Author Archives: Moyna Ghosh

Conference: A Way To Be Together Again

Title Sequence A Way To Be Together Again is a project that I hope achieves what the name suggests. My grandparents on my maternal side are no longer alive. I was really, really close to them and affectionately called them Nanu and Dadubhai. There’s definitely a void that I feel (and I think also my family feels) without their presence anymore. This project is my way to link up my family again.   Nanu in Glen Harbor I started this project by choosing old photos of my family. I’d found them in a large black safe in my family’s flat in Ballygunge, Kolkata in the summer of 2015. Nanu was still alive at the time. The photos were all small and square sized. The only way to keep them with me, so that I could peruse them whenever I wished, was to take photos of the photographs. Up until now I’d just go through my photos and look at them.   Dadubhai in Haridwar For example, I placed a background of the Glen Island Harbor Club in New Rochelle (where I used to row for SLC) behind the first image of my grandmother (whom I call Nanu). The next image of my grandfather (whom I call Dadubhai) is placed in front of a sacred space in Haridwar, India. The third image is of my aunt (on the left) and my mom (on the right) and they’re placed above a road in Georgia (my home state). My mom on her bicycle is placed on a railroad track outside of Delhi, India. The next image of my grandmother (holding either my aunt or my mom) is placed in front of the sky seen outside of my home in Duluth, Georgia. My aunt holding my mom is placed in an image of the seating area Hartsfield-Jackson airport. The next image of my grandfather is placed in front of an image taken on the roads/mountains near Kotdwar, India. The following image of my aunt and my mom (wearing a shirt with two buttons opposed to my aunt’s three buttons) is placed near a river in Kotdwar, India. The final background photo is an image I took in Paris when I was sixteen. I placed all four members of the Das family in the front, where I think they belong.     Ma & Moni I used a lot of effects in After Effects to create the dreamlike state the photos exist in. I used Particle Systems, Particle World, Kaleidoscope, Digital Glitch, and Glow effects. I think these effects helped me achieve the dreamlike state. Furthermore, I used a lot of text effects to create the title and the end credits. I also decided to include trim path lines through the piece to make it dynamic. I think the trim paths lines I included are a little bit of a surprise. It’s not something the viewer would expect, I think. Ma near Delhi train tracks Nanu & (Ma or Moni) in Duluth, GA Ma & Moni in Hartsfield-Jackson Airport Dadubhai near Kotdwara Ma & Moni near Kotdwara I am proud of the project and wouldn’t really change it. I am so happy to have made something that is both personal and cultural in Digital Tools. Last Image Together End Sequence

Kinetic Text

Kinetic Text moyna_prompt2_1 This project combined text and fonts. While I struggled with creating a visual storyline, I do feel like I was able to play around with fonts and sizing. The text is a poem called “The Wine Dog uh Drools Over Froot Loops”, which I wrote my sophomore year in a class with Matthea Harvey. The poem is from a series of similar poems, with the “wine dog” as a central character. This poem has childhood references as well as a prevailing theme of speech disfluencies. Matthea’s class was called Checkpoint Fact/Lyric. A lot of our pieces had to be an extension of a fact. That’s why there are a lot of facts in the poem. This poem was central to connecting my speech disfluencies and loving my “ex-step mom’s” dog. The dog’s name is Vino. moyna_prompt2_2 I struggled with producing 4 minutes of movement—harmonious and opposing. I feel like in After Effects it’s easy to start using a bunch of effects rather than making your own content. I also struggled with rhythm and felt like I used the same text format throughout the piece. I also struggled to include a 3D effect—my laptop kept crashing After Effects and it wouldn’t load onto my screen.  moyna_prompt2_3 In the project itself, I had a lot of fun with fonts, color, and movement. First and foremost, the colors and solid layers had to be bright. I’m writing about two bright things: Vino the dog and our mutual love for Froot Loops. At first, I tried to implement a green and peach color palette within the Froot Loop text. I also tried to emphasize the speech disfluencies like um, uh, and like with a pink text and using the Engravers font. Furthermore, I learned some new effects like adding a wiggle and scaling just a part of the word. moyna_prompt2_4 I came out of this project with a few favorite fonts. While there are some really wacky ones out there, Arial Narrow Bold and Futura turned out to be my go-to’s. These fonts worked well with stroke and fill, whereas the wacky fonts were harder to work with stroke and fill.    I also wish there was a way to copy and paste more than a few words into a text box. It was nice that I could use different text boxes to create different animations on each word. However, it was harder when I had entire sentences where I felt the whole sentence needed an effect. It was tough fitting the stanza inside a text box so I had to split up each line into a different text box. moyna_prompt2_5 If I had had more time I would have tried really hard to pursue a visual storyline with this piece. I’m disappointed that I could not find a way to do that. I also want to stop using effects as a primary visual effect. The video also took an incredibly long time to render in ray-traced where it would just stop in the middle and not continue rendering. I changed the render setting back to Classic 3D. I left it rendering all night on ray-traced and it still did not completely render. However, once I set it back to Classic 3D it was able to do so.

