Saturday, December 7, 2013
Wednesday, November 20, 2013
These components are all present in one thing I've enjoyed for years: music videos. Well-made music videos perfectly combine all four elements to create a piece of artwork. And yes, some are more provocative and sexual than others; but there are some really cool videos out there.
Here are some of my favorites:
All of these started with a song, then an idea, then a person or a team of people came up with visuals and BOOM, AWESOME MUSIC VIDEO. Obviously, there are bad music videos out there, but the people who make them are still engaged in this creative process (in some way, shape, or form).
Adolphe also writes:
Music is not merely feelings:
it is the form and pattern of experience
the space before words and after
the echo of dreams
the axis of energy
the resonance of action:
Music is the sum of all our memories,
even those we have forgotten,
reborn as gesture and inflection,
the shape of memory itself (58).
This really spoke to me. I often associate songs with specific feelings or experiences. For example, the song "Semi-Charmed Life" by Third Eye Blind makes me really happy. I don't know why, it just does. On the other hand, the song "Lips of an Angel" by Hinder makes me sad (for a really embarrassing reason that I am not going to explain on the Internet...) Music makes me feel like I'm not alone. It gives me hope. It makes me feel good. It makes me feel, period. And that's why I find it so important.
Last, Adolphe comments, “By listening we cross boundaries, come closer to the guts of music, closer to our own music, and to the spinning mystery” (104). We need to listen in order to understand the world and be inspired by it; something easier said than done.
Monday, November 18, 2013
All Park students (communications students) at my school are required to take a class called S'Park: Igniting Your Future in Communications, which is inconveniently on a Wednesday night. Because of the class, I missed a lecture that Stephen Greenblatt, the author of The Swerve, gave at our school. So now I'm R E A L L Y C O N F U S E D.
|Stephen Greenblatt casually posing with his book, The Swerve.|
|Hi Connie <3|
Anyway, here's what I got from the videos:
1. Lucretius said that "the world consists of an...infinite number of invisible, unbreakable...paritcles which the Greeks called atoms."
2. Sex is not bad, but you must have a relationship in order to have it (not really how it works now, but whatever...)
3. You should not be afraid of death. It has nothing to do with you; you'll live and die like everyone on this planet.
4. Don't expect infinite pleasures or infinite pain. You are limited.
|My face after watching the videos.|
6. You should experience the light and wonder that you exist.
|It's ya boi Lucretius!!! #hollah|
Thursday, November 14, 2013
|Cathedral of Saint John the Divine in NYC|
|How we felt after seeming Karmin.|
Monday, November 11, 2013
I guess my appreciation for photography didn't kick in until after middle school. I didn't want to destroy these works of art. I mean, I consider them art--most people probably consider them annoying advertisements. But when I read a magazine I really look at every single photograph on every single page.
One thing I've always wondered was how much work goes into creating something. An advertisement, a movie, a TV show, a song, everything. I want to know who is involved, what they do, and how they do it. That's part of the reason why I'm a TV-Radio major: I enjoy the production side of things.
That being said, it was somewhat difficult for me to cut the lips out of basically every single person in the two magazines I used (Seventeen and Cosmopolitan). I felt like I was ruining these photographers' and editors' hard work, stealing it and adding it to my own piece. It just made me feel weird.
And so, here it is:
|Here it is up close and personal.|
As I made this collage, I thought about a couple of different ways I could interpret it. I didn't have one clear message that I wanted to express as I created it...so here are a few different ones:
1. Making people smile makes me happy. I wanted to portray that with all the smiles. Pretty simple.
2. The importance of communication. What a person says means so much to me, whether it's online, over a text, or in person. I feel like many arguments we (I say "we" as in college students) have start with a communication error.
3. People will talk about you. No matter what, some people will like you, and some people will hate you. And you can either let it be in the foreground of your life (like what you see in my collage) or you can learn to accept it and move on, focusing on other things (like the background of my collage. Which is hard to see, yet it's still there).
You can decide which interpretation you like the best, or create your own.
Tuesday, November 5, 2013
That's why I like social media. It gives me a voice I never really had. In my school I was my class's Vice President. (Yay student government). But our administration was so strict that whenever I (or anyone else for that matter) had an idea for an event it was shot down immediately. And if you know me, you know I have A LOT of ideas. It was always a no. Every. Single. Time.
That hurt. I was supposed to have a voice. I was elected by my peers to be their voice. And then I was denied one. Not okay. (And so I will never ever be involved in government again).
