talkin’ bout my generation ~

April 30, 2010 at 10:32 am (class blogging, Uncategorized)

The first (250-500 words in length), should focus on the medium, on the experience of working in/with/across digital video and how that experience relates to traditional writing.

Dealing with video for me has always been quite interesting, mostly because it’s a form that I’m more likely to shy away from than not. The immense precision one needs to get exactly the cut they want doesn’t quite rub well with me, especially when compared to the relatively easy process of picking the right selection of words. In video, I’ve noticed the actual technical compiling of the video is always about a hundred times more difficult than conceiving or storyboarding it out. Actually getting your idea is, in my opinion, the easier half of the battle, and that seems kind of crappy to me. You know what you want and you know how to do it; the actual act of putting things together is an entirely different story and can take hours.

There’s also a high level of technological proficiency involved, which, while this doesn’t particularly bother me, I notice that writing is a fairly low-tech habit, when it comes down to it. We’ve been doing it for thousands of years. Video production for the masses however, has not been around fifty years, really. I think it’s awesome we’re using two technologies that are so distant in years to do the same thing.

Another thing I notice about remix video is you’re presented with a relatively limited pool of things to write about. You have to make your message suit the material given to you, and if you don’t exactly have the clip you’re for, then that means you have to make due and figure out what to do instead. This definitely gave me a lot of trouble; it was a struggle to figure out how to connect everything that made sense in my head, through the video. This isn’t like writing at all where you can just describe something forever. It’s like using magnetic poetry.

The second (250-500 words in length), should focus on the message, on the attempted rhetorical moves, on the editing techniques themselves and why various edits, cuts, mashups, etc. were done (what was their intended effect). This discussion should be grounded in the readings on semiotics, and constructions of gender, sexuality, and race.

I wanted to prove how the world has changed, especially in comparison to how men treat their women and their families. However, my first attempt didn’t work quite right: it was too linear and too narrative, mostly because I have a thing for linear narratives. However, going back and placing each circumstance back to back, I think, worked really well.

To get my point across, I made heavy use of juxtaposition, trying to compare the way people treat their families (“that’s fine” vs. “that hurt”) and how people treat their wive (hugging v. shoving out of car. I also, in a few cases, used the repeat effect to emphasize a certain point, such as the hurry on the elevator vs. the calm on setting the table, or the teamwork of the old family vs. the singular work of the man from the dodge charger commercial.

however, some of the comparisons I felt were a stretch, so I mixed and matched audio to force the audience to see them similarly. That way, the audio was the same, but the image was very different, and this made the comparison more obvious. I used this technique for the ice skating vs. party, and the couple smooching vs the man picking a car. I felt that this really helped.

Music was a difficult point for me. I wanted to find something that was sort-of neutral, but at the same time that highlighted my point. I didn’t want to make things impossible to hear over the music (which I think was a problem with some of the other videos), so I had to turn it down to the music to where it was almost impossible to hear. This was different from the opening and the closing: that I felt was very clear and started those comparisons off on a good foot: old fashioned background with Coronet music vs. industrial background with Nine Inch Nails.

Generally, I’m pleased with this.

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“invisible” arts.

April 19, 2010 at 4:44 pm (Uncategorized) (, , , , )

We think art. we think monet. we think seurat.

we don’t think comic books, video games, or graphic novels. ha! these are only public art, not meant to admire for their beauty or whatever it is culture says to us. We would only dare to lump in a graphic designer or a video game artist with a person with a paintbrush!

in high school, we would have discussions on art, and i can remember distinctly bringing up the notion of text (in novel sense) as art. after all, it’s created through a very similar process, just with a significantly different medium. if we all text art, how can we say other art is not just that?

ok, bigger question. how is hanging out with someone online not “meeting” them. let’s assume you skyped with them: you saw their face, their expression, maybe the inside of the room or office – and i bet people wouldn’t qualify this as “meeting.” this, i feel, is the way that people view some more modern art (like comic books and video games) in the sense of art. there’s something missing, they’d like to say. it doesn’t go all the way.

ah! because you are attached to all your old standards. there is no possible way that game art can be as significant or beautiful as art-art. art for art’s own sake is the best, after all!

for that, i give this piece of evidence:


strange point of view and tone in this post brought to you by nonstop working and a lot of interesting internet stuff.