Space Oddity

As an homage to a character in a few Bowie songs, I decided to use a throwback song from my own childhood—the cover of Peter Schilling’s “Major Tom” by Shiny Toy Guns. I downloaded a slower and wacky version of it online and edited it in Audacity. There is a loud track of it playing forward and a softer track of it playing backward. The audio sets a slow, relaxed, but hopeless tone to the piece. While I don’t want to prescribe any emotions to the viewer, I wanted this audio to be an expression of the astronaut character in my video. Image 5 I designed a moon in Blender, a 3D modeling software. I also animated the moon in blender inside a cube—with a lamp lighting it around the cube. This created a beam of light across the sphere’s surface, suggesting the moon’s different phases. Furthermore, I 3D modeled a spacecraft in Blender. I didn’t animate this in Blender but if I could go back and edit this project I would. I would render out its rotation in Blender and then remove the backgrounds of each render in Photoshop so that it could remain backgroundless in After Effects. The astronaut is a distorted image—I tried a lot of different filters in After Effects. I played around with Glow and Distortion. I did not include any effects on the spacecraft. But thinking back I think I would have tried to add more. I don’t think that I was extremely successful in maintaining the 3D imaging because it looks 2D in After Effects. I’ll definitely work on this in future projects. Image 4 I had a lot of fun playing with different effects. I added snowflakes, digital glitch, fractal noise, and a mirroring effect. Furthermore, in the background with opacities of 50% or less, there are lots of lines with trim paths, repeaters, loops, and kaleidoscope effects going on. I do think the piece is a bit busy but I like the haziness that was made through all the filters. Image 3 The astronaut character is stuck in outer space. He orbits, rotates, and floats around. His body has no control over the gravitational pull away from his ship back home. At the end of this video, he finds his way back to his spacecraft but we don’t know if he gets home. After his spacecraft leaves the scene of the distorted moon, the scene becomes black and less enchanting than the limbo the astronaut was stuck in. Image 2There are quite a few drafts I made of the prompt. The first couple of movies I rendered out were a little quiet in terms of the action. I wanted the moon to stay in it’s kind of off-center place. But if I could go back I think I’d try to make it pulse a bit to show the kind of gravitational pull towards the astronaut. In the future, I hope to work with more scene changes in After Effects. I don’t have to keep the same objects in every scene. Image 1Overall, I am happy with this project. I was able to characterize the astronaut a bit more in my final draft. This prompt was a great way for me to get into the nitty gritty with After Effects. I feel pretty confident in making 3 minute long videos. For my next project, I definitely want to play around with having different scenes. I also definitely still want to include 3D images imported from Blender. I also still want to use Photoshop to help create scenes in After Effects. Here is a link to the video.

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. 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.
good_moyna

good_moyna

The point of these was 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.  

Cultural HiJack: Steal This Space

  https://stealthisspace.wordpress.com/  Bezos Post header image  

Economic Memes for Anti-Hegemonic Teens:  “Steal This Space” is a combination of reclaiming space on the internet from hegemonic corporations and spreading communicative content, or memes. In the spirit of Abbie Hoffman’s Steal This Book, “Steal this Space” is my tool for survival in the hegemonies that tell us what to think. I mean that certain institutions have invaded their ways into our daily lives so much that we cannot live without it. Back in the 60s, an invasion of privacy might have been salesman making commission by going door to door. Right now, I feel that an invasion of privacy is seeing advertisements catered to my searches and tastes on Facebook and Instagram. The internet tells me what is stylish and what products are in. They tell me what opinions are popular and whose side I should probably take in political elections. The hegemony ensures that we do not even realize that they’re there. It can be something as essential as Facebook—a corporation that has essentialized its way in our lives—where they provide both relevant news and memes. In a way, Facebook can inject an ideological influence on its users through the combination of advertisements, news, and memes. The hegemony is depicted in John Carpenter’s 1988 film They Live. In the film, the hegemony is made out to be a group of aliens who disguise themselves as the elite. The real hegemony performs in similar manners—with the elite being able to make others obey. To break free from the norm of using Facebook, Twitter, and Reddit as meme-sources I created Steal this Space—an alternative meme platform.

