Thursday, September 29, 2011

the state of pop culture.

The work to the right was done by Roger Shimamura.  As an artist, he focuses on the experiences of Asian Americans. 

Growing up, Shimamura experienced the trauma of the Japanese-American internment camps during World War II and the social stigma and pariah-hood following their closure. 

The original pikachu is originally a Japanese creation that has been indoctrinated by American pop culture, becoming a classic icon in our society.  By superimposing his face onto the original image, Shimamura is putting a Japanese identity back onto a pop icon of Japanese origin.  He reclaims 'Pikachu' from the bastardizing iron fist of American pop culture.  This is my take on his work, even if it is slightly (a lot) more hardcore that its original message.  Then again, art is always subject to interpretation. 

hye yeon nam- a portrait.

When in DC, I came across a Korean artist by the name of Hye Yeon Nam.  She has done several computer-based works, in which she carries out fairly simple tasks like walking and drinking.  However, she does all of them with awkward difficulty because of her methods.  In this particular video, "Self Portrait - Eating", Nam tries to eat a plateful of cherry tomatoes with an incredibly impractical tool, a ruler.

Initially, it seems like a statement about how we, as a species, have learned to utilize only the most pragmatic of methodology.  Hye Yeon Nam is actually making a personal assertion, addressing the difficulties she faces everyday, as a Korean immigrant, trying to adapt to aspects of American culture. 

I truly believe that her work is amazing.  The content is both intriguing and genuine, but the messages behind her videos make the work all the more powerful in the end.

blog that 3

My first thought for presentations was to pick an architectural aspect of one of the three exhibits that I visited and base my talk around that.  However, I realized that everyone would be doing something similar (which isn't too strange considering our major..).  I then thought about the actual paintings and works within the museum walls.  They are a huge part of what gives an exhibit life, beyond the calculated quality of architecture.  In this way, they are integral to the architecture itself.  I was the 6th speaker on presentation day, following Monica.  I felt very confident in front of the audience so most of my talk came across very natural, as if it were a one-on-one conversation.  I definitely provided the context for the pieces of art I discussed.  Unfortunately, I cut
my talk short, as I blundered to a halt without a proper conclusion.

I did not visit the Speaking Center before I spoke.  Honestly, speaking has never been an issue for me.  It's something I've had to do many times growing up.  Even the representative wasn't much use for me.  Most of the things she talked about were things that I'd picked up some place or another.  Really, one of the only things that needs major improvement is my ending.  I got excited that the end was so close, said something 'bastardized pop culture' and passed the buck to Jon.  It will be fixed by the next time.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

blog that 2

 I started with this image shown on the right.  I really felt that the background is too distracting, given the sculpture, so I decided to completely eliminate the treeline, sky, and grass.

After tedious lasso work, I was left me only with the focus of the original photograph: the sculpture and a couple of classmates.  With the filters, angled strokes and cross-hatching, I stylized both, creating the dynamic rendering shown below. Once I had the main subject matter done properly, I felt that scale figures in my rendering were positioned awkwardly.  I invoked artistic license, yet again, and moved the Jepperson figure off to the right, emphasizing the negative space underneath the structure.

I am a fan of the final product.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

future john

I do say 'future john' but don't get your hopes up; he isn't covered in flashy gear or anything like what we would expect in some advanced era.  In this world, John has gone through a divorce, a failed business, and nothing's really gone right for the guy.  The following is what John Jeppeson would look like if these events really got to him and he just stopped trying. This is a portrayal of John if he were some 300 pounds heavier.  Keep in mind that this is merely conjecture so accuracy is impossible to judge. 

I drew this flattering image on our first night in DC.  I honestly believe that John should go for this size so I can judge for myself how true to life it is. 

summer trip. aferca 2011.

Towards the end of this past summer, my family and I went on a trip to Africa.  We hit Uganda and then Tanzania for the last week.  But Tanzania absolutely blew my mind.  A safari generally has that effect.  One of the places we drove through was an massive valley way up in the mountains called Ngorongoro Crater.

We basically drove up through the mountains on a sickening and narrow path until getting up to the rim, nearly 12000 feet over sea level.  The fog here was incredibly thick, but whenever it was lucid, we were less than thrilled to be able to see the treacherous drop to our immediate right, while the left opened right up; you could see for some 10 miles out over sunlit plains before resting on the far edge of the rim beyond.  It was here that our descent into the valley began.

