The only other outstanding issue with this work, for me, was the ending, which feels like it ran out of creative ideas. After all the time I spent working, I felt like I developed some “After Effects Fatigue” where I was up against a creative wall. To finish the video, I ended up using the kaleidoscope effect, and letting it take its time to play out. While the effect is visually pleasing, it doesn’t feel like it lives up to the rest of the creative ideas in the piece, and feels too stagnant. In the moment of creation, it felt like a satisfying idea, but in hindsight, I would have preferred to exit the kaleidoscope world much sooner, and pan back out into the night sky where more active ideas could play out, rather than just fading back into the night sky at the end, which is a much flatter visual idea. Still, being relatively new to After Effects, I feel mostly satisfied with the ideas I came up with and how I was able to fill the time and space of this piece. The biggest takeaway was that the more time I spend in After Effects, the more infinite the possibilities become for creating exciting and technically perfected work. The external inspiration of the music and of David Bowie himself were driving forces that pushed me to see how far I could take my creative ideas and expand my skillset.
Before I started making effects for the video, I listened to the sound track for several times and added markers where I noticed transitions in the song. I decided to divide the song in to three main sections: a slower and quieter beginning, a louder, noisier and more dynamic middle part, a monotonic end. To represent my responses visually according to the layers in the song, I assigned more simple geometric shapes for the beginning and the end and used more complex kaleidoscope and fractals for the middle section. As for the color palette, my immediate response is to apply blue, purple, green and black with a hint of yellow and pink to indicate the theme of space. The main motif which connects all three sections is circle and its transformations. I used rotation to create the feeling of getting lost and replicate the motion path of planets. By playing on scale, I was able to introduce depth into the video and to create smooth transitions.
Inspired by the common shape of various planets, stars and their tracks, I drew a circle to make the first move. In the beginning section, I used repeater, echo, motion path and twist and adjusted the width, skew, color and scale of the circle. Additionally, I added effects made by rectangles with mirror effect, trim path, pucker and bloat and wiggle path in between. With various scales and effects, all blue rectangles originate from the same regular rectangular pattern occurred first in the video. In this beginning section, I used harmonious motion for most of the time. The only opposing motion occurred was to imitate the closing and opening of curtain in a theatre.
Following the first section, I introduced more vibrant palette and complex shape with fractals and kaleidoscopes. To further emphasize the transition in the music, I changed the background color from blue to black. A darker color also indicates that the viewers are entering into a deeper space where aliens reside (I will discuss the storyline later in this post). I made four fractals in total: three Julias in the same function and one Mandelbrot Inverse. The rhythms explored in this section are flowing and random. As the background of the previous section zooms into Mandelbrot Inverse fractal which looks like an alien’s eye, the hue varies in an unnoticeable way. After the “beap” in the song starts, hue continues to change. Meanwhile, x and y key frames in post-inversion offset is introduced to create the flipping effect. Every time when each motion completes, the palette is readjusted in the order of hue wheel, lightness gradient and escape angle. The noises on the colorful circular patterns are created through adding cycle steps and edge highlight force. Following Mandelbrot Inverse fractals are a series of Julias. For Julias, I played on x and y key frames in Mandelbrot and magnification to create the mad external or bacterial creature effect. The main idea behind motions in Julias is for the “tentacles” on the fractals to meet and disconnect repeatedly. It should also be noted that two of the Julias were created on rectangles instead of a solid layer. I decided to do so so that I could continue exploring the effects, for example, twist, I used in the beginning section. Even though this middle section creates a great contrast in texture compared to the beginning section, circles and blue reoccur nevertheless.
Before the beginning of the last section, I combined a Julia fractal with kaleidoscope. I kept on changing center, size, rotation, x and y on Julia to get the shape in the kaleidoscope moving in a circular manner. As this layer fades out, I returned to the simple glowing geometric shapes and the same blue background occurred in the first section to emphasize on the consistency of my style in this video. I started out building the motion of galaxies spinning and connecting to a different one through a light beam. Toward the end, I moved two “galaxies” to the center and made them flat so that the video will begin and end in circles all the time.
The storyline behind each section is as following. The beginning section marks an astronaut who just entered the space and was excited to find everything to be pure, simple and fascinating. The second section represents the astronaut was taken by an alien and entered an intimidating extraterrestrial world. The last section shows that everything this astronaut experienced was just a dream. He is safe and so do we.
