|Scultping with Sounds, Images, and Words|
My idea for this presentation was to show very opposing possibilities within the same phrases, which I took from a 1950s magazine article entitled “How to be a Good Housewife.” The first image in each series matches the positive intent of the phrase, but the second image shows what may be behind the expectations for some women at the time. Looking at the project I wish I used more metaphors than I did, but the main one I focused on was color. The black and white color of all the photos with darker subject matter is a metaphor for the life and joy that can be sucked out of these supposedly good tips for having a happy marriage and home life.
I thought of the concept for this when we were talking about words that can have multiple meanings in class, because I read this article a couple years ago and it really stood out to me as something that can have many meanings depending on the time period and situation. I found the article and paraphrased some of the tips in my own words, then looked up different retro ads and photographs to choose two that I thought fit each phrase. I’m happy with the ones I chose because I think they show that each piece of advice is both positive and negative because it encourages the same course of action in any situation. I meant the whole project to be a metaphor for the fact that women had, and many still have, the same behavioral expectations whether they are very happy or very dissatisfied.
Sounds and Words
I started this piece with the idea of the warrior, and chose my three movements based on three very distinct types of fighters--samurai, medieval knights, and modern protesters. I found audio clips of Japanese flute and drum music, medieval battle horn music, and a real life recording of protests during the 2004 Orange Revolution in Ukraine, where the people marched through the streets singing the hip hop song by GreenJolly called "Razan nas bahato."
I then wrote a tanka poem in the style of a traditional Japanese death poem, which generals would wrote before committing seppuku after losing a battle or war. I overlapped the final word with the same word, honor, which was also part of the knights' battle cry of "Honor! Duty! Glory!" that I created for this project. I did not add words over the final movement because the translation is powerful on its own. Razan nas bahato translates to "together we are many."
The combination of these sounds and words shows the progression from war as a delicate, individual process to a frantic group effort. That is why I took the longest time with the samurai section and the shortest with the revolution, to show the very different styles of fighting. I also made the transitions toward the end much more sudden and choppier, like the sound of sirens at a wild protest or gunshots in guerilla warfare. The sounds and transitions for the samurai are long and graceful, like their elegant swordplay, and the knights have an energetic battle charge that falls somewhere in between. I'm very happy with how this came out, but I wish I was better at manipulating the audio so the overlaps I wanted (like having the Japanese flute and battle horn sounds overlap) were clearer.
I also ended with a very sudden and dissident sound to show the abruptness of all battles, since they often end in death. The beginning of my piece comes from a ballet score, because I think of all of these warriors as beautiful dancers since they put their passion into their fighting and they fight with sounds, which can be thought of the music like in a ballet, and their bodies, just as dancers use their bodies.
This piece was inspired by watching my friends doodle in class and thinking about the rhythmic nature of these drawings. Seeing the repetition and pattern in many doodles made me think of music, and whether or not a sort of song is going on in someone's head as they doodle. I asked my friend to doodle along to one of my favorite songs called No Tear by Perfume Genius. I took continuous photos of his doodling, and I recorded myself tapping and humming the beginning of the song, then I recorded myself playing the piano part. I started the song with tapping and humming and hesitant piano playing because I wanted to show the time and stumbling it takes to get art into a tangible form once it hits. However, the drawing and music both become smoother once the artists get into the groove of their work.
I tried to match the images with the music in the same way, showing his hesitation matching the music at first. However, I made sure the image pauses have a slight lag behind the music pauses to show that the music is influencing the direction of the drawing. I set most of the photos to a very short duration so much of the piece has a stop motion video feeling, and this allowed me to lengthen durations during longer pauses in the song. I ended with the image fading into darkness as the music starts to fade, but had the final shot as a close up, changed angle of the doodle to show the final result of the art inspired by the music and represents how different stimuli influence the artistic process (in this case, the influence of the music on the drawing).
The practical process of this piece incorporated many elements which I am excited about, since I've gotten better at them through this class. First, I used an application called Pencil (which is similar to Flash but I find more intuitive), to draw, animate, and loop the shapes in my first segment. I downloaded a typewriter sound from freesound.org for this part and edited in Audacity to line up with the image in the way I wanted. I combined this sound and animation with text in iMovie. For the next part, I converted a YouTube of video of static to a .mov file, repeated the same process in Audacity with a downloaded static sound file, and recorded my voice for the "words" element, then combined them all in iMovie. The third section was similar, as I took a heart rate monitor animation from YouTube, edited the color and timing in iMovie, edited and clipped a song called "Avril 14th" by Aphex Twin in Audacity (which I would have recorded on piano myself but I've only transposed the first half so far which is not what I needed! This was disappointing), and combined it with the text effects in iMovie.
Now comes the more interesting part of my process--conception and intention. I was inspired from a quote I found written in one of my old notebooks that stood out to me as I read White Noise by Don Delillo, which I used for the word element ("Fluctuating planes. I liked that phrase. It seemed to be the very music of existence.") I thought of it as three distinct elements because I imagined the quote as an author trying to describe life, which is why I made the text come out letter by letter and change from "flee" to "flu", as the author is thinking of what to say. The typewriter sound matches the text process and emphasizes the one by one, step by step nature of finding the perfect phrase.The animation represents the fluctuating planes, as they are three planes that are different in size and color and change shape and size within themselves--they fluctuate. I think of these as symbolizing different people and how we live. Each plane is a person, who fluctuates in interests, age, mood, and more. Though some planes may come close to intersecting, as people can become very close, they never intersect, since a person can never completely close to gap and live inside the head of another.
Part two includes the text "I liked that phrase. It seemed to be..." which I thought of as distinct from the other words because it sounds like an author or thinker reflecting on the conclusion he or she has come to. That is why I spoke the words rather than writing them, since they are a personal reflection. The image of the white noise and static sound show the hectic images and sounds that buzz around your mind all the time and make it difficult to think clearly and come to conclusions. The protagonist, so to speak, is trying to determine if he likes his own conclusion admidst all the other business in his head.
In part three, the speaker has realized he does like the phrase he created, so the image changes from messy black and white to a uniform grid in the same colors, showing that the jumble has been neatly sorted out. The heart rate monitor animation appears to tie into the words--the very music of existence. I thought of that heart rate line immediately after thinking about existence, for to me it is the most minimalistic yet profound graphic representation of being alive, or existing. Rather than the typical beeps of the monitor, I incorporated a simple yet beautiful piano segment to relate to the poetic words, "music of existence." To me this means that existing is not just continual heartbeats or even the changing planes of ourselves and the people we nearly, though do not quite, intersect with--those beeps and pulses create beautiful music.
The images all relate to each other in their muted color palette and subtle pulsing movement. The sounds relate to each other as they progress from least musical, the scattered clicks, to slightly more musical, the fuzzy though somewhat soothing noise of static, to the most musical of a beautiful piano piece. The words relate to each other most obviously because they are part of the same quote and idea going through someone's head.
This is probably my favorite project so far, since I think I used a variety of tools effectively and created something interesting using some of my favorite words and sounds. (So I am a bit biased!)
|11/13||Music Video Presentation - Judas by Lady Gaga|
Palindroam (Final Project)