Here's an example: My friend Dustin and I (who was also involved in student government) wanted to start a Song of the Day at our school--we'd play one song at the beginning of each day right after the announcements to wake people up and put them in a better mood for their first period class. We made up a whole plan and then showed our Vice Principal, who we thought was open to new and exciting ideas (because he said so). He gave us big no.
Okay, I'm sorry for ranting about my high school administration...Now back to my point.
Contrary to what Deresiewicz believes, I'm not trying to become a celebrity. When I post a picture on Instagram, I don't think "if this doesn't get at least 40 likes, I'm going to delete it." I know some people who do think this way, but I'm not one of them. If people see it, they see it. If they don't, they don't. I just hope that by posting that picture I made at least one person smile or laugh or react in some way.
That's my personal goal when it comes to social media. I want to make people laugh. Perhaps that plays back into my biggest strength: woo. (which you can read about in one of my previous blog posts). I want to make people laugh so that they like me. I'm not trying to become famous.
So maybe I do agree with much of what Deresiewicz is saying. However, this was hard to read because I feel like I'm doing something wrong in my life. Do I need to spend more time alone? Deresiewicz feels that we need to spend more time in solitude in order to learn about ourselves. However, I learn the most about myself through my actions. I spend time alone each day for an hour at the least. And for me, that's enough. I need to be around other people to be happy. I'm a very social person. I believe that's the way I am just because. Not because technology has made me this way. With that in mind, social media helps me enjoy my life. It doesn't make it so that I'm scared of spending time alone; rather, it helps me reach more people than I ever could have imagined.
Sunday, October 20, 2013
|Anna Deavere Smith|
I'm excited to talk about the play more in class because I really want to know exactly what everyone thought of it. I can't assume we all have the exact same opinions. One thing I really appreciated about the play was the lighting and stage design. It looked really great. And the transitions between each character's monologues was very well done; the music definitely added a lot to it. Also, the actors had incredibly convincing accents. Still, even though the performance was amazing, the play just did not really do it for me.
In The Role of Theatre Criticism, Ran Xia says that literary critics' words "can partly decide the life or death of a piece of art." I definitely agree with this. Critics provide various viewpoints for people to agree with or disagree with, which helps them form opinions of their own about something.
Here's an example: Miley Cyrus's performance at the 2013 MTV Video Music Awards (which you can watch right here). This may not be a typical piece of art, but it is a performance nevertheless. So Miley goes out on stage after carefully planning and rehearsing and performs her set. Robin Thicke joins her, then she exits the stage as he continues to perform. No big deal, right? Wrong. The media BLEW UP. People reacted to it in many ways. Some absolutely hated it, calling her racist and inappropriate, and others believed in her vision and had no issues with Miley doing her own thing.
The point is that people agreed with or disagreed with what the critics said about the performance and because of the
|Miley Cyrus at the VMA's|
"What it all comes down to is that America as a whole—white, black and everything else—is subject to a jolly, messy and multiracial cult of openness, informality and raunchiness. Everybody seems to find that just luscious when describing Harlem 90 years ago. More recently, we have accepted this in rap—to diss the vulgarity is considered elderly, and grumbling about white rappers like Vanilla Ice as interlopers is yesterday’s conversation; Eminem is one of the boyz. But let a little white girl spin her posterior in open-hearted celebration of the “uptown” culture she has grown up drinking in and she’s a white man corking up and playing dumb sometime during the McKinley Administration. Sorry–this is people too caught up in yesterday’s battles to perceive the nation moving ahead. I believe you, Miley Cyrus." —John McWhorter, The New Republic
To conclude, critics do play a large role in the life or death of a piece of art. I already have my own personal feelings about Fires in the Mirror; however, reading some criticisms about it or speaking with the director may alter my opinion.
Wednesday, October 16, 2013
Thursday, October 10, 2013
I care a lot about music. Which is weird since I don't play any instruments. I like all different types of music: pop, hip-hop, country, dance, electronic, R&B, indie, alternative, dubstep, rock. I will pretty much listen to anything. Except screamo, because it scares me a little bit.
In Why We Need Music, Andrew Ford says that although music is abstract, it defines our humanity. "Music is society's soul," he writes, "In one or more of its various forms, music is present in most of our lives and, at some level, essential to our cultures." Making and performing our own music is how we engage with our musical traditions and how we preserve, critique, and nurture them.