The video came out really well. I feel proud of myself to make my first 4-minute video out of nothing for one of the songs I enjoyed listening during the winter break. In the beginning, it was really difficult to come up with new ideas/motions for an every-10-sec change, but later I discovered the importance of using motifs so it became easier. When I was making the effects on the kaleidoscope, I accidentally deleted a keyframe and every motion before it went wrong. I had to save the document I had at that moment and save another after effect file to go back to my first step and see what was wrong. Yet, I still enjoy making this video and seeing my classmates’ art works. I appreciate everyone’s comments. I agree that the video would have been better without a space craft and with a smoother transition for the end.
For this project our class was assigned to create a video response to David Bowie’s music video “Space Oddity”. Our video had to include aspects of futuristic sound and space. I did not really know that much about Bowie at first. I knew some of his songs, but that’s pretty much a given with his popularity. I spent a decent amount of time looking at some of his video for inspiration.
My original vision for this project was to work solely in black/white and grayscale. I managed to stick with that idea for the first 45 seconds. I thought that if I kept my color palette simple it would be easier to plan down the road. I also had some black and white fractals already made and thought they could be put to good use in this project. As it turns out, being to limited in my use of color is more troublesome than having too many colors to choose from. As I got deeper into the project I could not help but add bright colors against the black background I ended up with. I always liked color schemes that involved black and another bright color. The way it can be set next to another color and almost absorb it has always been interesting to me.
I was also planning to use mostly fractals but as I went further along I realized I did not have much of a narrative with them. So I had to come up with a new idea and go back to square one. I searched through images dealing with space in general. This is when I came across a picture of a common science project dealing with displaying our solar system. I then realized that while looking through more detailed representations of space (diagrams, illustrations, etc.), I nearly missed an opportunity to explore something more simple. The simple shapes of the rings and painted stirofoam balls were brimming with possibility. Instead of being confined to the more complicated forms of space I was presented with, I could start with these simple shapes and make them into something new.
I decided to limit my search solely to solar system displays. I was not planning on copying the display exactly but I did want to understand the general structure. However the graphics I designed did end up looking for the most part like the models minus one or two solar rings.
I did multiple sets of rough thumbnails and sketches to work out what I wanted to do. The music I chose had many changes in pace and I wanted my video to reflect that. I made sure not to get to detailed so I would be able to make changes as the music dictated. I made somewhat of a small narrative involving my solar system design. I broke up the song into small acts several times to see which option would be the best. Eventually I settled on:
- Starting the song off by slowly entering a dark space.
- Then when it is pitch black reveal the solar system on a tower-like display.
- The climax is light show of some sort
- The story ends abruptly with the space going dark again and the planets falling off the display
One of my graphic designs for the solar system was a display on top of a tower like structure. The idea of for this originally sprung from wanting to do a pan up shot to the planets. “Why not have them towering over?” I thought.
I started out with black and white graphics, then jumped into slight color with the rings around the solar system. I chose a basic color ranged from red to blue so I could keep it simple. During the planning period I did consider using literally all the basic colors of the rainbow. However, I decided against it since it seemed to make the video too busy.
I originally planned to implement some actual animated cells in my work but I found that using the basic tools in After Effects fit better with the overall futuristic style of the video.
Ultimately my video ended up looking a bit more simple design wise. I think the simplicity helps it in a way. The simple shape gave me more room to experiment without worry of over complicating things or making the video too busy. Given how many times I had to rework a scene or two I’m grateful for that.
I decided to use my own brain as a base to make this series. My brain is always a source of contention and release. I chose to really focus on the negative with two of my GIFs hoping the third might make up for it as a small homage to the parts of me I truly love. (I never like anything to be 100% dark–even the most difficult minds aren’t.)
In my first GIF, Evil Self, which was from an earlier assignment. I began to add things halfway through that would make it scary. When I glitched the code it made my first self-portrait (the one in the middle) whited out and electric. It reminded me a bit of why certain aspects of Undertale were terrifying to me. The fights in the game are black and white and due to my sensory deficiency disorder I react very negatively to bright and white light. (Which is unfortunate because everyone in the art and photography communities seem to love it!) I added the static for that reason. To me, static is a fast animation of white and black attacking itself. Or, that’s what my SDD makes it feel like. What this all results in is that my Evil Self Portrait GIF is a combination of my struggles with Depression and Anxiety (namely, all my resentments and frustrations that I highlight with the words “Help Me I’m Sick” and “Mental Illness Hurts”.) But it is created not from my Mental Illness’s point of view but by how my SDD causes me to see the world. Essentially they are two very different things happening in my brain at once, but I used one to compliment the other in hopes that it may get an interesting visual narrative across.