The first thing I noticed was the rapid warming of the air around me.  Temperatures shot up about 20 degrees when we reached the crater floor.  It was a welcome change.  The second was that the animals really didn't seem to care that much about us.  Turns out, they've become completely accustomed to seeing all sorts of obnoxious tourists over the years in their armored land-rovers. Now, they don't care and nothing keeps them from wandering, some times inches away from your vehicle.  This where the zebras came in.

The zebras were the first fauna we came across in the crater.  They saw our jeep approaching from a mile away but continued traveling across the road in a single file line.  Even when we stopped 10 feet away.  My sister snapped a shot of their voyage.  I found it fascinating; this could find a place in National Geographic as far as I'm concerned.  As you can see, there are several bands of color oriented in the same direction.  The mountains, the clouds immediately above them, and the dark strip of savannah below would ordinarily be nothing special.  Then this this harem of zebra comes seemingly out of nowhere, an indiscriminate point far off in the distance.  By cutting through the parallel quality of the rest of the scenery, they take makes this picture beautiful.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

blog that 1

The day we took the walk over to Industries of the Blind, I honestly had no idea what to expect.  Only when we rounded the bend after the bridge did I realize that this was a building I had driven by for over a year and a half.  The lettering at the time had meant nothing to me.  


As we got closer, I appreciated how the building seemed to funnel people under the overhang until we were ushered into an even smaller lobby space.  We then made our way up to the conference room.  On the way up, I couldn’t help but notice and abhor the assortment of plastic plants placed haphazard underneath the stairwell.  It was meant to be an area of relaxation, but at this point, everyone seemed to take the space for granted and it was as good as ignored.  

stairwell to offices.
zen area?

Upstairs in the offices, the situation got no better for me.  It was dull and sterile. Nothing stood out.  The walls were white.  The ceiling was lined by harsh ‘hospital’ lighting.  Overall, it was just another cliché office area.  In the actual conference room, the president of the company, David LoPresti took time to talk to our group.  He went over the variety of amazing products that emerge from the factory floor, from the pen that writes underwater to the official neck guard of the army that saves lives on a daily basis.    

reception area.

conference room.

factory floor.
 After a short diatribe, LoPresti began leading us through the factory floor.  For the initial portion of the journey, I was fairly distant.  That changed upon observing and meeting several of the actual workers.  Many of them were considered legally blind, but they were performing tasks on complex machines, a feat that I cannot consider anything short of amazing.  Not only that but, they were expected to perform at a high level of quality.  LoPresti picked up a pair of gym pants and told how a single string out of place was reason enough to have the garment sent back for work.  Had I been in charge, I feel that I wouldn’t be able to help but have a different attitude and more leniency towards my workers in light of their disabilities.  However, that kind of attitude can be more detrimental than anything else.  They are like anyone else and should be treated normally.
employee of the month (i forgot her name D:).

but, she will be attending a conference for her outstanding work. :D
the camo cutter.

As we continued our tour, we were shown through a corridor that housed a massive precision fabric cutter.  A giant roll of camo was being fished through a gap and the cutter was creating the same pattern in about every 12 feet of material.  I had a hunch that this would be going towards military flak jackets.  And once again, I was very impressed that this company was doing such important work for the soldiers out in the field.  

One of the last rooms was particularly impressive.  There were two rows of employees working on mounting the actual neck guard into fabric.  That was nothing special.  By now, I had also become accustomed to seeing disabled workers doing great things and this was no different.  That was also normal.  What blew me out of the water was the LED productivity sign.  This room was running at 150 percent!  That is amazing anywhere! 

It was a collection of all of these experiences which gave me the respect that I have for the people in this company.  They are truly beating the odds everday and in many cases, also the competition.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

a walk through ghm.

Voices Exhibit. 
     Upon first entering the Voices exhibit, the visitor must follow a curving path into a larger room.  Along this path, there are quotes and phrases in different sizes, ornamenting the walls.  This immediately gives the observer the vibe that these are the “voices” that are meant to be heard in the exhibit.  When I first saw a timeline composed completely of pictures that related to major events in our past.  It was quite interesting to see how Greensboro is connected to the rest of the nation in terms of these events.  Honestly, I didn’t realize that our town played such an integral role in our country’s history.    Also, it is natural for people to take our past for granted.   That is why I appreciate the use of pictures rather than words in the timeline.  It puts faces on events, making it easier to for us to appreciate our past.    The rest of the Voices exhibit the different groups that settled in Greensboro over time.  There was a particular focus on segregation and the struggle of African Americans to achieve equality.  One point which caught my attention was the small exhibit for the Greensboro sit-ins.  In 1960, four students sat down at a white-only counter and refused to leave until the store closed.  Overall, the point of the exhibit was to portray Greensboro’s efforts to claim unity out of the dregs of institutionalized injustice.  It is impossible to sum up an entire identity as an idea as brief as that, but that is what I will resort to.  Greensboro is portrayed in the Voices exhibit as a growing socioeconomic center in the wake of a newly found harmony.  

