Oh the Lengths We Will Go…For Stuff and Perfection.

September 17, 2009 - Leave a Response

These are two of my required viewings for my Electronic Media Studio.

The Story of Stuff   http://www.storyofstuff.com/

The Story of Stuff is a video about where our products come from, what it takes to make these products, and what happens to them when we’re done with them.  From the forests to the landfill.

Last night I went out to the movies with my best friend to see District 9.  It’s one of those movies where aliens come to live on Earth.  Honestly…I was less scared watching bunch of aliens tear a human to shreds than when I watched The Story of Stuff.  It’s scares the heck out of me when I think about how much our country is consuming and how much waste we produce.  I start having fantasies about being an old women and telling my grandchildren about a time when trees were everywhere not just in parks.  I’m sitting underneath a tree right now writing this blog and worrying that it’s gonna be cut down cause we’ve used up all of the rain forests! …ok.  I know I’m exaggerating, but the thought that we could run out of sufficient natural resources before we die is frightening to say the least.  If nothing else, it makes me wanna go recycle my water bottle.

The aspect of this movie that I really appreciated was that as soon as the video was done, a link popped up that said “Click Here For 10 Recommendations For Another Way.”  THANK YOU!  I was thrilled to find that they didn’t just complain about a problem, but actually offered up a list of possible solutions.

No Logos http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=2343596870021245516#

No Logos is about anti-corporate resistance.  Basically, it’s showing the negative affects of globalization and how it’s basically prompting a race to the bottom (meaning that companies are trying to sell their product at the lowest prices and trying to pay their employees the least).  It’s broken down into 3 parts:  No space.  No choice.  No job.

One of the interesting portions of the video was when they talked about the America’s sacred place of gathering.  The summit.  The throne.  The epitomy of American culture.  The almighty mall!  The mall is the true heart beat of these logos and corporations.  It is a way of life.  You walk in a mall and it tells you that your clothes aren’t cool enough.  Your shoes aren’t shiny enough.  Your skin isn’t smooth enough.  YOU aren’t enough.  Fortunately, all of your problems can be solved.  All you have to do is BUY BUY BUY!!!!  Perfection is yours with the swipe of a credit card.

…Now I don’t know about you…but if buying useless objects and wasting tons of natural resources is what it takes to be perfect, then I’m not so sure that I’d want perfection.

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Dafen: Kinko’s of the Art World

September 14, 2009 - Leave a Response

Through the new readings for my Electronic Media Studio, I learned about a place in China called Dafen.  It is essentially the Kinko’s of the art world.  It’s where hundreds of Chinese artists make copies of master art works and send them out across the world.  They aren’t trying to pass these off as the original work, just the copy.  As an artist, I cannot imagine being fulfilled with that.  Spending your life as a copy machine cannot be that stimulating.

In one of the articles, someone sent out the picture of the man standing in front of  a line of tanks in the Tiananmen Square protest on June 4, 1989 to several Dafen painters.  The interesting thing is, that some of the artists either omitted parts of the painting or refused to do such a political piece because it was illegal.  Many of them had never seen the image before.  Why?  Because their government controlled what they saw.  This was an image that the Chinese government felt should not be displayed.  So it wasn’t.  The thought that history, that fact, that the past could be controlled, censored and altered is mind boggling.  It’s as if the government were trying to play God.  In fact, for the millions of people who live in China…the government might as well be God.  It recreates their past and determine their future.  It can take the truth away from them.

Of course, I know the truth about what happened in Tiananmen Square.  I’ve seen the pictures.  So it must be the truth, right?

http://www.mandiberg.com/2009/06/02/in-memory-of-the-man-in-front-of-the-tanks-tiananmen-20-years-later/

http://www.alanbutler.info/blog/?page_id=245

Beauty. Then and Now.

September 10, 2009 - 16 Responses

TODAY's ideal woman.

TODAY's ideal woman.

 

I took the Venus of Willendorf and altered her in Photoshop.  Even though no one really knows for sure what her original purpose was, many believe that she was a representation of the ideal woman back in 24,000 BC.  So I thought I’d take her and turn her into the TODAY’S ideal woman.  Isn’t it kinda funny how different our ideas of beauty are now?

What the ideal woman WAS.

What the ideal woman WAS.

A Fable Agreed Upon

September 8, 2009 - Leave a Response

The next assignment for my Electronic Media Studio is to take an image and change it up someway in Photoshop.  That could mean inserting something into the background, altering the photograph itself, etc.  But before we do any of that, we have to read “Photography as a Weapon”  http://morris.blogs.nytimes.com/2008/08/11/photography-as-a-weapon/   This article talks about how altering images changes our perception of history.  It said, “We can go back to Mao and Stalin and Castro and Mussolini, and all these guys. All the dictators doctored photographs in order to effectively change history.”

Reading this made me think of one of my favorite quotes:  “What is history but a fable agreed upon?” -Napoleon.  History is what we want it to be.  It isn’t necessarily reality.  This quote is true now than ever.  With all the technology available to us today, such a Photoshop, it’s become frighteningly easy to distort images.  Whether it’s completing a project for a class, or trying to show the world that you’re a threat (such as the Iranian missile photograph), all it takes is a few minutes to twist an image.  To twist our perception of reality.  And now with the internet, everyone in the world can look through the window of your imagined reality.  You just need to post your picture online…on a blog…and your contrived world can be shown to everyone.  One has to wonder, “What kind of reality will we post?”