In my second GIF, Truth, I had a lot of fun animating and glitching it. I wanted this one to be a representation of both sides of me meeting in the middle. The good and the evil. I think it stemmed from a bit of teenage angst that I had harbored over the years (don’t we all still have a little?). Well this was going to be VERY angsty, I had a drawing of a humanoid figure caught in the chains of a heart for goodness sake! But glitching saved us all. It also reminded me that simple is sometimes better.
The third was the hardest to come up with. I went back to some old to emulate what I have done in the past because it is difficult to really know who you are in the moment. I added text and color over a pattern I was initially going to use for a brush effect. However the corners and gradients worked with the words well enough that I left it as it was. I was inspired by the gifs that help people who struggle with anxiety breathe at a calming rate. Adding a repeater effect and layering the moving structure on itself was done to further symbolize a heart. To individualize it (hopefully).
Another part of my process was trial and error. I had to spend time just playing and experimenting in Photoshop and I had to learn what patterns and colors appealed to my eye. I prefer GIFs that don’t have too sharp of a contrast in color or pattern, which I learned by making a GIF that I absolutely hate. One layer of this GIF is blue & orange and the other is a layer from the Polka Dot GIF. The combination of a drawing that doesn’t appeal to me, two vastly different patterns/designs, and a completely different set of colors made this GIF one of my least favorites. On the other hand, I’m proudest of the salmon background GIF and the Flower GIF because the colors change slightly, while the pattern remains very similar. Through making the Polka Dot GIF, I also realized that I often like images that are symmetrical and have a sense of order to them.
My plan for the animated GIF assignment, as it has been for all of my assignments thus far in Digital Tools, was to create cohesive content, digital art with an aesthetic that carries from one style of digital media to the next. As I discovered early on this semester, through the wallpaper assignment, I am very much inspired by the Jonathan Adler and Kate Spade aesthetic. This came as quite a surprise to me as I certainly do not adhere to this aesthetic in my own fashion choices or interior design, but I find I am attracted to this colorful, preppy, clean look of playful design mixed with attractive color schemes.
The three GIFs I have chosen to include in this post are pieces I created with an audience in mind. I wanted to create GIFs I could imagine Millennials sending to friends or loved ones via Facebook, Email or text. I made GIFs that contain universal themes, with messages that can be expressed through imagery rather than text. I chose to create a wink, a kiss and a birthday cake.
As I created these GIFs, one by one, I found I grew more confident in my drawing abilities on Photoshop. I had always felt I lacked skill in the drawing department, and with the introduction of the pen tool I’ve found a world of opportunity I didn’t realize existed.
I am most satisfied with the color scheme I have included throughout my GIFs. I’ve had a lot of fun utilizing my favorite pale shade of pink and finding other colors that work well alongside it. I am also very happy with the cohesion of these pieces. I feel like they work well alongside one another, which has continued to be my hope for all of my work produced in digital tools.
If I were to change anything about these GIFs, I would have utilized a background other than white in my wink. I also would have created the second frame of the kiss to have a more pursed lip detail. Overall I am very happy with my animated GIFs. I’ve already sent out the birthday cake in a happy birthday message. I have a feeling I will use it again soon.
I wish I could say it’s just my art style, but honestly, my work on this project is pretty basic by artistic standards. I’m not an especially experienced or practiced visual artist, and it shows in my work on this project. I didn’t have much of a plan going in, just trying to find the right mindset to create the types of images I saw everyone else creating around me. This was, obviously, not a very concrete plan. Trying to directly find inspiration in the work of other artists wasn’t working for me at this point, so I decided to focus on creating images inspired by things I enjoy seeing in the world around me instead.
As I had previously created a brush that reminded me of a bird’s wing, and the motion of wings flapping is one that I have always found fascinating, I decided to try to mimic that sense of motion in my first gif. I created five layers in photoshop, and used the transform and distort tools to alter each layer, until they looked similar to how I visualized the stages of a bird’s wing flapping. Once animated, the image was much smoother and more convincing than I had expected with only five layers, and I was quite pleased with the result, despite its simplicity.
In creating glitch art, I decided to work from a selfie I took while in cosplay, with a pastel rainbow overlay. I chose this image because I really only like looking at pictures of myself when I am cosplaying in those pictures, but unlike in most such images, I took this picture while out of character. As such, this is the rare picture that captures the uniquely comfortable way I am able to inhabit my body while in cosplay, without the obscuring effect of my being in-character.
As I was unable to glitch my image on my computer itself, as was taught in class, I used an online glitching tool to glitch my initial image. (The tool I used.) In order to avoid my tendency towards using tiny variations on the same image, I did all of my glitching using this tool’s “randomize” feature.
In this first glitch gif, I made the transitions between images crossfade, to create a sense of smooth continuity. My intent was to make this image glitched but not unsettling, and this continuity allowed the image to have the calm sort of flow I imagined.