 Period rooms and Pottery.

When it comes down to the pottery exhibit and the period rooms, I felt that the latter bested the former by far, in terms of interest level.  When I first entered this area, I was immediately drawn to the pottery cases, simply because the harsh, artificial lighting demanded it.  It makes sense that this is a good way to display objects, but you cannot ask for a more uninviting method of doing so.  It completely sterilizes the pottery of its humanity.  However, I do not quite know if this response is based on a dislike for the desensitizing display cases or my complete lack of interest in the pottery as subject matter.  Perhaps a combination of the two.  The period rooms, however, were a welcome diversion from the central pottery space.  At the time, I remember appreciating the flow into that area, as an escape and refuge, anyway.  The rooms around this outer circular area managed to revive that emotion that was stripped away moments ago.  First off, the lighting was much softer than for the pottery.  It makes it a much more natural way of experiencing a space, rather than exposing every nook and cranny to harsh hospital lighting.  Early on, the light in the period rooms was nice, but as I made my way around the circle, it only managed to get dimmer and dimmer, to the point of barely being able to see anything in the last room.  If anything should change, I would like it to be the consistency of lighting around this particular walk.  When placed side by side with the pottery, the period rooms have a greater sense of identity.  They give the observer a solid sense as to what the lifestyle may have been like in those spaces, whereas the pottery does nothing more than look pretty.

belle meade bedroom.

Gate City.

The Gate City exhibit was quite enjoyable.  I appreciated how it was essentially a large replica of an old town.  It introduced an entirely new humanizing aspect to the space by making it one which can directly be experienced by the visitor.  The first thing which caught my attention as I crossed through the glass doors was the ambiance.  There are sounds playing in the background, contributing to the ‘entourage’ in the exhibit- honking cars, laughter, etc.  At almost the same time, I noticed a large tree stationed in the center of the exhibit.  On my left, I found a firehouse, a pharmacy, and a schoolhouse.  In the schoolhouse, the representation of the teacher freaked me out.  I understand that it’s supposed to make the area more relatable but that could have been right out of the Twilight Zone.   When it comes to circulation for Gate City…well, there was none.  All the mini exhibits surrounded a plaza area.  After seeing one spot, the visitor bounces back to the plaza, resetting for another dive on another tangent.  However, this makes the area unique, as the observer can create his own flow in the space.  Circulation is a matter of preference.  But is this chaos a welcome concept? Or should the visitor be led through the space in a meaningful manner?  Overall, this space does make one want to believe that it be inhabited by a people.  It has an identity that takes one back to the old times when Greensboro was first hitting industrial change.  

Down Home.
“Down Home” was actually the first exhibit I visited, given its convenient location in relation to the entrance.  I found the orientation of the glass cases interesting.  They formed a circle, as if people were meant to earn access into closed off space.  Then, the video, playing in loop, caught my attention.  It drew me into the center of the circle and at once the exhibit made sense.  That was my access point and it would allow a visitor to experience all the contents of the glass cases.  However, it is still very clear that this is only a temporary exhibit.  No special measures were taken to give the area a sense of completion.  Just by placing the cases on one end of the lobby does not give it reason to be there.  I feel that the surrounding walls in that area of the lobby had a very particular set of edges.  That being said, it would have been nice if the placement of the cases were based off of this setup.  The actual merit of the exhibit’s information, on the other hand, is quite a different story.  It follows the Jewish community in Greensboro, elaborating on the pride they felt for having faced and overcome the social struggles they faced.  Through these experiences, the Greensboro Jewish community has forged an identity that, while unique, still can be united with the rest of our local society.  There is no point in having a distinct culture if it is unable to unite with its surroundings.  

video and dress.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

project placement...(WAM, IOB, or GHM)

What project do you feel you can most contribute to?
 I feel that I could do the most on the Industries of the Blind project.  The space has quite a bit of potential and I feel I could do a good job helping it reach that peak.

Where do you see your skills carrying into this group work?

 Initially, I feel that my quick sketching and diagramming skills will allow the group to go through many ideas in a short period of time.  Later on in the project, I believe that I also have a good sense as to what makes for a good composition.  This would come in handy when dealing with the board layout.

IOB thumbs.