In his manual, Hoffman assumed that “the reader already is ‘ideologically set,’ in that [they understand] corporate feudalism as the only robbery worthy of being called “crime,” for it is committed against the people as a whole.” As Hoffman wrote, “Smoking dope and hanging up Che’s picture is no more a commitment than drinking milk and collecting postage stamps.” This dialogue cannot be something kept indoors—it cannot be an outfit that you wear on Wednesdays every other week. This dialogue is more than a cultural unit, it is a combination of action and dialogue, which is not smoking dope and hanging up a bought poster of Che. To participate in revolutionary culture one must engage in both action and dialogue. Praxis validates a cultural movement through the engagement of dialogue and action. This subjective activity ultimately establishes the movement, and spreading of ideas. It is the philosophy of action that makes the object exist (Marx/Hegel/Gramsci).

This collection, in the tradition of Hoffman and anti-authoritarian free speech, is largely a collection of memes. This is my way of praxis. Praxis through memes brings in Daniel Dennett, a philosopher, and cognitive scientist. In Memes and the Exploitation of Imagination, Dennett suggests that evolution can be applicable to ideas as well as genes. Organic molecules are subject to evolution by natural selection— and “intuitively [ideas] are identifiable cultural units” (Dennett). Richard Dawkins, the author of The Selfish Gene, calls these units memes. Memes are units of cultural transmission, or imitation— “examples of memes are tunes, ideas, catch-phrases, clothes fashions, ways of making pots or of building arches” (Dawkins). If someone finds relatable content on the internet, they will pass it on to their friends or family. The idea begins to propagate so that more and more people will hear about the idea. Dennett uses the slogan “A scholar is just a library’s way of making another library”, which can be narrowed down to suggest that the purpose of information is to be passed along.

Currently, memes are simply the quick images we see on Facebook, Reddit, or Twitter. A meme can range from the corgibutts_official account on Instagram or Pepe the Frog memes on the alt-right abyss on 4chan. Angela Nagle, the author of Kill All Normies, states that “[The] culture of anonymity fostered an environment where the users went to air their darkest thoughts. Weird pornography, in-jokes, nerdish argot, gory images, suicidal, murderous and incestuous thoughts, racism and misogyny were characteristic of the environment created by this strange virtual experiment, but it was mostly funny memes” (Nagle 14). The internet holds spaces for anyone to share relatable content, whether you’re a Richard Spencer or Bernie Sanders supporter. Memes can be both relatable to some and not relatable to others. Sometimes this shareable, relatable content isn’t universally supported by users of the Internet. For example, internet audiences may feel personally attacked hurtful memes that trivialize and invalidate conservative or progressive ideologies. Memes can take on troll-like behavior, which trivializes serious matters for the sake of a shareable joke. Nagle cites Mikhail Bakhtin to explain what internet trolls do, “Carnival laughter is the laughter of all the people. Second, it is universal in scope; it is directed at all and everyone, including the carnival’s participants. The entire world is seen in its droll aspect, in its gay relativity. Third, this laughter is ambivalent; it is gay, triumphant, and at the same time mocking, deriding.” (Nagle 36). This seems to be an explanation for the hurtful and joking nature of trolls. Hurtful content may be spread faster as they may contain images and rhetoric that is shared due to shock. Free speech is necessary—but it must be understood that turning personal issues into a joke is harmful. There is a quote by comedian Aparna Nancherla that I stand by, “If identity politics bores you then perhaps yours aren’t up for debate”.

Nagle cites Gramsci, “Of all the Marxian and Marxoid schools of thought, Gramsci’s is perhaps the most influential today, placing media and culture at the center of political analysis and praxis in a mediated age after the decline of the old labour movement.” (Nagle 42). I agree— Gramsci’s theory of the hegemony is more prevalent than ever. Yet Nagle ultimately provides a criticism of both sides, suggesting, “The problem with the contemporary style of Tumblr-liberalism and a purely identitarian self-oriented progressivism that fermented in online subcultures and moved on to college campuses is that the very idea of winning people over through ideas now seems to anguish, offend and enrage this tragically stupefied shadow of the great movements of the left, like the one that began on campuses like Berkeley in 1964. Milo may be vanquished but not through a battle of ideas.” (Nagle 120). Nagle believes that there’s some sort of hysteria that halts dialogue—veering away from the spirit of counterculture movement. She calls out the toxicity of online culture, which can be a separate issue from identity politics. Twitter and Tumblr are just our means of communication, just as posters and guides were for Abbie Hoffman.