When glitch gifs were assigned, it was suggested that we try to make our two images representative of our “good” and “evil” selves. While brainstorming how I might convey the idea of my “evil self” through glitching, I was inspired by the glitch art created by Andrew Hussie for his groundbreaking multimedia webcomic, Homestuck. In Homestuck, he uses glitching frequently, as both an artistic tool and a plot device. This work was my first significant exposure to glitch art, and as such, it felt natural to me to derive inspiration from it while attempting to create my own glitch art.
To create this second glitch gif, I selected the most heavily glitched images I had created, alongside those that I found most viscerally unsettling, and tried to juxtapose contrasting images through rapid transitions between frames. By only using rapid glimpses of the more heavily-glitched images, I tried to convey a sense of foreboding in the composition of the gif. While I wish the frames of red and green glitching were shorter, to better convey the effect I was going for, overall, I am satisfied with this result.
I will admit, I am subject to my own vanity, and to be honest I deserve to be vain. I was in the closet for the first twenty years of my life. This was twenty years of being in “forced drag”, going through the wrong puberty, being unable to seek out gay and trans history due to the fear of being outed, twenty years of being ugly because how my head saw me, the mirror and the world refused to reflect.
A year and a half ago I shook off my forced drag persona and went by my true name: Baphomet. I started to finally use he/him pronouns. Nine months ago I started hormone replacement therapy. I can say that since coming out as a trans gay man my physical and mental health has improved. My relationship to others has improved. However, as I keep saying, I’m finally hot.
Is this vain? Hell yes it is. However until you have gone home from a hookup and cried over how ugly you are compared to the man that you just were intimate with, you can’t tell me anything. Until you’ve shaved your head in a rage because you got called “she”, you can shut it.
Like the artists before me such as Warhol, Gaugin, van Gogh, Cézanne, and Scheille; the self portrait is a way to introduce myself in a stylized fashion, and in my circumstance a way to reclaim and reassert my identity and space. For my first gif I did just that: I drew a self portrait of myself as a cartoon character. I am angry and baring my teeth. My big fur coat is standing on end, as it it were my own fur and I’m some kind of angry mammal. The animated text reads: “I’m Gay.” I am shouting this at the top of my lungs. For so long I have been denied my identity as a gay man and been alienated from my own spaces and even currently I have been asked why I even transitioned if I am only attracted to men, as if the only valid way to be trans is to also be straight.
For my next two gifs, I used a selfie I took on my phone of myself in the same coat as seen in the drawn gif. By using the selfie I am simultaneously conveying my transness, my gayness, and finally my right to claim my attractiveness as both trans and gay. For both, created a fur pattern for the background and created a wreath of chrysanthemums (for that hedonistic and vain homosexual aesthetic ala Oscar Wilde). These two layers served as the background for my selfie.
For the first gif I took the original image i created and made raw copies of it. Then in photoshop I played around with their settings, creating interesting graphics to be later used as patterns. In a new photoshop document I overplayed these patterns over my original image, with the opacity for each being between 29-40%. Finally in the time line I played these overlays randomly, and tweeting them to have 3 frames between each original one. The result is something sophisticated, dream like, and slightly disorderly.
My next gif I took my original photo and made several copies of it as a .bmp file. Then I individually converted each file to a .txt file. Within the .txt files I cut and pasted random lines of text from the middle and moved them around. Finally I converted my corrupt .txt files back into .bmp files, and took screenshots of each (photoshop is too smart to open and read corrupted files). Finally I took my original photo, new corrupted photos, and my texture graphics into photoshop and made a glitch gif. Within the gif the images are dispersed and played randomly between each other with the texture images (again set at between 29-40%) also being randomly played over. The result of this gif is something disjointed, distorted, and in all strangely energizing. If the first selfie gif was akin to me drinking tea in my boudoir then this final gif is akin to me drinking magic mushroom tea in that very room.
Through these gifs my goal was to proclaim my worth. I am gay, I am trans, I’m finally handsome and worthy to love myself and to be desired by others. I am reclaiming my image, my voice, and my expression as an artist in a world that wishes it could cast me out a revile me, when it can do either. I’m finally the handsome and talented Baphomet Nayer, and I have earned my right to be as vain as my cis and heterosexual contemporaries.
I am going to be very transparent in this post: learning the ropes of Adobe Photoshop and Adobe After Effects was quite a long and perilous journey for me. It might be important to add, or not so much at all, that I had no plans or ideas going into this project… which brings me to introduce the gif above. This gif developed from the repeater effect on AE. Generally, in my art, I tend to use a nice complementary palate. Lately, I have been enjoying the feeling of pastels. In this gif I played around with different functions and characteristics, such as opacity, rotation, trim lines, and changing of position. I would say this composition worked O.K., however, it’s not too much to my liking.
