For our conceptual unit, we were encouraged to find unique and accurate ways of portraying messages and emotions through various methods. In English, we read and created short stories and dissected poetry before creating our own. In Design, we took creative photos in an attempt to display our concept statement, mine was exploring the feeling of desire through “I walk alone”. In Digital Media, we did several different projects, some of which branched off of our English assignments. We made videos for both our spoken word and free-verse poems and so both our Design and English classes had parts in our major conceptual projects.
In the conceptual unit, we learned a lot of the basics of what will make our future projects. We learned how to use Adobe applications and Pro Tools in order to change the ways that the things we create look and sound. The conceptual unit has been an amazing learning experience that has created the building-blocks for everything we plan to do for the next two years.
We have written many poems in English, the first of which was a Haiku, a more detailed description of that specific project can be found in the “Haiku” section of the website. Our second poem was a free-verse poem was required to be about ten to 15 lines long and was based on our concept statements. As mentioned in the “Haiku” section, my concept statement was exploring the feeling of desire through “I walk alone”. Our third poem was a ekphrastic poem about any piece of art that we found interesting while on our trip to the SFMOMA. An ekphrastic poem is a poem based on a piece of art that either provides critique or deepens the meaning or understanding of the original artwork. Our fourth poem was a spoken word poem which was also based on our concept statements.
My Ekphrastic poem was meant to show my interpretation of a piece of artwork I found in the San Francisco Museum of Modern Arts while on a field trip with the students and teachers at Freestyle Academy. The art was very bright and had many vivid colors that made my imagination run a bit. The fact that their is a transparent man in the middle of all this colorful scenery really struck a cord with me and made me think of a story that might go along with the painting.
She swings and twirls to music
only she can hear.
Clinging to someone
only she can see.
The town square lights,
her aqua dress on fire.
An ocean in a scorching desert
only she can feel the heat.
The thumping of her chest urges her
only she can keep this memory alive.
And for him
would lose herself in the past.
Spoken Word Poem
I have been able to reflect more on myself and how I feel about certain things in life in the poetry unit. Due to my concept statement, I have especially looked at what it is I want in life and why I want those things. I thought about what has driven me through school and through life in general in an attempt to accomplish my goals. The photo and audio productions that have come about as a result of the poetry unit have gotten me more in-touch with my creative side and have made me really excited about the things I will be able to create later with the knowledge I am gaining now.
Free Verse Poem
For our Free Verse project, we were given a bit more freedom in how we were allowed to show our concept statements. First, we wrote the poem, mine was about someone that desired some peace and quiet but was unsettled when their wish was realized. Then, we needed to make a unique song in Pro Tools that was based on the feelings in our poem. After that, we were told to make a video with pictures to show what we had learned in Premiere Pro about changing the orientations of pictures and graphics. Finally, we had to read our poem out loud and put all of the components of the project together to for our final product which you can watch below!
For this haiku assignment, we were asked to use our concept statements to create a metaphorical haiku, my concept statement was exploring the feeling of desire through “I walk alone”. Before creating this video, I edited the haiku a bit and cropped my photo so that it would look better for the video. Creating the video was a very insightful experience, I learned how to utilize Premiere Pro and all the tools that the application has to offer. I found that I really liked making this short video, and now that I know how to make videos like these, I will probably use this application more now for both personal and school-related projects.
This is a screenshot of Premiere Pro, which I used to produce the haiku video.
For this project, we needed to find a mode of transportation that did not have a motor and take several pictures of that vehicle, then edit our best picture in Photoshop. While setting up the bike I used as my mode of transportation, I was trying to think of a unique way to show off the wheels of the bike. I thought that the front wheel would provide a nice border around the top right-hand side of the picture as I focused more on the middle of the bike and the back tire. I leaned the bike on its kick-stand instead of on one of the trees around me because I felt that the picture looked more nonchalant and not as staged. I chose to make the the background mostly out of the stone pathway beneath the bike because I like the aesthetic of the stones and the leaves that are scattered haphazardly on the ground, I think it adds some sincerity to the photo that I really like.
We learned a lot of new things about how to properly use Photoshop. We learned about how to create masks and how to adjust the hue, saturation, and grain in our picture after we had gotten back from the field. In Photoshop, I edited the picture quite a bit. First, I adjusted the lighting, since the bike was in the shade in this picture and I felt that it was a bit underexposed. After that, I actually moved into Photoshop and used the Healing Brush to get rid of part of the blue string on the bike, as well as a few small bits of plastic that were under and around the bike. I also cropped the picture so that the pedal was cut out of the frame, I cropped the picture, because the pedal was bright orange and very distracting and out of place when compared to the rest of the picture which was mostly earthy colors with exception to the bike frame itself.
For my conceptual project, I am exploring the feeling of desire through “I walk alone”. In my photo, there is a vivid purple flower that stands out against the muted greens and wilted purples of the bush behind it. The bright purple flower is the centerpiece of the shot, and draws the viewer's eye directly to it, making the dull, lifeless flowers seem even more unsightly. This shows my artist statement because the colors in the shot make the flower look like it wants to escape the dull bush and find somewhere else where it can thrive. The flower is angled downward a bit to show that it is facing adversity surrounded by the dead and dying flowers that it has been trying to grow with, another reason it is singled-out and desperate to leave.
The flower is meant to symbolize desire as well as being alone, because it is the only flower that is fully thriving in its environment and looks like it is trying to leave the dying bush it is bound to. There is pollen on the petals of the flower to show that the flower is alone and desires to be around other living flowers. The flower is also looking away from the darkest part of the bush, showing that the flower is trying to get away from the darkness and towards the light and freedom.
When editing the photo, I first added a dark vignette to the edges of the picture to make the bush more subdued and to center the flower. Then, I changed the vibrancy of the image, making it more vivid to make the centered flower seem more alive. I then made a copy of only the flower and placed it on top of a mask that made the background. I heightened the contrast in the background to make the bush look more harsh and inhospitable and make the flower look more out of place and desperate to leave the plant life it is attached to.
For this project, we used Pro Tools to create a parody of a song of our choice. I chose “Attention” by Charlie Puth because it was popular and I liked that original song. My inspiration for the lyrics were the several days in school where I have been caught off-guard by a question from a teacher and then had to try my best not to embarrass myself. Since I was already feeling like this project might be embarrassing for me, I was already thinking about times I had been embarrassed and the thoughts just gave me flashbacks of being in a classroom surrounded by peers while trying to stumble around a question that a teacher had posed to me.
Removing the vocals from the track was a very short, albeit complicated, process. First, we had to duplicate the audio and split it into a left and right mono-track. We then inverted the audio of one of the mono tracks to try to get rid of most of the vocals. After we had stripped the audio, we created our own lyrics and placed those on top of the instumentals of the song that we chose.
For my conceptual music, I started with an electronic organ. I chose this instrument specifically because I just liked the way it sounded and reminded me a lot of my grandmother that played the organ at church a lot. From there I tried to draw on some of the history of orthodox churches and how they often pushed out things that were new. This is how I created my music, by adding more and more insistence of new instruments (i.e. the drums and the vacuum) I was symbolizing things like pop culture that were often shoved out. Once the drums and organ got louder and started competing for attention, I cut out the drums to show the church completely denouncing outside culture instead of competing with it. The song was made in Pro Tools, and the beat of the song specifically was made using Boom, which is an application in Pro Tools, the vacuum was created using the vacuum tool.