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April 19, 2010 at 4:07 pm (class blogging) (, , , , )

Try having to figure out what you want to call your second post about remixing, while still appearing to look clever and semieducated. ‘remix 2’ is lame. ‘remix remix’ was my second option. but i love clever parentheses-related quips, so this one made it. Not sure what that makes the perma-link though.

But anyway. Last week (two weeks ago now, due to my general freakouts, breakdowns, and so on – boring stuff you guys don’t care about), we talked about different ways to make our remix videos more effective. While I could definitely see the usefulness of some of the techniques, others just gave me that sort of bug-eyed confused glance that people do. Generally, I’m always curious about things that draw my attention in a video, and I always want to know why my attention was drawn. What happens if – and I don’t think this is an if, but a when – these techniques get overused? You see it in bad high-school level powerpoints with overuse of transitions and flashy, ugly fonts. My concern is about drawing attention to dumb things with repetition, overuse, etc.

While i’d like to say I’m better than that kind of stuff, I have a severe love for all things snazzy, and tend to go a bit overboard. And then i weep. Nah, just kidding.

The biggest problem for me is voice. What should I have mine say? How can I use repetition and all those other techniques, avoid another class-related breakdown, and still be totally awesome in class?

Ah, life struggles! they carry on. :/

This article looks sort of empty, so I’ll fill it with some mindless nonsense.

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where are you now?

April 19, 2010 at 2:57 pm (independent blogging) (, , , )

What many of you may or may not know, is that that question is a Jack’s Mannequin lyric to a great song called “the mixed tape.”

[ADDED ON 4/25: since my professor mentioned this, I will assume more than my class will read it. therefore, I will add this NYT article about cassette tapes that is vaguely relevant and that i just found. i’m bad at staying on topic, ok? shoot me.]

That’s mildly unrelated, but it is a very good song, and since I feel a lot of the nonsense on here is heavily academic, you could always use with a good music video. I’ve got a couple more I’d like to link, but for now I’d like to talk about location technology, which is very relevant to a question like ‘where are you now?’

Foursquare, GPS technology, and that kind of stuff – changed the world forever, wouldn’t you say? Well, my favorite website ever, mashable, made up a lovely little infographic about this. as i love infographics and mashable (not crazy about location technology, though), i’d figure i’d talk about it a bit.

click for larger images. as always.

My favorite thing about this image? How fluid it is. Unlike the previous image I talked about today, this one is so seamlessly smooth that all the different pieces of information meld together. Everything is connected. I like connectivity. Another thing I notice about this is that as we get into the present, the information blurbs seem to be shorter: the whole top part of the infographic is about smoke signals, but satellite, automotive, and smartphone GPS all share about the same amount of space.

And what’s with the font choice here? Call me a serif elitist, but I despite everything about whatever font they’ve used here. There is really nothing I like about it. It seems too casual, too high-school, too white board-markerish, and all those things you don’t want in a font. I know that this isn’t really a serious OMG FACTS!! graph, but STILL. god, this font makes me want to punch babies. This must be Comic Sans’ bastard brother. like all good font elitists, I hate comic sans. Generally though, I like the images: simple, cohesive, all in the same style, with the same general set of colors, and they well-illustrate the point of the graph itself. The one thing i DON’T like is the timeline at the bottom. I wish there some greater image for social network-related location tracking technology…. kind of a let down, to be honest.

Also, why isn’t Please Rob Me on here somewhere?

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zoom zoom.