My next gif was more thought through, and much more engaging than my first. A few years ago I discovered the artist Deth P. Sun. A great deal of his paintings have dark, grey, night-like backgrounds… usually featuring a cat with a sword at his waist. This cat is often depicted in a colorful yet seemingly quiet environment, whether it be a tropical forest or his cluttered bedroom. I love Deth’s scenes and wanted to reciprocate that quiet but brightly colored world he creates. I created the star shapes with stroke and without fill, as it seemed to be gentler and allowed the atmosphere of the gif to be more inviting. The stars all rotate at different degrees, and some are rotating at a negative degree to add some diversity. Once I had completed the stars, I felt as though the gif was too monotonous, so I added some fast moving trim lines throughout.
Recently I discovered a really exciting and magical Japanese artist called Ikegami Yoriyuki. Her paintings are so inviting with their deep and bright colors, and the characters shown appear to be emotional and sometimes indulgent. Ikegami’s imagination is full of rabbits that dress and walk like people, small fluffy dogs, serene and dazzling nature. A painting of hers that I saw not too long ago depicted very small pixie-like persons with wings for hair. They were hiding inside of bold colored tulips, and flying to them from different angles. In my final gif I wanted to create a scene of nature, that was also magical and serene. Yes, it was very difficult to do… but it worked. I created the flowers with the shape and pen tool, arranged them neatly in a row. Then I drew a trim line that curves and curls playfully, as to represent the trail of a bumblebee. I made sure that the line kissed the top of each flower, while it traveled across the image. When the gif was almost complete, a risky idea came to me. The thought was to show a tiny ball of yellow above each head of the flowers, and to make it disappear once the trim line came into contact with it. This worked by way of me meticulously timing keyframes for the opacity of the yellow dot to diminish completely upon meeting the trim line. This gif I like the most because of its color scheme and seamlessness. I’m hoping to create sillier images in the near future.
The inspiration for this gif originated from one of the brushes I created in Photoshop. I designed this brush after the cross hatching drawing technique I learned in my art studies. When I started to stare at the lines where they intersect I could see all the shapes they made. Then I thought it would be more interesting to see the lines move in different directions and see how the shapes in between them change. I decided to make four rows of lines going in different directions. I made the vertical and right diagonal rows go clockwise and the horizontal and left diagonal lines go counter clockwise. Initially, I was going to have the lines rotate all the way around but since I was assigned to work only in photoshop that seemed a bit too tedious. So instead I decided to let each row go in a direction for a few frames then have them rotate back. I also made the frame where the lines rotate the most invert colors to add more interest.
When I first started this glitch portrait I was not sure what kind of glitches I wanted to use. I decided to take the trial and error approach and stop when I found something I liked. After several tries I finally came across the black screen and the disjointed face glitches as seen above. I achieved the former by first turning the png file into a txt file. Then I copied a small portion of text and pasted it in random places. The first glitch I made only had this glitch at the bottom part of the picture. I decided to copy the first glitch photo and repeat the same process going further up the txt file as I went along. I repeated this task until I had several glitch photos that could serve as animation frames to make the glitch look as if it was creeping up the photo. I created the disjointed face glitch while messing with a bmp file. I also erased the eyes out of my normal photo and layered it on top to give the glitch an eerie feeling.
My original idea for this gif was orange and purple rectangles rotating at different rates on a white background. However I liked the idea of the background alternating between the two colors in time with the squares movements. I eventually settled on the background color changing in accordance with the corresponding rectangle that reaches the bar at the bottom of the screen. It took about 13 frames to animate each rectangle going up or down. Once I got them to go in opposite directions on the vertical axis I copied and flipped the frames around to create a loop effect. I also made the bar at the bottom change its color to a slightly darker version of the color of the background and rectangle.
For the first gif, my plan was to be make a gif with alternating patterns based on the brush I created for the first assignment. I intended to create a series of the finger print patterns with enlarging scales. So each new finger print pattern shown on the new frame would be larger than the previous ones. In addition, both the background color and the color of the finger print would reverse compared to the previous frame. Thus, there were alternation of color in both background and foot prints. The pattern in the previous frame would be the same color as the next background, and vice versa. My plan in the change of scale worked well, so there was the effect of stepping up and leaving finger prints. However, the alternation of color was difficult in workshop because every time when I switch color, Photoshop was not giving me the accurate reversal color I needed. So on the second and forth frame of the gif, the pattern on the right bottom is visible when it is not supposed to be.