Antonio Gramcsi wrote in his Prison Notebooks 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”, or as Dennett would say to bring into being and spread cultural units (Gramsci). The age of industrialization and the standardization of education promoted people to engage in “so-called high culture in all fields of science and technology” (Gramsci). In these institutions people share a similar circle of ideas and memes—we are products of the culture that we consume. As I established earlier, we are susceptible to consuming any kind of information, especially attractive units of information like advertisements or celebrity fashions. To quote Dennett once more, he states, “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. It seems at first to rob my mind of its importance as an author and a critic. Who is in charge, according to this vision— we or our memes?”.

Steal This Space began with my desire to really learn Photoshop. I wanted to make memes and make them accessible to people not on Instagram or Facebook. I will always accept submissions at stealthisspace.memes@gmail.com.  

New Genres: Cultural Hijack – This Is No Fantasy (Jenny & Moyna)

3D model of a bed (made in Blender) ft. Jenny Holzer's "This is no Fantasy"

The 3D model of a bed (made in Blender) ft. Jenny Holzer’s “This is no Fantasy”

3D model of a bed (made in Blender) ft. Jenny Holzer's "This is no Fantasy"

3D model of a bed (made in Blender) ft. Jenny Holzer’s “This is no Fantasy” – final design

3D model of a bed (made in Blender) ft. Jenny Holzer's "This is no Fantasy"

3D model of a bed (made in Blender) ft. Jenny Holzer’s “This is no Fantasy”

Installation 1

Installation 1

Installation 3

Installation 2

Installation 2

Installation 3

 

The original idea was to put a bed in the middle of Heimbold. It was supposed to be a comfy and inviting bed to give people space if they needed to sleep. However, it was difficult to find a frame, mattress, and other bedroom furniture to make the installation. To amend this issue we decided to create a bed in Blender, a 3D modeling software. It was an entire scene including a lamp with light, the bed, and a photo frame of Jenny Holzer’s This is no Fantasy. We chose This is no Fantasy since sleep is hard to come by due to all the work students do to contribute to our society. THE HEGEMONY!!!! It’s not even a real bed anymore – it became a projection rather than a real bed. It’s a fantasy bed.

We decided to project the bed on a sheet but the sheet was too big for the size of the projection. It was pointed out that we should try using a pillowcase to stick with the bed theme. The pillowcase perfectly fit the size of the projection which kept it boxed in underneath the staircase. We decided to use a small, baby-sized projector to keep the space boxed in. The space became attainable because it’s something you can see but not touch – like sleep for college students. We put a rug under the pillowcase. In the projection, we used the texture of the rug as the floor and set up the rug to touch it. And we filled the small space under the stairs with prints of the texture. We also decided to take this multimedia idea further and bought jumbo cotton balls and created our own lampshade.

If we would have had more time and it was not taken down we would have made the space more “roomy” by putting books, socks, and slippers! Another idea would be to put a little light inside the lampshade. It was hard to remember to turn off the projector, the installation was really like taking care of a pet ;)

It was a wonderful experience to install and take care of a space hijack! It was also a collaborative project where the duties were split between two people, and creative ideas were shared and discussed, it was such a beautiful experience. The jumbo cotton balls were collectively our favorite part, it provided a feeling of comfort and coziness!    

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.

Systems Aesthetics: Corporate Bliss

George Washington - Mike Brondbjerg

George Washington – Mike Brondbjerg

 
Screen Shot 2017-05-12 at 12.02.43 PM

Thomas Jefferson – Mike Brondbjerg

Part 1 of the sketch

Part 1 of the sketch

Bliss with a quote by Robert McChesney

Bliss with a quote by Robert McChesney

The struggle of logos maximizing profit from the media and the Internet.

The struggle of logos maximizing profit from the media and the Internet.



Proposal: My Systems Aesthetic’s conference project has truly evolved. It began with some inspiration from Mike Brondbjerg, who created a project called Dead Presidents (http://www.kultur.design/portfolio/dead-presidents/) . He worked with portraits of old presidents and beautifully “distorted” their faces. In the beginning I didn’t really have an idea with what I wanted to do. Did I want to re-create Brondbjerg’s work? Upon our first conference project, I decided that I would need to convert original images into SVG images and then learn PShape. I created my first sketch with an SVG image of Homer Simpson and Friedrich Hayek. The Homer image was easy but the Hayek image was an actual portrait I wanted to use. I was inspired by Tim Wu’s book, The Attention Merchants. Tim Wu famously coined the term “net neutrality” which advocates free access of content to all Internet users. Within the depths and depths of content found on the Internet, such a stance is necessary. Tim Wu examines how private lives have been permeated by capitalism. The lack of space to breath from advertisements has encouraged people to stay less informed politically and diminished democratic participation. The evolution of the media of mass communications is primarily driven by technological innovation.Wu suggests that one of the first stages of grabbing attention came from newspapers, with the advertisements of Jules Chéret. Advertising brought me to my final project: company logos. I was also inspired by the television show Silicon Valley’s title sequence of Uber and Lyft struggling against each other.