Ford discusses three steps to understanding music:
1. Find music that you like. This will lead you to other music you like.
2. Find music that you don’t like or understand. Then learn about it until you understand it.
3. Play, sing, improvise, and compose music.
A few years ago I found music that I didn't understand: EDM, or electronic dance music. People in my town went from listening to what was on the iTunes top ten to this fast-paced dance music I had never heard before. The music had barely any lyrics, and I had issues with this. I wanted music I could sing along with--not music that was a repetition of beats, climbing until a singer would say an ambiguous line, and then the base would drop. Dubstep music has a similar format, so I didn't quite understand that genre either. I thought, why would people pay money to watch a guy push play on a laptop, turn some knobs, and then jump up and down. (Like this.)
But as I kept listening to more EDM and dubstep, I started to like it and appreciate what the artists were doing. Skrillex makes songs on his laptop on the road using computer software and I think that is the coolest thing. That means that maybe I, with no musical talent, can be a musician.
|My favorite female DJs, Nervo.|
It was so much fun. The energy was insane. People were dancing and cheering for hours. It made me want to become a DJ like Nervo. I got a little taste of what it's like to DJ when I DJ'd a party last weekend. Everyone was on their feet, dancing and singing. It felt awesome to know that I had done that for them. I hope I get the opportunity to DJ again soon because I had an indescribable amount of fun.
|Afrojack, David Guetta, and Nicky Romero at Tomorrowland.|
|Things get a little messy at Life In Color.|
|Ok, very messy.|
Sunday, October 6, 2013
|Yay Creativity and the Arts!!!|
And now here's a poorly shot video of that kick ass bassoonist/superhero:
Wednesday, October 2, 2013
I like to think that I know who I am pretty well. I've know who I am for years actually; probably since seventh or eighth grade.
My top five strengths were:
In the book, Rath describes Woo as follows:
"Woo stands for winning others over. You enjoy the challenge of meeting new people and getting them to like you. Strangers are rarely intimidating to you. On the contrary, strangers can be energizing. You are drawn to them. You want to learn their names, ask them questions, and find some area of common interest so that you can strike up a conversation and build rapport. Some people shy away from starting up conversations because they worry about running out of things to say. You don't. Not only are you rarely at a loss for words; you actually enjoy initiating with strangers because you derive satisfaction from breaking the ice and making a connection. Once that connection is made, you are quite happy to wrap it up and move on. There are new people to meet, new rooms to work, new crowds to mingle in. In your world there are no strangers, only friends you haven't met yet--lots of them" (Rath 169).
|How I look/feel when people like me.|
That's why I promised myself right then and there that I would get a job where I can talk and interact with people every single day. Young people, old people, normal people, unique people. Interacting with any person makes me happy. I need to be social to enjoy my life.
|Elvis Duran and the Z100 Morning Show in the studio.|
I need to constantly be interacting with different people, yet I struggled with this my senior year of high school. Well, I didn't struggle, but many people around me struggled to recognize this fact of my life. People in my town are very, very clique-y. If you don't have a defined, exclusive group of friends, people look down upon you. And I didn't like that. I had a group of best friends in the beginning of the year, but as I became more and more involved in extracurricular activities, (volleyball, track, yearbook, volunteering) I started to grow apart from those friends. Sure, I always had a few best friends, but I was no longer part of that specific group. I didn't mind, because I liked knowing a ton of different people. Being able to walk through the halls of my high school and know 80% of the people I saw was comforting. Not being invited to hang out with my old group of friends however, was not. I don't think they realized that I had to be involved in many different things. It was the only way I could get to know everyone at the same time. The athletes, the artists, the nerds, the philanthropists. I couldn't be a part of one group and get to know all these different types of people. In my hometown, that was impossible.
|Wow these silhouettes are soooo social.|
When people around here say "Ugh I can't wait to go home!" I just sit there and say, "What? Why would you want to go home?" The people at IC are so much more open to each other than in my town. Maybe it's because we have to be, since we're all new to school and everything. But hopefully it's because people are ready to be open-minded and connect with each other as much as they possibly can. (Or that could just be my positivity kicking in...)
|Dustin and me. (Buddies for life yo).|
Tuesday, October 1, 2013
This used to happen to me all the time in high school. I'd be writing a paper for a class when I'd hear "Samantha, dinner!" And I would scream back, "I'm in the zone, Mom. I can't eat now!" So I got used to reheating the dinner from that night.