For the second gif, my plan was to make a gif of a pimple popping disaster. The gif is supposed to have a random pattern of blood flowing on the person’s face. I drew the image of the nose based on an image searched on google. It took me more time to make this gif than the first one because this one has more frames. I was considering the color of the nose and the nostrils so they would look both natural enough. I chose purple of the lips before the pimple popped out so the face looked more peaceful compared to the later disastrous face. I specifically chose this perspective of the face so it would be more unexpected. It also gives more attention to the nose compared to other parts of the face. It was difficult to draw the needle. I considered the brush tool, but I was not confident of drawing a perfect straight line and giving a sharp end. The line shape tool seemed to be a better option, but it still looked more of a thin rectangle than a needle. I enjoyed drawing the pimple the most. I used a larger brush with a blurred edge to draw a red dot and drew a smaller orange one on top of it. After all, I am happy with this humorous presentation of a disaster in daily life.
Finally, making glitch portraits was one of the most exciting experience in this class since I’ve enjoyed playing around with my self-portraits on some glitch photo making apps on my phone and listening to 8-bit music. I had never expected the theory of making a glitch art could be this simple. I did not really have a plan in my mind when I was glitching my portrait. In the process of glitching, I found some come patterns. Codes that are closer to the beginning of the file is describing the upper parts, and vice versa; longer codes contain more image information so when I edited with longer codes, more areas of the image were changed. I was having a hard time with glitching in jpeg format. I did not give me much effect as other file types. After I finished glitching some images, I selected eight of them for the gif. I arranged images with similar glitch methods separately. The final gifs change glitch from up to down repeatedly. I wished I could have added more glitch or pattern on the background too.
I wanted to criticize space and my class challenged me on how self-righteous it came across. In frustration, I realized that what I wanted to do was explore Heimbold through my emotions and my memories. It is a micro-situation with thoughts and ideas from Vito Acconci Following Piece, The Art of the Question by Anonymous, and Tom Finkelpearl’s “Participatory Art”, as well as my own experience as a theater student. I initially wanted my project be more aggressive but I was convinced against it by my class. As I developed the places and spots to visit I made a few consistent spots to visit.
1. I started on the top floor and ended on the bottom floor of Heimbold.
2. During the show I entered bathrooms of all genders. I stuck my hand in the toilet.
3. I told different and often conflicting versions of the same story. The conflicting nature of it comes from conflicting natures on the same stories. For example I framed one tour as a descent into my feelings and chose not to in another.
4. I asked people questions about whatever story I told and asked them to do things. Including but limited to:
- sing a note
- look out a window
-sneak down the stairs
-play inside a rolling cart for film department
-reassure me that I am doing ok
-Stare at other students.
4. Rely on my humorous personality to entertain even when I felt drained and unsatisfied.
What I feel about my piece and what I learned:
The first thing I noticed was the stress and lack of confidence from the first performance to the last. I became more emotionally drained from performance to performance. This led my tours from being confident and playful to (internally) more fearful and transgressive. What this meant was that no two tours developed the same meaning. The same way that remembering alters the memory itself over time, so did the descent from the top floor to the bottom. I felt that my piece became less about the construction of my Heimbold experiences to my failure to maintain the same thinking of it. I couldn’t remember the right questions or routines and would, with varying degrees of success, make up new ones. This in my mind is painful and yet in retrospect completely in line with the performance project as a whole. Because my relationship with my performance became strained and possibly unhinged so did my demonstration of the space. This meaning is of course very different for the audience, but their experience of the space was more of an amusing tour of memories, make believe, and activity that I would not experience at first.
One theme that sticks out in the retrospect is the transgression. Transgression here appeared in three forms: transgression of social mores, transgression of comfort level, and the failure to transgress against one authority instead of another. Let’s start in more of a note form of each kind and what that means about Heimbold.
-Social mores I would violate and ask the group to participate in include put my hand in a toilet, enter a gendered bathroom as a group, stare at a stranger walking by, play in a rolling cart, and stand on tables. What this did was provide a moment of playfulness but also give a eye on two elements of the space. The first is that there are things you can do that are fun that aren’t wrong or hurtful. The second, there is no true rebellion over the space. My playful attitude has zero effect on the architecture of the building beyond add a feeling onto it, like adding invisible graffiti onto the space.
-I never transgressed the comfort level of any of the participants. I did transgress my own comfort level when I initially put my hand in the toilet. By having my audience witness it I did unsettle the impossibility of the action. It’s small but it will be something remembered nonetheless.
