that it does more harm than good.  I don’t necessarily believe in that but it is certainly a reoccurring theory. Screen Shot 2017-10-09 at 10.04.45 PM   I thought about complimenting my collage with an image when I first got the assignment.  I thought it would be interesting to use an iphone as the complement and have the collage on its screen but I didn’t think that would be the most creative.  Instead I added an individual so I could structure it to look as if the collage is almost consisting of thoughts in a persons head. This is why the face is cut off half way and directed at the bottom of the picture.   Screen Shot 2017-10-09 at 10.02.14 PM   Half way through, I thought it would make sense to humanize the individual a little more, have him realize the work above his face.  With the dialogue, I used them almost as other images to add to the code to describe social media. I then had the idea of separating some pictures from the others.  I wanted to do this to display how people believe we lose certain skills and valuable traits to smartphones. With the images being separate from the larger thought(collage), I wanted it to look as if the pictures were vanishing from the mind.  Those pictures consisted of activity, communication, literature, etc., since those are the things some believe are lost due to this technology era.   Screen Shot 2017-10-09 at 10.01.27 PM What my final piece illustrates is the ideas formulated throughout this post.  The collage is apart of the individuals mind. It highlights the need for attention, followers, and the consequences of social media.  The earplugs and picture of the female sitting alone represents the idea that phones cause isolation and lead to individuals plugging off the world. The images on the corner represent the fleeting values before phones and social media took over.  I tried to tint them and make them transparent so that they actually look like they’re vanishing from the page. As for my own belief on the matter, I do think we have lost something valuable from smartphones.  I do believe individuals are less social, less polite, and more concerned about attention and self image.  Is it lost forever? Maybe, maybe not.  On the other hand, technology and social media has done more in providing us information than we could have ever imagined.  Life is a little simpler because of it, and now advancement is happening at a greater and greater rate.

Self-Portrait

annie_self_portrait0-17        annie_self_portrait0-13

When I began working on this assignment, I wanted to create a dynamic and interactive image that reflected a part of my personality while taking inspiration from Paul Klee. I noticed that in Klee’s self-portrait, his face is divided into geometric pieces of different shapes and colors. In my self portrait, I tried to echo that fragmentation using the arc() function. I created a face of different colors out of quarter circles. The division of a face into four sections seems to allude to facets of one’s personality by depicting them abstractly. I made the eyes with ellipses and then used a rectangles to form the neck and the mouth. The mouth is divided horizontally into two separate rectangles, which is an allusion to the way that Klee divided his own mouth into two tiny rectangles.

  annie_self_portrait0-7     annie_self_portrait0-2 Initially, I considered creating a few sets of palettes out of chosen colors to depict different moods and emotions, but decided to experiment with randomness instead after considering the tedium of compiling upwards of twenty variables for different colors in the different palettes. Instead, I declared six random color variables and assigned them to different shapes. All the shapes are different colors except for the facial features. I wanted to keep the facial features one color to keep them somewhat stable throughout the iterations of the image. I used the mousePressed() function to reassign those variables to different random colors. annie_self_portrait0-21       annie_self_portrait0-14 I was pleasantly surprised by the interesting palettes the random color variables created. I wasn’t expecting the image’s colors to look as cohesive as frequently as they do. For this post, I took about thirty screenshots and included my favorite ones. The colors definitely work to affect the mood and personality of the face. To me, the quarter circles represent different areas of my psyche circling through different processes and emotions as the colors change. I’m glad that I chose not to use preset palettes for different moods, because I think that ultimately would have led to simpler expressions of emotions (a blue palette for sadness, a red palette for anger, etc.) In reality, human beings don’t usually experience one emotion at a time – we experience multiple emotions across an array of actions and reactions.

annie_self_portrait0-11        annie_self_portrait0-5

After speaking with Angela in conference, I decided to further diversify the expressions of the iterations by adding randomness to the dimensions of the mouth and eyes. I made a few more variables for width and height of the eye ellipses so that the eyes could change expressions. The mouth was a little more tricky, because the usual rectMode controls the upper left corner of the rectangle along with the width and the height, which meant that the left hand mouth rectangle didn’t stay aligned with the center of the image and connected to the other mouth rectangle. I changed to the rectMode(CORNERS), which controls the upper left hand corner and the opposite lower right hand corner. This allowed me to keep the inner side of both rectangles at the same x value throughout the iterations.  

