Final Self-Eval **Updated

The project work that I ended up dealing with for the majority of the summer session became somewhat a surprise to me. I knew that a lot of the ideas I was previously concerned with (biopower, surveillance/technology, intimacy/identity politics, and communicative affect/gesture) would transfer over to this ILC, but I wasn’t exactly sure how or in what ways. I had been working with these themes since the start of fall quarter (2014), and they have since carried out/over into every other project I have generated throughout the school year. It was with this ILC that I think I finally learned — this sort of work may very well be the kind of work that I continue to do for the remainder of my time at Evergreen.

I gave myself Adobe Flash CC as the primary means to making my project. Because it was a software that I had never used before, most of my process became about researching and experimenting with it. I spent the first week doing only this, and by the second week I had created my first (very short) text animation. The entire first half of the session went a lot like this — watching Adobe Flash tutorials, animating text, researching New Media topics, taking notes on surveillance and technology, and performing timed writings to generate poetry. Needless to say, with all this happening at once, I got frustrated and overwhelmed very quickly. By the time I submitted my first portfolio I became even more discouraged. The portfolio included only research and prose-poetry elements and not a single visual/media file. It was at this point in time that I switched over altogether, from working with the technical and contextual details to (solely) the act of making media.

My “final piece” (which I have loosely given the name TRAVERSE1) turned out to be a roughly three minute video and two minute audio file (existing separately). My original intent was to assemble them together in Adobe Flash, animate scrolling text, and add interactive features (such as click-able buttons) to allow the viewer to create a more intimate relationship with the work. Unfortunately, because of a lack of time and the difficulty I had in trying to navigate the Flash software, I wasn’t able to complete my vision. I was extremely upset about this at first. I was convinced that I had failed, but then the more I thought about it, the more I realized how important it was for me to have been able to create what I did. For the amount of time I had at my disposal, I committed myself to a great deal of work. I will be able to leave this ILC with the raw materials, ideas, and information to continue foraging in this territory where media-making meets literary practice.

//// CONTINUATION: / ARTIST STATEMENT / COMMENTARY ON PIECE ////

In the video, a lot of focus is put on my hands as they embroider a nightgown. At the very start of the video, my one hand is seen placed in the center of the screen, slowly exiting/pulling backward to the left side. Then, as soon as it is completely out of sight, it re-enters, pushing slowly back toward the center. It begins to flash, in and out of visibility, as it once again disappears.

What is it about this sort of entering and exiting that evokes a sense of something lost or desired? What is it about this sort of entering and exiting that elicits fear? Of disembodiment? And consequently, how does the hand call attention to its owner? Who are they? Where are they? What is this space? Regardless of this space being real or imagined — one must ask, how does the hand’s existence, in all its whiteness and thinness, position itself? (Literally with each movement/gesture, and contextually within the very privileged space it occupies in society). It is important for me (as I watch these images of my hand//produce a piece of work like this) to ask questions and think critically about my existence in the world as a thin, white person who is also learning how to navigate their more complex and hidden parts of their identity … ((((MY HAND IS CONNECTED TO MY BODY)))). As I think more about the gendered nature of this project, I know I must also ask, how may my hand be seen as the hand of a woman? What do women’s hands do? What are they capable of? What does it mean to be designated female at birth? How is my gender identity or expression coopted by social capital and cis/hetero-normativity? How are nightgowns coded according to gender?

I am thinking about complicity within these violent systems, and how to work actively against it.

(I am thinking about ways to be tender with myself.)

~*

A meeting takes place here, between various, complex and interwoven internal and external forces placed upon my body. In this multi-media exploration I attempt to interrogate these forces and their co-inhabitance. I continue to ask questions about my hands and how they operate in accordance with my self-interest for tenderness. How can they perform a radical self love and healing through the process of embroidering? With each pass of the needle through my nightgown, I meditate on this.

I meditate also on the connection that is held at the intervals of virtual and IRL space. What does it mean to animate text with software while simultaneously embroidering that very same text into a (soft) fabric? How do my hands travel on, in, between, and beyond these opposing realms? Traveling through time and space, a new narrative is born, unbeknownst to the text already present.

In this way, my hands (as vessels, travellers, healers, and writers) traverse my affective body and its own pain. They trace my traumatic memories and the collective historical landscapes of ache that surround it. I think about my nightgown as a garment that also holds a lot of this ache; it spends nights with me when I feel closest to departure. Enduring multiple panic attacks, nightmares, and incidents of sleep paralysis, this nightgown knows (just as well as I) what my body feels when it is at “rest”. And so, I spent hours at a time (in the dark, with a flashlight in my mouth) telling it this story.

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Studio Experiments

https://www.dropbox.com/s/flmmloxduk8mpcp/MVI_8666.MOV?dl=0

https://www.dropbox.com/s/xjao53e1w633jtx/MVI_8669.MOV?dl=0

These video clips are linked via dropbox because the files sizes were to large to share on vimeo. I’ve included them here mostly to show what DIDN’T WORK. It is important for me to think about my “failed” attempts and what made them “failures” to begin with.