-Finally I felt I pushed beyond my comfort zone in a positive way. I have touched on this early but I do feel that this performance has pushed me out of a certain comfort around my art making and I would like to further with it.
I created a fashion movement at Sarah Lawrence College. The OöfOöf. Ever heard of it? It’s the newest trend! Ideas and concepts explored in my project; manipulation, social movements, absurdity, social reach and pull, wanting to be apart of something you don’t understand, and what is fashion?
The OöfOöf is made from a plastic shopping bag that food/items typically come in. I was looking at a bag full of these plastic bags in my living room one day and realized that some of the images on the bags aren’t too far off from something I would see being sold at Urban Outfitters or any other clothing store that is trying to sell “hipster” “cool” “edgy.” I was overcome with the idea of turning the bags into my own garment! My mind started spinning more and more and I started to think about how I could get people to wear them for me! I was confident in my own social pull at Sarah Lawrence and my manipulation abilities. I was also confident because Sarah Lawrence is a unique college, where something like this isn’t too far off from something you would expect a student to do. To turn a regular old plastic take out into an OöfOöf I cut off the bottom of the bag. Then, on the side without an image, I would cut it in half, creating a vest look. This is the OöfOöf!
I wanted to have an OöfOöf Day! Where people all over campus were seen wearing them. I wanted this to happen two fold, I did so by: getting people to participate in advanced and on OöfOöf day I asked people I to wear OöfOöf’s on the spot. My class had told me to think about trying to sell people on the OöfOöf, I drew on my experience in customer service. In preparation for the project I read the Tactics section of “Beautiful Trouble.” The section was helpful, all sorts of ideas came out of it.
To execute this I had to convince the advance people the new OöfOöf trend was something they wanted to be apart of. I marketed it to the advance people as something they were now apart of, something that was very special and selective. I always started out with the question: Want to be apart of something special? They would ask me to explain and I would follow with the statement: There is a new fashion trend / social movement happening at Sarah Lawrence College and I want YOU to be apart of it! It depended on the person but most would ask a couple more questions before agreeing. I would say I couldn’t tell them the trend until they agreed to participating. I used this tactic for multiple reasons; it created a mystery to the OöfOöf, it fostered intrigue (after hyping it up so much they usually really wanted to know what it was), and it was a way for me to manipulate! I was able to convince people to do something for me that they were given very little solid information on. Before they agreed I would just make the trend sound very fancy, selective and special. Once they agreed, I would leap into a description of the OöfOöf’s, it was most helpful when I had them with me. I always said that each OöfOöf is picked specifically for the person, and that they are incredibly meadable. Basically how people of all different sizes can wear an OöfOöf!
Organizing the advance people was the most time consuming aspect of the project. The people I asked in advance when I didn’t have the OöfOöf’s with me, I then had to hunt down to give them one before OöfOöf day. It was very important that they were wearing an OöfOöf I had made and that everyone got a “fitting.” The fitting was very important because it reinstated making the person participating feel as though this was a special thing I had asked them to do and the fittings also drove home how OöfOöf’s are for everyone, this gave me the time and space to adjust the OöfOöf perfectly to the person. I wanted all the advance people to feel cool, comfortable and confident in their OöfOöf and I knew those feelings were a crucial in order for the advance people to follow through with the project.
I wanted the college to see the OöfOöf’s around before the actual OöfOöf day. I took inspiration for the Tactics section of “Beautiful Trouble” to inspire me. At first I had my heart set on hanging a banner of OöfOöf in the library. I thought it was the perfect place, because I did not want the first reaction when someone sees an OöfOöf to think of it as art. Well I tried very hard to get the banner to be hung in the library but after weeks of emails and my project being bounced around between people and different departments, I momentarily gave up. Instead I made stickers!! Setting aside the banner idea for a hot sec and working on stickers was not a bad thing. I had been wanting to make stickers all semester and so incredibly overjoyed to get started.
Description of the stickers: it’s a picture of an OöfOöf on a black hanger against a pink/purple background and the name OöfOöf over the image in Didot font italicized. I wanted them to look fancy, colorful and get the message across. Over thanksgiving break I made the stickers and put about 20 all over campus. I did this so that after everyone came back the stickers would be everywhere and so that people would not see me putting them around. I got the sticker making bug and could not stop making them. I gave them to all of the advance people and I made even more for around campus! I was obsessed! I think the stickers were one of the most successful aspects of this project for a couple reasons. 1. Someone I do not know posted a picture of the sticker on her instagram! 2. When I asked advance people to participate, after they agree and I gave them stickers, a few of them said “Oh this is the trend?! I’ve seen these around campus!” 3. And the same reaction happened when I gave the stickers out on OöfOöf DAY day! I think this is successful because my stickers made an impression on people. They recognized them and thought about them, even if it was a fleeting thought. People really wanted to know what an OöfOöf was.