April 19, 2010 at 2:23 pm (independent blogging) (, , )

Ok, I’ve been slacking off. Having a bit of a mental breakdown over school and being consumed by work and other unrelated junk has caused this. Now, however, I have returned, so prepare to see four blog posts in quick succession here.

first. cars. i drive a 2004 toyota rav 4, in a lovely silver-green color. his name is atrus, and he is a wonderful car. this is a poor segway to this awesome infographic i found about …. submarines.

ok, i lied.

[click for larger image.]

I know this will come as a shock, but I found this one at the car connection. What I love about this one is the sharp transitions. Though all the different pieces of information are about cars, they’re generally radically different. Car aside, there’s not much in common between the legality of door-slamming in switzerland and why parking brakes are useful. The graph uses contrasting colors to get our eyes and our minds to switch from one idea to another. Another thing about the transitions that really works is the way some of them have interesting borders: the note about car horns, for example, or about the buffer zone of car fuel tanks.

Also, I think there’s a reason for the order of the list. In my experience, the earlier ones seem much stranger and older, though there’s hardly a connection between them. Like most people, I have a tendency to do 40 mph in 25 mph zones, so the idea of getting a ticket for doing 12 mph is.. well, it’s hysterical, and sort of terrifying. And a joystick for  car? Man, how weird. After you were finished playing Microsoft Flight Simulator 19xx, you could drive your car. BAM.

One thing I don’t like about this is all the different font colors. Now, I love color, as I’ve probably proven, but why can’t all the ideas about driving to the sun by in white? Why can’t everything about the Tata Nano be in black? Although there is something pleasing about some of the color, most of it distracts, in my opinion. If you have one fact, keeping all the stuff about that one fact in one color seems way more cohesive, and in other cases, plain-old looks better.

One last thing about this: images. i love the genres and mash-ups of images on here. we’ve got some basic .gifs (like of the parking break and joystick) some old-fashioned photos, some child-like art… art is awesome.

on an unrelated note, i am so hungry.

also, while i love the idea of driving, i don’t actually like doing it. curious fact about me.

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April 1, 2010 at 3:23 pm (class blogging) ()

Although I haven’t really looked through any of the old photo archives yet, what interests me about superbowl commericials – especially the misogynist ones – is that often times, spending time with your wife is something you have to do to compromise. You’d much rather be hanging out with your Car, Beer, or Man Buddies. And oh, you have to do housework too, or whatever the case may be. I’m interested in how this contrasts with the way people in the 1950’s were more likely to have family dinners and spend time together. While this is only a basic draft of an idea, I think the way that people spend like time together as families as opposed to the way they did in the previous generations is a fascinating sociological phenomenal, and I’d love to find some way to comment on it by using both videos that suggest either way to use your work-time.

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reflection: breasts & video games

April 1, 2010 at 2:57 pm (class blogging) ()

In my photoessay, i wanted to explain how video game advertisments and concept art often pay an immense amount of attention to breasts and a surprisingly little amount of attention about what a game is actually about. They do this by pulling in a number of semiotic tools and methods to have their target audience (males, 18-36) attach breasts and whatever game it is they’re trying to sell with the art. For example.

This add takes advantage of proximity (putting the breasts near the ad) contrast (putting the white text near the blue shirt) and manipulating light, putting her chest in full glare while her face is in the shadow, wearing dark sunglasses. Not only that, but the character is leaning over, putting her breasts into the center and the foreground of the picture.

Now, can you tell what Grand Theft Auto is about? Without knowing plenty about the game already, I don’t think I’d be able to tell. is it about girls? A little. Breasts? Even then, a little. But this ad isn’t about telling you anything about the game. And using photographic and semiotic theory, it’s hard to not notice the huge block lettering on her chest.

Here is a piece of concept art for a popular video game, World of Warcraft:

The woman’s crotch, protected by only a somewhat phallic piece of cloth, sits in the center of the ad. While she’s armed, she doesn’t look to be functionally armored: rather, it seems to draw far more attention to her sleek, toned body, well-rounded breasts, and slight hips more than anything else. Next to her is an enormous tiger, almost as if a sign of external masculinity.