It happened a lot in my Creative Writing class as well. I would write continuously for the entire period, and then be forced to stop by the screeching bell commanding me to go to my next class. I can't leave now!! I thought. (And then the song "I Can't Stop" by Flux Pavillion would start playing in my head).
I'm always thinking about what my next idea is going to be for a project, or a story I'd like to write one day. Which is why I have so many random notes saved in my phone. When I'm bored I'll look back at the notes and edit them, add to them, take things out, etc. Tchaikovsky talks about the creative process, saying: "The process is something more than copying; it is actually a critical examination, leading to correction, occasional additions and frequent curtailments.” A lot of my ideas never take off, yet some of them develop and become realities.
I think part of the reason why my group's Golden Doorknob film is working out so well (thus far) is because no one interrupted our creative flow. Dana, Taylor, and I literally sat at a table in the campus center dining hall for hours just talking. No one had to go to class or finish writing a paper. We developed and wrote a storyboard for the project that day. Then we began searching for other people who wanted to help us out, and would be just as excited as we were about the video. That helped our creative process as well. When people aren't constantly belittling your ideas, you get stuff done. "Teamwork makes the dreamwork," my senior year English teacher always used to say.
|Dana and our amazing editor, Andrew in post-production.|
Sunday, September 29, 2013
A few weeks ago, my friends Dana, Taylor, and I went to see Dave Franco, Chris Mintz-Plasse and the rest of the hilarious bros that make up Funny or Die, speak at Park. They talked about how amazing it is to work on projects with your friends and how they came up with the ideas behind some of their popular videos. Later that week, Dana, Taylor, and I decided to make a film for the Golden Doorknob Awards, a short film contest where the only requirement is that someone or something must be "terminated" by a doorknob.
At first we were thinking of taking a dramatic route, but then we thought back to Dave and Chris's popular Funny or Die videos. It was the dark humor and "homo-eroticism" (as they called it) that made them so funny. Inspired by their videos, the idea behind our short film started to unfold. And so we came up with this plot for our video:
I'm a co-producer, co-writer, and co-director for the film, but I was also the person in charge of audio. In my Intro to Audio class I'm learning just how important sound is in a film. Music has the ability to move people: make them laugh or cry. Without sound, a movie wouldn't be as funny, sad, dramatic, or happy.
|The soccer bros.|
|This is how I wear lipstick.|
|That's a wrap on day one!|
|Falling with friends.|
|The T and D of STD Productions.|
|Joel loves nachos.|
|Ermahgerd it's Eddie!!|
|And JR!!! #letsgetcreative|
Monday, September 16, 2013
First, MC discusses the four main problems that humans have with achieving creativity:
1. Some of us are exhausted by too many demands, and so having trouble getting hold of and activating our psychic energy in the first place.
2. We get easily distracted and have trouble learning how to protect and channel whatever energy we have.
3. Laziness, or lacking discipline for controlling the flow of energy.
4. Not knowing what to do with the energy one has.
I feel like many people in the United States and in other economically driven countries have a habit of getting stuck in a routine. Trapped, I should say. They wake up, go to a job they do not even like that much, go home to their families, complain about their job, go to sleep, wake up and do it all over again. It's rare that I hear a parent in my hometown rave about how awesome their job is, and how much they love waking up in the morning and going to the office. In fact, I have only heard that from a few teachers in my school district; I'd say I've met about five or six teachers who truly love their job.
|Somebody is bored...|
People become so preoccupied with their jobs and families that they do not have time to sit down, think, and be creative. MC says that we take "refuge in passive entertainment [to keep] chaos temporarily at bay, but the attention it absorbs gets wasted. On the other hand, when we learn to enjoy using our latent creative energy so that it generates its own internal force to keep concentration focused, we not only avoid depression but also increase the complexity of our capacities to relate to the world" (Csikszentimihalyi). People get so caught up in their routines to avoid letting their minds wander, when really, they need to let their minds do just that. By allowing yourself to relax, think, and be curious, creative thought may come naturally; and this creativity could potentially help a person with his work, family, and life in general.
|So. Frickin. Curious.|
These routines contribute to the loss of curiosity as a person ages. When you're five, you have all the time in the world to be curious about everything around you. Once you have a job, a family, and other responsibilities, though, free time decreases exponentially. He says we must learn to be curious again, just like when we were children, and find joy in the little things in life.
|This is from a web series called The Most Popular Girls in School.|
|Sweet Brown is wrong, ladies and gents. |
You gotta make time to relax.