Altering Myself

September 3, 2009 - One Response

So I had to take a picture of myself and do 2 things:  create a new and improved me and make an old, wrinkly, witch-like me.

me minus a bunch of flaws

me minus a bunch of flaws

hopefully not a glimpse into the future

hopefully not a glimpse into the future

Studying the History of an Infant Invention

August 31, 2009 - Leave a Response
"INTERNET" [aka "A Short History of the Internet"]
So I just finished reading "A Short History of the Internet" for my Electronic Media Studio.  And it kinda made me laugh when I learned that the internet almost seemed like a mistake.  At least the internet that I know and love...and sometimes hate.  First off, the whole system began as a way for the government to communicate long distances after a nuclear bomb.  What those scientists didn't expect was an explosion of knowledge, pop culture, gossip, and chatting to occur.  Their invention was made for a specific few.  For those who are meant to read mail with the words "TOP SECRET" stamped across it.  Instead, they created something that almost every person in the world can use.  And not just rocket scientists or government officials use that nifty little invention of theirs.  Any Jo Schmo who can click a mouse can use it.  Kinda funny isn't it?  What was once supposed to be this elitist, secretive network of codes has become the one thing that is common enough to unify the entire world.
http://w2.eff.org/Net_culture/internet_sterling.history.txt
"Web Work: A History of Internet Art"
The second reading that I had for my class was called, "Web Work: A History of Internet Art."  So we've gone from studying the internet to studying how it pertains to my major.
The really cool thing about this article is that there are links to all of this internet art mentioned in the writing.  It's actually right there in front of you, just a click away.  You don't have to settle for some pixelated image of a painting housed in a museum 5000 miles away.  You can view the art as it was intended to be viewed.  And you can do it...well...anywhere.  It's like a universal museum.  The only admission fee is whether or not you have internet access.  The walls of this museum span as far as your wifi connection.
The problem that internet artists are now facing is whether or not they should become more institutionalized.  That is, whether or not they should allow their work to be viewed under an establishment.  I mean, the whole point of internet art in the first place, was to go against institutions, to find a new, radical way to create art outside of the confines of traditional society.  But then again, putting internet art into museums, not only justifies the internet as a valuable means for art but also establishes its place in history.
So who gets to decide whether or not to "institutionalize" internet art?  The artist?  The community of net.artists in general?  My guess is that it will take a while for internet art to become more mainstream because the artists are most likely afraid of being viewed as a sell out.  But the question arises, "Are they making the art just to be radical?  Or are they trying to convey a deeper message to the world?"  If there  is really more to this internet art than just the shock factor, then what's the problem with putting it in a museum?  Does it take away from the meaning of the piece?
http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m0268/is_9_38/ai_65649375/
Just a Few Thoughts From Me.
I just wanna point out how amazing it is to be studying the history of the internet.  This is not something that's decades upon decades old.  When you think about it, it's a fairly new invention.  Yet it has become so vital to our society, so engrained in our everyday lives that there is already TONS of literature on it!  It's pretty incredible.  It's like we're studying the history of an infant.

Just Existing.

August 28, 2009 - One Response

This weekend will be my first weekend of college.  What will I be doing?  Partying?  No.  Studying?  No.  I’ll just be existing.

For 30 hours, I will place myself in sensory isolation.   This is one of my first assignments for my Concept Studio 1 class:  Be with one’s self through prolonged, sensory deprivation and social isolation.  So that means I can’t talk, hear, see, or interact at all with…well…anyone.  So I’ll be sitting in a room with a blindfold and ear plugs.  I’ll have food and a string leading me to the bathroom.  And I’ll bring my sketchbook.

Is that not the most INTENSE assignment you’ve ever heard?  I’ve told a few people about it already and I’ve gotten 1 of 2 reactions:  “That’s SO COOL!  I wanna do it too!”  Or “What the heck is that supposed to teach you?”  After getting that second reaction, I started asking myself the same question.  Why am I doing this?  Well…the subject of the class is officially called “Concept Studio 1: Self & the Human Being.”  And then a question came to me, “How can I study others if I have never truly studied myself free from outside influences?”  Think about it.  How often do we live without being affected by outside sources?  Unless you live on some deserted island, probably not too often.

So now a whole new slew of questions are littering my mind, “What am I gonna find out about myself?  Will I like the person I find?  And how different is the Sarah everyone knows, versus the Sarah I know, versus the Sarah I will meet in those 30 hours?  And what will I create because of these discoveries?”

Me.  Existing BEFORE isolation.

I’ll let ya know.

The Internet as a Given

August 28, 2009 - Leave a Response

I can’t remember the very first time I used the almighty internet.  I remember my family getting our first computer.  My dad used computers at work and one day, he decided to buy one for the family.  To a little kid, a computer is a pretty cool thing (It’s still a pretty cool thing as an adult too).  It was this very grown-up, high tech, fantasy toy.  The first thing I did was play Disney video games.  Specifically “Hunchback of Notre Dame, the Computer Game.”  Then my memories of the computer become sorta fuzzy.  That old computer got dozens of viruses and broke more times than I can count cause 10-year-old-Sarah didn’t know it wasn’t OK to click on spam.  I took classes in middle school that taught me how to type and navigate through the internet.  And soon, I used the internet everyday.  Let me say that again.  I use the internet everyday.  I can’t remember the last time I went an entire week without using the internet.  But I still can’t remember the first time I actually used the internet.  For so long, it’s just been a given that I’d have internet access available to me that I didn’t even take the effort to notice my inaugural use of it.  Today in class, my professor said, “Some things are so familiar that people don’t really see them at all.”  The internet is just so familiar to me at this point that I really don’t appreciate what a miraculous thing it is.  So what does that say?  That I’m spoiled?  That my generation is spoiled?  That we’re all so caught up in the instant gratification of the web that we can’t even stop to think and recall what should be a momentous occasion in our life?  I’m not really sure….

Hello world!

August 26, 2009 - One Response

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