In the first video you can see me attempting to hang a translucent piece of cellophane in-between the projector and white wall. This is a technique I have used in the past, but with multiple, larger CLEAR pieces of cellophane. The translucent-ness of the cellophane used here did not give me the effect I was hoping for.

In the second video you can see the embroidered nightgown hanging in-between the projector and white wall. I liked this method better than the cellophane, because it felt much more significant to have the recording — of the physical act and labor of me embroidering — literally projected onto (and therefore, also held inside of) the materiality and meta-physicality of the nightdress. In this video you can also see me playing with the aperture of the camera to create multi-color, multi-dimensional lines flashing on the screen. This confirms the digital/virtual nature of the project, and once again points towards questions about language and translatability.

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EVALUATION OF WORK (2nd portfolio)

Description of work:

How does the process of animating text with (soft)ware compare to the process of embroidering text with (soft) fabrics?

How does this translate?

I TRAVERSE

 

I have been thinking a lot about trauma and how it gets translated/transferred into my dreams. Recently I have been experiencing frequent panic attacks before sleep. This causes not only my dreamscape to change dramatically, but also my body’s heart rate and my mind’s ability to decipher what is real and what isn’t.

The visual aids that I used for this project came from a reoccurring dream I’ve been having for the last few months. In the dream there is a bright white-blue light coming out of my eyes like a flash light. I am in a dark space but everything is illuminated from behind my eyes. I am searching. In the short video I made, I use a flashlight as my only light source while embroidering. Instead of behind my eyes, I held the flashlight in my mouth. I was able to achieve the same effects, and while reinacting this, I felt like I was really being transferred back in my own dream. The poem that I was embroidering was one I wrote in spring. (You may recognize it from my Mediaworks application). It is a poem that feels very important to me, and in a lot of ways has also come out of my dreams. I’ve memorized it in full, but until this video project, I haven’t really done much with it. I wanted to give it the space it needed. It took over 8 hours to embroider.

 

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cast out calling not calling looking for(lorn)
receiving form in a mold as in as is the shape of the bed when
not opposite a body
alarming feeling so alarmed when the walls (when the)
when the steam fills the tiny boxes

bathed in
suburban kitchen witch you are

cupping the rose water in one hand cupping your flat ass in one hand
cupping like predestine like foreordain fortune fucking asking for no relief when
checking the emails from the long lost fathers
no still not asking for a balm to
w(arm) between

your and your when the
and the
no still (not yet) asking for affiances

twenty-one honey apophyllite lavender

closing up the blouse closing off the face
you are when you (when the) like looking up in all the places
handsome gentleman
sixth button
who’s grabbing at your collar?

the full moon is falling

on the day the house was reclaimed six months exact from the day you were b(orn) and twenty-nine days old
the full of fear
the four hundred dollar carpet clean selling price unknown
the house wanes
you say your survival is necessary for the first time
and how could you be(lieve) (it) ()

////////////////

 

Self-Evaluation:

Although I was not able to convert the video/audio components into a Flash animation, I feel that the two raw files exist on their own in a way that is still engaging. I am overall happy with the new techniques I used to edit the video in Adobe Premiere. It has been a while since the last time I used Premiere, so I was excited to start up with it again and teach myself some new skills. It felt like a challenge to reconsider the old ways I had thought about producing images and combining them with this software. It was also interesting for me to note how I interacted with this Adobe program in comparison to Adobe Flash CC, which I spent most of this summer session working with. I encountered less technical problems with Premiere, but felt that I was missing out on all the fun of problem-solving in Flash. Flash CC has definitely given me a lot of grief, but I am still exited to work with it in the future and continue to grapple with and (eventually) master some of the techniques I’ve discovered thus far. Overall, this was an explorative process for me. I am very critical of myself and the work I produce, but I don’t think I have failed. I may have started something new that I will never truly finish, but I am devoted to this kind of never-ending back and forth work.

Also, as a quick note on the audio production: it felt really gratifying to record this audio track. Recently I have been thinking a lot about what it means to create instrumental/rhythmic/vocal sounds meant to coincide with visual information. I’ve been really shy about my music making in the past and have kept most of my work strictly personal (for my own ears only), but including the audio in this project has really helped me to see the potential in bridging this gap (between my personal music making and video/media project explorations). A lot of untold power thrives within the sonic organization of a film.  I want to experiment with this more in the future, and I happy that this small project has made me feel more confident and capable of doing so.

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text-animation

A LINK TO MY FIRST FLASH EXPERIMENT

short, looping poem i wrote. the background is a distorted .img of the moon taken on my cell phone. this animation originally contained a video of shadow shapes moving about/interacting with the rising (fragmented) text, but the video did not export properly (this is why the animation turns suddenly white towards the end).

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traverse 1 audio

 

 

 

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