  Digital technology has allowed humans to advance their freedom; however, capitalism limits this freedom. Robert McChesney, author of Digital Disconnect: How Capitalism Is Turning The Internet Against Democracy, compliments Wu’s book by examining how companies control the Internet. Through lobbying, the government has allowed a few companies to control and regulate the Internet for profit. Advertising traffic is monitored and sold in order to commercialize the Internet. For example, Facebook likes are monetized for advertisers. A quote from McChesney’s book prompted me to choose these specific companies: Apple, Amazon, Facebook, Microsoft, and Google. However, 4 logos were not enough to take up a sketch. I looked up other corporate and media influencers and found: Twitter, Walmart, Snapchat, BP, and HP. These companies all have the power to influence public opinion.

  After the election, I was extremely angry at the media – because I spend the night at the Javits Center expecting Hillary Clinton to win. As she was losing the monitors were showing some political talk show. A political elite, either Rachel Maddow or Nicholas Kristof, stated that average Americans would blame the media for Clinton’s loss. While there are many factors behind Trump’s election, that statement angered me greatly. Between the end of November and February I stopped checking my social media accounts and by association the news. I was completely unaware of Donald Trump’s antics, the latest memes, and shopping trends. It was a blissful time but inconvenient. I had no idea about the Russia scandal. I had little to no knowledge of the officials Trump was picking. People need to know what goes on and that means sacrificing attention to advertisements. The blending of factual content and advertising in the media makes it difficult to escape. The Internet is becoming a less regulated place, in which large companies can control traffic and dictate who can see what. It is best to be aware of it.

  This project serves to show the world I think companies have the potential to take over our general day-to-day activities.

  Post-Mortem:   I learned a new concept in Processing for this project: Bounce. I also learned how to upload images and logos into an array. The system behind my project is the rules behind allowing the logos to bounce off the sides of the sketch. I also played with frame count, which I had used a lot in Pre-Frontal. I added a quote by Robert McChesney because I thought it would mean something against Microsoft’s Bliss background. All of these companies are competing against one another to see who can influence people more, and then in turn gain profit. Furthermore, the beginning of the sketch contains the drag of the logos because I felt that it created a sort of a maze. Internet users are stuck between Facebook and Google and the conflict between who can grab your attention more.

  Next semester, I do hope to learn how to take high definition screen shots of my sketches so that the movies made in MPEG Streamclip aren’t blurry. I am proud of this project because I feel that it conveys how I feel about corporations and the media. The title of this piece is “Corporate Mess”, which I think captures the struggle of companies to maximize profit from users of the Internet.     

Blackspace: Astrophobia

IMG_0286

Me & my edited Blackspace Project



Kelsey at Projector Night

Kelsey at Blackspace



Sage walking by!

Sage walking by!



Projector Night audience

Blackspace Audience



Viewers

Viewers



Blackspace was modeled after our darkness theme, which prompted me to change my project. It was more or less the same – polygons bouncing off the sides of the sketch along to track by Fort Romeau. However, in one of our open studio classes, it was suggested that our original Blackspace project was only the prototype. The final project should be completely different.

In my original sketch, I was unhappy with the way the polygons bunched up at the top of the sketch. That was why I had created two separate films and put them together (one going forward and one in reversal). I found out why the polygons were bunching up at the top – it was the result of me expanding the radius to emerge off of the screen if the radius was over 50. While that was one of my favorite parts of the original sketch, I didn’t add to the final project. Rather than conveying the same anxiety of polygons expanding off the screen, I played around with the radius. The end result were sketches that looked like brushstrokes.

I also borrowed a concept from my System 2: the color wheel. I created more sketches, slightly different from the other. There was one with blue and orange. One with purple and yellow. One with red and blue. I created more variations of colors but only included a couple in the final video.

I like the idea of putting my sketch under the stairs but I don’t think it was dark enough to be considered a Blackspace project during our performance. I should have tried to find a switch that would turn off the hallway lights. I kind of wish that I had chosen an enclosed space to present my project rather than the hallway.