Moving back to the banner. I did end up making one! It was hung during open studios in heimbold. It looked great and I’m very glad I made it.
The day before I sent this message to all the advance people: “THANK YOU for participating in this special Sarah Lawrence trend!~~ here’s whats up: TOMORROW Monday the 4th is OöfOöf DAY ! PLS wear your OöfOöf all day!! (if you have work and have to take it off for a bit that is of course fine!) I recommend wearing the OöfOöf over a more tight fitting shirt, then a jacket over. The OöfOöf’s are delicate so wearing it over a bulkier garment can cause wear and tear! If ripping occurs, you can always tape the ripped pieces together or text me and I can provide another OöfOöf. It may not be the same style but it will still be curated specifically for you. things to remember!: when asked why you are wearing it say something along the lines of “oh this? my OöfOöf? this is a new trend! Have you not heard??” if a professor asks you, you can be less sassy and say its for a conference project, also please do not say jenny morris is the one behind all of this. THANK YOU so so so much again! pls text me with any questions !!”
What we have all been waiting for! OöfOöf DAY! On OöfOöf DAY I stood outside the library at three different times asking people if they wanted to be apart of a new trend?! I stood outside from 9-9:30, 10:50-11:15, and 12:30-1. I picked these times because people would either be going to class or leaving class or were busy times at the library. I gave a sticker to everyone that participated and I found this to be an extremely helpful tactic! Some people were so overjoyed and excited to be apart of something and others wanted nothing to do with me. People posted about the OöfOöf’s and OöfOöf DAY all throughout the day!! It was greatly successful in my opinion and I had so much fun doing it!!
Overall thoughts, I had amazing time during all the steps of this project. A goofy idea of mine was turned into a real thing and I don’t think there is any greater experience than that. Having a funny idea become real! WowowoW! There were obviously some lows, like not being able to hang the banner in the library and being bounced around to all the different people. But it taught me how bureaucratic it is to work in public space. I now have to tools to work in public space in the future. Besides from the banner there were no more lows regarding the project. If I was to do it again, I would have more people post on social media. One friend of mine tweeted and posted on Facebook. That was extremely successful and someone who took an OöfOöf outside of the library commented on her post!
The project taught me about manipulation, how to sell a silly thing, working in public space, and the value of stickers.
I began this piece thinking a lot about the idea of a home, or homeliness, and the ways in which Heimbold can be unhomely and unsettling. I began trying to take inspiration from images of the home as unsettling, taking a lot of inspiration from horror games, which is where I began to conceptualize a clothesline.
I wanted to create something that felt undeniably like part of the building, but at once felt like it should be hidden, and put it in plain sight. I looked a lot at Kitty Horrorshow’s Anatomy, which conceptualizes the house as a body, and wondered how I could create “veins” in Heimbold, personifying the space and imbuing it with life, even if that life was unsettling.
At this point in the project, I started to take in some images of Louise Bourgeois and Tracy Emin, and began to consider intimacy and clothing as a medium for homeliness. I settled on the idea of a clothesline, which brought together many of the concepts I was exploring in a way I was quite satisfied with. I also decided to use dryer sheets (hidden in the socks) to make the piece more encompassing.
The real challenge of this piece began with installation. The placement in the building was important; it needed to be visible and obvious, obstructive but not so obstructive that it was a fire hazard. Tall people needed to be able to walk under it (a factor I overlooked at first, as no one in our class reaches 6 feet). This meant changing my intended install space a couple times, because a ceiling was too low, or because it was a spot that was too out of the way. The physical installation of the piece was also a challenge – the pulleys I had didn’t quite fit securely with either of the types of hooks I had bought, and I was terrified of my piece falling and hitting someone on the head. I ended up fastening them to the hooks with wire, which gave the line more flexibility, and it didn’t fall. I think the piece accomplished what I hoped it would accomplish – it changed the feeling of the space, and people were surprised by it. There was a sort of cheery relief in the people I spoke to about it; one student who passed by while I was finishing the installation gleefully asked if it was art or if I was avoiding paying the $1.50 for the school dryers. I think the fact that it resembled a familiar clothesline so distinctly, that it was alone in the space, and that the clothes were mostly intimates like socks and underwear worked together to make the project successful. I learned a lot working on this piece about how to use the placement and space around a piece to complement and add to it – my previous piece had far less focus on a physical installation, and I think the way I used space for this piece informed the way I used space for my conference piece and changed how I plan to use space in the future.