Self-Portrait

I started this project by trying to build a semi-realistic representation of my facial structure. But, after some experimentation I decided that a simple representation would serve the same purpose without the mess of ellipses and triangles. The square with eyes and a mouth portrays the “idea” of a face while also providing a straightforward foundation I could build on.
sketch(5)

Initial Version, no added Features

Next, I tried to add character with hair and a beard. I may not be able to grow decent facial hair, but through the power of artistic license my portrait can.
sketch(6)

Template Version

A regular portrait captures a person or persons in one instant, and preserves that image unchanged by time. My portrait falls behind in terms of accuracy, but is possess an advantage in its ability to change. Instead of portraying an instant, my portrait  displays me for the next forty years or so (provided I don’t shave or cut my hair). sketch(6) sketch(2) sketch(3) sketch(4) In essence, my self-portrait is an attempt to combine the ideas of both my face and time into one dynamic image.

Self-Portrait

Gabrielle Gonzalez, Self-Portrait

Gabrielle Gonzalez, Self-Portrait

Gabrielle Gonzalez, Self-Portrait

Gabrielle Gonzalez, Self-Portrait

  When I began this project I was unclear about how I wanted to represent myself. As I started the coding I realized I wanted to use unrealistic colors rather than conventional skin tones. Initially the hair was a basic arc but later I decided to add the curls to frame my face. I added the small white freckles because their are very unnoticeable freckles under my eyes. Finally my favorite part of this was the eyes and mouth, they move to show a wide range of emotions. They can show shock, indifference or, anger. I really enjoyed playing around with the interactive features and getting a better sense of the canvas.       Gabrielle Gonzalez, Self-Portrait ggg    

Self-Portrait

Me, as seen through a pile of windows

Me, as seen through a pile of windows

Does my self-portrait capture me? Who knows. I feel like a portrait drawn by another person and a self-portrait are entirely different things. While a portrait by a third party captures your physical appearance, it may not necessarily capture your mental state. A self-portrait, though, is capable of capturing what goes on in the artist’s head. With that in mind, I knew from the start that I wouldn’t be capturing what I see in the mirror. So, what am I supposed to be? How do I see myself? How do I put that on a canvas?    
Different meetings, different colors

Different places, different colors

Different windows create a different version of "me"

Different windows create different versions of “me”

I started with trying to capture an important part of my life – my relationship with technology. I love computers. They enabled pretty much every single opportunity I got in my life. No matter what interest I pursue, I will at some point be looking at a computer screen while doing so. To capture that, I went with the metaphor of an operating system desktop, and some of the apps that I use on a daily basis. While the operating system itself is cold – the wallpaper and the windows are using grey and blue colors – the content I make is bright and active. The images I make, the code I write, the files that I work with, those are the things that I chose to define me.    
Me minus me in the mirror

My face, minus what I saw in the mirror

When I started work on this project, I first created the image behind the windows. My glasses and my headphones. Parts of my face that I can see without having to look in the mirror. By choosing to showcase just these two elements, I wanted to give a sort of a “first person” perspective to the viewer.
Who

The image does not stay the same.

Between the three different types of windows, and the ability to move them, I spent some time working on implementing them all. The biggest challenge for me ended up trying to balance my desire for this project to always produce a unique result each time it’s opened, while also still maintaining its personality – the colors, and the unique glimpse of “me” that each window shows. At the same time, I also tried to offer a degree of interactivity – windows can be dragged and rearranged, to produce a different portrait.    
Drag windows to change things

Drag windows to change things