However, even the Blackspace installation was not my final project. It is no longer Astrophobia but Anamnesis. I love the idea of having audio but not the idea of using someone else’s audio. It’s hard finding rhythms and lyrics that I want to go with my piece. However, over winter break, my mother and uncle found old tapes of my grandmother singing classical Rabindrasangeet. She died last year in a car accident and since then I’ve always felt time is too short. There are still moments I want to have with her. Bobby made me start thinking of trying to emulate her in some of my sketches. During our Blackspace rehearsal and while Bobby was presenting, I was asked “Did anyone you know die recently?”. It was a question that really hit me. Since I was playing with time in Astrophobia by reversing and speeding up some of the videos, I decided to change the audio and use the brighter polygons. Here is a link to the final project: https://vimeo.com/214226762    

Systems Aesthetics: Pre-Frontal + Systems 1, 2, & 3

System 1
Folded and outlined paper

Folded and outlined paper

Natural 3-D shape from folds

Natural 3-D shape from folds

I am not particularly proud of system 1 and I felt that it did an injustice to Ron Resch’s amazing project. I simply folded a piece of paper a couple of times and hoped for the best. How could someone devote so much time to folding paper? I just noted how the folds were making the paper raised and 3D. Nonetheless, I am proud of System 2 and System 3 and consider it a much better development from System 1. After class, I was inspired to take it further by coloring the shapes in. I had big ideas with keeping the paper in it’s natural raised shape (like in image 2). I wanted to paint them in coordinated colors.

System 2
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Color Wheel 1

 
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All of the 6 color wheels on folded paper

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color wheel 2

System 2 was the origination of my color wheel theme, which I used for my final blackspace and projection night sketch. I was inspired by Grace’s System 1 project that focused on folded paper and color. It made me think about which colors complement each other and how colors can be a system. I felt that my system 1 did not go as far as Ron Resch’s did. I did not have as much time to sit and figure out different rules for my paper folding. I wish that I did because the different variations would have been really interesting. Rather than folding the paper further I decided to go off of my end result from system 1. The folds I had created resulted in triangular shapes, which reminded me of color wheel cones. So, I grabbed a box of colored pencils and began coloring each triangle fold. The triangular outlines along the edges were primary colors. The next row of outlines were the mixes of the primary colors. The next row were the mixes of the secondary, creating the tertiary colors. I did this for about 6 sheets of paper. This resulted in different variations.

  I thought it would be easier to color each triangular outline. However, I found myself forgetting my own rules or not having the correct colored pencils. The next time I do this I would also not use colored pencils since they did not show as brightly as I wanted them to. Time was also a constraint. I set my project up about 4 hours before I had to leave my apartment. I thought that this would be an ample amount of time to finish up even more than 6 pieces of paper. However, I noticed that time was running out and I rushed the coloring process – which made the colors look too light. The chance of my error was high since I was working quickly towards the end. I wasn’t able to find certain colors and became frazzled. I think of myself as a processing sketch. I wrote the code for myself in the beginning (the rules of coloring and folding) but I was still subject to errors because of my state of mind and environment.

  System 3
Elon Musk

Elon Musk

Kim Kardashian Crying Meme

Kim Kardashian Crying Meme

(i googled iridescent since it's a current social media trend)

(i googled iridescent since it’s a current social media trend)

  Here are some images showing the progression of images I used for system 3. My initial goal was to take our in-class glitch code further and turn it into a system. I wanted to also incorporate parts of my conference project along the lines of digital influencers and corporate capitalism. I had recently read some articles about Elon Musk and the future of Tesla which prompted my to try and distort his face.

I wasn’t too happy with the way it looked with Musk, mostly because I could not grasp how to utilize the glitch code with his face. I decided to use the original image during our in-class glitch code. The Kim Kardashian crying face is one of my favorite memes/cultural icons. Kim Kardashian is someone who is famous for being a businesswoman. Despite not being an actress or musician, she is incredibly famous and takes space in much of the media. The media that Kim Kardashian dominates gives me a sort of escapism from our capitalist culture. The thought of working 9 to 5 and sometimes even later, regardless of whether it’s a field I love or not, is almost soulless and tiring. It’s no wonder that people (including myself) find solace in the media and other trivial things that do not produce intellectual thought. Adorno labeled the media we use as a distraction as the culture industry, which was my system 3’s original name.

I had fun playing around with glitch code. Especially, with adding polygons and watching their actions around the glitch art. However, after showing it in class I wondered if using Kim Kardashian’s face was trivial. So, I coded Pre-Frontal.

Pre-Frontal has an iridescent background with a larger glitch bar going vertically down the sketch. I chose to keep the polygons and thought it was interesting as the polygons collided with the glitch bar and created a rainbow effect. Furthermore, I added a frame count to create different rules for the ways polygons come into the sketch. I titled this “Pre-Frontal” because it is a part of the brain that moderates social behavior. Social behavior is oftentimes dominated by the media and political elites.

Blackspace Post-Mortem

 
Blackspace Ideas 3

Blackspace Ideas 1Blackspace Ideas 2 (Image 1 is from the Frist in Nashville, while Images 2 and 3 are from the Art Institute in Chicago).