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photoessay: breasts & video games

April 1, 2010 at 2:56 pm (Uncategorized) (, )

my photo essay, “breasts & video games,” can be found here.

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in the age of paranoia

April 1, 2010 at 1:47 pm (independent blogging) (, , , , )

As an American, I, like many other Americans, love witnessing violence in many forms. I love a good video game where I can pick up a gun and blow someone’s head up, I love a movie that involves people getting mauled, and i will always slow down just a little to watch a terrible accident happen. The late and great George Carlin once wrote that the best thing about America is our ability to blow stuff up. Or something like that, at least.

In light of this, I present to you an infographic about a particular weapon, and frequently, the only one you can actually run out of in video games: the grenade.

Like every infographic, let’s talk about color. I’m pretty sure grenades weren’t always dark green, but somewhere along the way they’ve acquired this color and now it just seems to stick. This infographic, for example, has done all the color in either grenade-greens or blood-reds, both of which seem to come hand-in-hand, especially in violent scenarios. The other thing we’ve got showing here is fire, which is, in most cases, also red. And! to make this even better, the digital timer numbers are even red. There’s something to be said about how important it is to pick and choose information to make your case work, and in terms of color, this one works WONDERFULLY.

What I also love about this piece is how simplistic the drawings are, even when they’re talking about something complex. There’s no need to add any detail to the person, because the person isn’t important. There’s no reason to add more detail to the fire, because the fire is a side effect. Where the detail is is in the grenades themselves: little pieces floating around in the molotov cocktail, all the different pictures of a time-delay grenade to explain motion, and so on.

What I also like is the choice of bold, thick, or regular font. The introduction, up in the red block, I hardly noticed it was there: but all the deadly and/or exciting parts (NO certain fuse time) (ABANDONED UNTIL WWI) really stick out, while other parts fall to the side.

Also, grenades are awesome.

(ps: I wasn’t kidding when I talked about how most grenades are green. also).

(pps: the title of this blogpost is a reference to “american idiot,” a song and album by green day. it has relevant and interesting album art.)

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March 30, 2010 at 1:10 pm (class blogging) (, , , , )

Wouldn’t it be great if we could just do the thing we’re great at, snarl at everyone, and we’d be loved?

(leonard “bones” mccoy, from star trek, known for his cantankerousness.)

But that isn’t the case. Maybe it was in some point in time, when we had some omnipotent company to give us our images, when we had that company to package us and present us to the world in the most successful manner? Man! Wouldn’t that be good.

But wait. What happens if we’re presented in the wrong light? What happens if, in return for not having to create our own personalities, we don’t like the ones we’re given? What then?

Do we suck it up, knowing that this omniscient corporation is giving us money and time to do devote ourselves to our art, and so we have to deal with the give part of the give-and-take? Or do we break from them, look for our own money and space and time to do things, all while exhausting the extra effort to actively promote ourselves? Not just our trade or our craft, but who we are, as people. Who we exist as, in terms of the spotlight, in terms of our adventures, in terms of our relations with other people, in terms of the product we create?

I suppose really, it’s up to the person in question, and the kind of resources and power they have. in many cases, i’m willing to bet that people have to take this personalities, simply because they don’t have the money they need otherwise! those who are lucky enough to have the time, money and energy to promote not jut their music, but themselves (amanda palmer comes to mind)?

at risk of sounding like a dumb moron, i don’t know the answers to the questions. i’d like to say that people, given the ability and money to jumpstart themselves musically, would promote their music, their lives, their souls. But i’m not really sure. I’m a lazy person. i’d love to be packaged while I just write my ass off. but who knows? maybe if i don’t like that person I’m told people see me as, I’d change.

Oh, I love identity theory!

ps: the fact that i got to use mccoy as my example here really made my day.

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