The conceptual unit was oriented around thinking metaphorically. In English, we explored figurative expression by writing a series of poems, including Haiku, freeverse, ekphrastic, and spoken word poems. In Design, we had an assignment called "Transport", in which we took photos of wheels. We used these photo to express a certain mood, or tell a story through unique angles, lighting, and placement. In digital media, we experimented with audio in Pro Tools, by making and editing music, as well as visual mediums by making videos in Premiere Pro. All of these assignments and more are displayed on this website.
An ekphrastic poem is a poem in response to something, in this case, Mark Di Suvero's steel sculpture "Mahout Vishnu" (1981-89). I wrote the poem with fantastical elements, as well as references to mechanical objects, because the playful design and rounded edges, mixed with the industrial pipe inspired me to imagine a hybrid between fantasy and technology.
Artemis’s Astrolabe, stars ripple in astral fields, an alchemy instrument, a lense for reading star charts. Cyclop’s incense,
sinewy cinnamon scent, brawny bronze pipe, rests on the arm of a giant armchair, in the living room at the top of the bean stalk. Airship’s cloud-vent sky-sick deck boy, the captain is an angel, the pirates fly on dragons, the first mate smokes a pipe.
The Free Verse Poem I created responds to the concept statement "I am exploring the feeling of scorn through the experience of compromise". It was meant to speak to the tension that often builds between people who are forced to share close proximity with each other for long periods of time, and how people can often unintentionally offend each other. I've had this experience with both friends and family, so I was able to use a combination of experiences to achieve the tone I wanted. I alluded to heat several times in the poem, because discomfort often shortens people's temper. As well, it is easier to feel suffocated by people you are traveling with, due to long car rides, cramped hotels, or just unfamiliar settings throwing off people's perceptions of boundaries. Most people travel to hot places during vacations, or they travel in the summer, which is a common setting for arguements in my experience. I used to video medium to enhance the feeling of discomfort in the heat by showing melted things, and used the text feature to make words I wanted to emphasize appear on screen, at the pace I felt was best.
This is a screenshot of my Free Verse Poem video production in Premiere Pro.
This is a screenshot of my Free Verse Poem video production in Pro Tools.
Spoken Word Poem
My spoken word poem was inspired by a specific time in my life, mostly around middle school. I was committed to school work, because my life didn't have as many hobbies or social events to distract me, as most of my peers did, and I consistently got high grades due to my commitment. People around me assumed that school was easy for me, or that I enjoyed it, even though that was not the case. People would try to get close to me, even though we didn't have a lot of chemistry, because they believed that I could help them get higher grades with minimal effort, that I had some sort of secret to success I would divulge if they got close enough to me. I thought this was ridiculous, and that it was dishonest to pretend to be interested in a relationship, when the motivation is purely self beneficial.
The Haiku project was uniquely challenging, because we were required to condense so much meaning into three lines with a strict syllable count. Changing even one word could completely shift the overall tone, sound, message, or effect of the poem.
In order to fulfill the requirements in English class, we had to write a structurally appropriate Haiku in order to answer a concept statement, mine being "I am exploring the feeling of scorn through the experience of compromise." We needed a seasonal allusion, in my case, "snow", and a surprise, or cutting word, which I created by transitioning from "burning", which is hot, abruptly to "snow", which is cold.
In digital media, we enhanced the pacing of our poem, by choosing appropriate transitions between lines, and we ensured a visually interesting experience, by creating a "Ken Burns effect", in which we created a subtle shift in the photo as the video progressed.
This is a screenshot of my haiku video production in Premiere Pro.
The transport assignment required us to take a photo of a wheel at an interesting angle. The vehicle to which the wheel belonged could not be motorized.
I took a photo of the back wheel of a grocery cart, which I placed it in a sunny space on a bed of grass. I decided to place the camera especially close to the back wheel, because it was the biggest one, as well as the most interesting in my opinion, because of the holes and ridges. The reason I used grass as my background is because it has an interesting texture and color, but it is consistent enough so as not to distract from the main focus of the photo, the wheel. I chose to shoot with the most sunlight possible, because while the dark wheel absorbed the light, the already lightly colored grass was made a more vibrant shade of green by the lighting. This made the wheel pop, due to the contrast. As well, the wheel had several ridges on it to increase its structural integrity, so the sunlight beating down on it created some interesting shadows. The overall effect of the photo is very summery, which is appropriate, due to the fact the only reason we have the cart is to carry our fruit from the farmers’ market during summer, when everything is in season. The main association I have with our grocery cart is fresh apples, so I wanted to take a photo that looked sunny and natural to fit that story. In Photoshop, I increased the contrast, in order to make the wheel appear darker, to make the shadows appear more defined and clear, and make the grass look brighter. I also increased the saturation slightly to make the grass look slightly greener. I also removed some distracting blemishes from the center cog, to make the composition look cleaner.
This is a screenshot of my Transport production in Photoshop.
Conceptual Art Project
The requirements for this project was to take a photo of two objects that represented concept statement, the one assigned to me being "the feeling of scorn through the experience of compromise".
I interpreted scorn through compromise as an exercise of restraint, and nobility. If one feels bitter towards another for crossing their boundaries, but still chooses to come to an agreement, they are putting stability above their personal comfort. I chose to represent this with a Foo Dog, because Foo Dogs are not literal interpretations of lions. They are designed to look fierce which is why I used one to represent scorn. However, they are also depicted as extremely noble protectors of their territory. The balance between civility, and territorial fervor was ideal for my concept statement. I to placed the Food Dog in a mannequin hand, because hands are important in relationships. Holding or shaking another's hand is indicative of a relationship. That is how I represented compromise. I placed them on a wooden porch outside, because the wooden surface is man made, but the needles are natural, and coexistence is indicative of compromise. I chose to shoot in in a darker setting, because the shadows seemed like a good representation of persistently lurking bitter feelings.
In Photoshop, I added a vignette, which means to darken the edge of the photo slightly, as a framing device. I also adjusted the light a bit. Afterwards, I selected the Foo Dog using the pen tool, and after feathering, I increased the contrast (only within the boundaries of the selection), while increasing the exposure of everything else, to create contrasting elements. This was the filter I chose, because it exaggerated the shadow on the right of the Foo Dog.
I wrote and performed a parody of Sarah Mclachlan's "I Will Remember You", called "I Want to Game With You". It was a goofy idea I had come up with a few years ago, after playing video games with my sister. In order to make my voice audible over the original vocals, I needed to make several changes to the original audio, such as lowering its volume, editting the left track and right track separately (any audio that is meant to be listened to through headphones has both), and reversing its polarity.
My experimental song started out serious, it was supposed to express anticipation, and readiness for the future. However, I decided that the instrument "Under the Waves", and the synthesizer sounded good together, but also had a bit of a comical clash, so I decided to change my concept. Now, I think the song better expresses the desperation to get homework done, when you are in serious need of caffiene. The song was produced using three different plug-ins in Pro Tools, Boom, virtual drums, Vacuum, a virtual sythesizer, and Xpand, which provided the instrument "Under the Waves." I could manipulate the notes individually in a tool called "MIDI editor", which I used to build my song one note at a time.
This is a screenshot of my music production in Pro Tools.