For blackspace I decided to play around with our polygon sketch from class. In class we had worked on adding more rules to the sketch as well as making the sketch self-evolving. In the beginning, I had no plan to even create a digital piece. It was announced that our blackspace presentations were the Wednesday after spring break and I figured I’d have time to find an analog system. I was in Atlanta over break and tried to immerse myself in spaces with systems. I visited museums in Nashville and Chicago, went aboard the MARTA in Atlanta, and walked around parking meters trying to find ideas. Above are some images from Nashville’s Frist Center for the Visual Arts and Chicago’s Art Institute. While the works of art I saw were incredibly inspiring, I realized I wanted to create my blackspace project in Processing to convey myself in a dark space. I started playing with the last in-class sketch. We’d left off with polygons colliding and bouncing around the sketch. I was inspired to take this further by changing the side count (to make it more circular). A number of polygons in the sketch mimicked anxiety. They were bouncing off the sides of the sketch and shaking. To induce this disquiet I changed the background from white to black. Despite the unrest from the polygons, I didn’t want them to be too jarring to the eye which prompted me to use my color wheel scheme from system 2. This led me to use a greenish/blue hue opposite a randomized orange hue. The make the system self-evolving I created a colorMode and if statement:  if (location.y > width/2){radius = radius * 2;}, which enlarged some of the polygons off of the sketch. I was most excited about adding music, especially a track that wouldn’t set any particular kind of mood. However, music inherently sets a mood. In a systematic way, I went through songs in my iTunes account looking for a track without vocals and one that was over 4 minutes long. The song I ended up choosing was “Insides” by Fort Romeau, a DJ from the UK. I had no idea who the artist was or the song. It was some download from NPR in their SXSW Top 50 songs playlist. Nonetheless, along with the colors, it sedated the anxiety from the polygons. After saving screens and exporting the video, I decided to play around with iMovie. In iMovie, I decided to restart and reverse some of the screens. Doing this, I realized that I wanted to portray different angles or scenes of the polygons. I didn’t want it all to be a continuous film of videos in reverse and videos moving forward. This prompted me to create a “break” titled “phase”. Kind of like phases of the moon, this screen served to divide the films and pause. I wanted viewers to have a second to breathe. The film began to remind me of space – even before I added the “phase” screens. To me, it captured the stress of the unknown, progress, and technology. With different polygons struggling to get out of the screen, flashing different colors, and finding themselves idle on the borders it captured my own anxiety. The music is a cover up of the anxiety since it’s much more smooth than the sketch. As I was told during the performance, it makes viewers want to dance and reminds them of a club. I was disappointed with the number of idle polygons – the ones that seemed to just want to relax at the borders of the sketch. Some just disappeared beyond the sketch despite my code to contain them. I was also disappointed by the video quality which is something I have to play around with more on YouTube and MPEG Streamclip. I was surprised when the audience said that it reminded them of a dance club – which, despite the music, was not really my intention. I’d be really happy if this was played at some dance club. However, my intention was to convey anxiety and distress over the future and otherworldly spaces. With the darkness, now knowing that it reminded viewers of a dance club, perhaps I would have people move during the piece. Maybe dance can be a variable of response towards the film – onlookers examining my anxiety towards the unknown. It would be a reminder that despite my anxiety towards space people will move on or dance on. Next time, I would see how many more rules I can add to make the system more self-evolving. Next time, I’d either take away the music or encourage people to move or dance during the performance. Ultimately, the music did set the mood. The mood it induced was not exactly the mood I expected people would have. Here are some images from the performance: Blackspace 1Blackspace 3Blackspace 2    

Conference Project Post-Mortem: First Impressions

screen-shot-2016-12-04-at-10-01-02-pm My project is based on the works of Lothar Quinte, whose most known work is featured on First Impressions of Earth by the Strokes. I decided to animate and apply what we’ve learned in class to his images. Throughout the project I kept updating the images with what we’ve learned in class. Quinte’s works are simple and vivid. The goal of my project was to alter this fundamental theme of his artwork. The most common concepts I incorporated were noise and dimension. In Kreisformation in Rot auf Violettem Grund (Circular Formation in Red on Violet Ground,1965), I added noise to the circle so that the size would change. In order to make it look like the circle is moving in and out of itself I incremented x2 and y2 by y. At first it was just something I had tried out in another sketch; however the result of a circle struggling to maintain a size was something that I wanted to include. I added dimension to the background to create a sort of texture. I wanted the end image to look like a record button since my project is based on an album. This is the sketch a featured at the top of this post. In Untitled (1965), the artwork featured on First Impressions of Earth, I played around with incrementing the diagonal lines into a swinging motion and reset the framecount. I added dimension to this image as well to create a textured background. The one part I found difficult was to fix was how slow the lines swing. I wanted it to be more of gradual pace but once I added dimension it moved much slower than the original sketch. screen-shot-2016-12-04-at-7-36-50-pm   In Quinte’s Untitled (1969) and played around with incrementing again – the end result created a textured background when two of the triangles swing down.   screen-shot-2016-12-04-at-9-45-36-pm
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(before)

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(after)

In Ohne Titel (also “Untitled”), I used alpha and noise to exchange the singular diagonal lines in the original for multiple lines extended to the corners of the canvas. Furthermore, to add a subtlety, I included an animated ellipse at the background of the image. In the original image there is lighter red spot on the right side of the image. To reflect this in my sketch I used alpha and animated the ellipse to move back and forth throughout the canvas. Finally, in Blue Fields, III I tried to maintain Quinte’s simplicity in it’s entirety other than moving around the boxes and adding a repeat count. screen-shot-2016-12-04-at-11-14-56-pmscreen-shot-2016-12-04-at-11-14-43-pm   It was a lot of fun adding the things we learned in class to this sketches. I was particularly surprised by how easy it was to add dimension into a sketch. I really love the way it adds a texture – especially one that is almost feathery and light. It was challenging to figure out how to adapt Quinte’s paintings and retain his style. As a new coder that is still learning about Processing, I was interested in chaotic, complicated sketches that contain a lot of detail. With Quinte’s work I had to try to be more subtle about it because I didn’t want to estrange myself from his simplicity. I don’t think that I’ll ever be truly done with this project – just like Quinte was never finished with his series of untitled images.
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concept ideas

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concept ideas

Conference Project Proposal: First Impressions

  first-impressions-of-earth My project focuses on the works of Lothar Quinte, a German painter. One of his well known pieces is found on an album (First Impressions of Earth) by The Strokes, which is also one of my favorite albums. First Impressions is the third album of The Strokes – it’s much angrier and angstier that their other albums. The album serves as a stepping stone from their post punk sound to synthier rhythms. When I was younger the album art reminded me of guitar strings. I chose Quinte’s artwork (and First Impressions of Earth) because of his different variations of the same paintings. Most of Quinte’s paintings are also untitled. Despite this, they all feature bright yellows, reds, blues, and black in one variation or another. I was also inspired to choose art inspired by lines and geometric shapes due to our artist presentations on Vera Molnar and Bridget Riley. Even though their pieces seem simple, their use of lines and shapes is captivating and complex. blue-fields-iiilothar-quinte-ohne-titel I selected five of Quinte’s paintings: Blue Fields, III (1963), Ohne Titel (1965), Untitled (1965), Ohne Titel (1969), and Ohne Titel (1973). Each of them are, in one way or another, variations of each other. When I first perused Quinte’s work I noticed the simplicity of vibrant colors. The pieces did not seem incredibly complex. However, if I looked closely there is more going on in the background – especially in Ohne Titel (1965). On the foreground it is seemingly just a red canvas with two diagonal white and black lines. If you look through the red canvas you can see different lines and circles. When I recreated this work I used alpha to make sure that these lines and circles in the background were still included yet hidden. Even in Blue Fields, III it seems like there are only three blue rectangles – if you look closely there are almost 24 rectangles. At first I thought that I should apply a gradient to adaptation because of the fading color. Again, when I looked closely Quinte is careful in making sure the lighter blue stays in one rectangle and the darker blue stays in another rectangle. Even though most of his work seems simple there is a lot going on in Quinte’s pieces. To quote Philip Galanter’s classroom definition of generative art, Quinte’s work “uses a system…which is set to some degree of autonomy contributing to or resulting in a completed work of art”. Despite not programming his artwork, Quinte uses a system of preciseness so that if the viewer looks closely they will see how carefully planned each shape is. The goal of my project is to re-create and animate Quinte’s paintings using what we’ve learned in class. I used variables, loops, noise, and colors. My final project will have five 3 minute films based on Quinte’s artworks. I intend to uphold Quinte’s vibrancy but want to complicate his artwork more. I chose his work not only because of his use of lines and geometric shapes but because his artwork was featured on one of my favorite albums. I feel the same connection that I felt with First Impressions that I do with his work. I am reminded of listening to Julian Casablancas’s disconnected lyrics while waiting for the school bus to take me to a dreary, suburban middle school. This project was somewhat nostalgic and I am excited for the end result. screen-shot-2016-11-28-at-10-03-59-pmscreen-shot-2016-11-28-at-10-03-19-pm