I’ve always had a penchant for victorian aesthetics…and feminism. So for this project, I decided to make an animation to accompany a song called “Sister O Sisters” by Le Tigre with Yoko Ono. I decided to put this young victorian woman in various situations where she “sings” along with the song. While the image originally depicted the young girl at a beach shouting, I imagined her more shouting in protest. Some of the scenarios I had in mind included amongst lower east side immigrant women at the fin de siecle, within a Suffragette context, within a women’s liberation context (1960s), alongside Medea Benjamin and with Le Tigre. See below for a few of my initial ideas.
This is a video created for Comm Lab with Calli Higgins, Lucas Zavala, Krystal Banzon, and Lisa Maria. They were amazing to work with and I am really pleased with how our project turned out. You can watch below:
Assignment: In teams of two create a 1-minute sound piece in any of the environments we looked at. Again, this piece should can be environmental, create space or mood, tell a story through sound. Upload it to your site in mp3. Bring either the audacity or soundtrack files with all tracks to class.
Product: I teamed up with the very lovely Alex Vessels to work on this project. Neither one of us had a background in audio production but we had ideas for the environments we wanted to collect sounds from. I walked around the west village and into a restaurant. Alex went to the grocery store. Due to a few unfortunate circumstances, we were unable to finalize the piece together so part way through the editing process, we split up to find out what we could create separately with the same essentially the same audio.
The results were quite different. Here is my version.
This will be a 3-5 minute film that explores the ideas of paranoia and fear in a psychological thriller. There will be no dialogue; rather the natural sounds of her actions along with her whimsical singing will create the soundtrack. We start by following a young, paranoid woman as she walks home, looking over her shoulder, and clecnhing her hands. Her walk eventually breaks into a slow run and she eventually finds solace in the foyer of her building, pressing her back against the glass for the camera to see her take a deep breath. We follow her as she uncomfortably rides the elevator with a neighbor, and we watch her carefully walk into her apartment. Here, she beings to relax. She drops her keys, kicks off her shoes, and takes off her dress while still building tension for the audience. She begins to draw a bath that runs while she abruptly and chillingly chops vegetables for dinner. While doing this, she sings a whimsical song to herself that loops through the rest of the movie, eventually incorporating thrashing bangs as the intensity increases.
While chopping vegetables, she cuts herself and we watch blood flow out of her finger, staining the water. She sucks on her finger and takes another deep breath. After throwing the vegetables into the pan to sauté, she enters her steaming bath. We watch her relax, a jarring cut between uncomfortable and abrupt chopping scenes to long, relaxed, out of focused motions as she washes herself and shaves her legs. An overhead shot sees her relax, only to open her eyes and suddenly realize that the window is open. She quickly jumps up in the bath and slams in shut. Putting on a robe (as seen through the foggy bathroom mirror), she enters the kitchen to begin eating her dinner. Close up’s show her cutting and spearing her vegetables, closely putting them into her mouth. Finally relaxed, a wide shot shows her eating her dinner, plate in hand, while flipping through a magazine. As the camera pans out, we see the foot of a dead man sticking out from a closet. We suddenly realize that she is not paranoid because someone is following her, she is paranoid because we, the viewer, are aware of what she is doing. The final shot shows her looking directly into the camera, smiling, recognizing that we are both aware of each other’s presence. “Psycho Killer” by the Talking Heads begins to play as credits are rolled.
Project by Calli Higgins, Lucas Zavala, Lisa Maria, Krystal Banzon and Sarah Jenny.
In the age of digital re/production, our ability to inexpensively and easily recreate and alter works of art created by others is a complicated matter. In capialist societies, this issue goes far beyond attribution and credit to financial responsibilities to the original artist. It is hard for me to argue for free and fair use for all when most artists so rarely are compensated for their work and striving for economic stability and success is something most can identify with in capitalist societies.
However, I strongly believe in free access to media, art, media justice, and the opportunity for artists to create new works from existing works as a form of critique, commentary, and/or innovation. A blogger commented on the the Meisalas vs Garnett debate over Molotov Man with the poignant question “Who owns the rights to this man’s struggle?”
Have these appropriations of Meisalas’s work devalued the initial work? Or have the various interpretations, reproductions, and new works added depth to a larger discussion and furthermore strengthened Meisalas’s photograph by creating such a public interest in the situation?
All of these readings noted the complicated situations around using aspects of writing, music, or visual art. I still think their is tremendous value in open source creativity, in using copylefting, creative commons, and making visual art and media as accessible as possible. Reinterpretations allow for dialogue, discussion, and analysis. I don’t want to see those doors closed.
How depressing a world without nature, without human touch and interaction. I can barely fathom such a world. A world devoid of warm, dense and pugent earth, of soft skin and rough hands. Maybe we are already living in a world not entirely unlike the one Forster portrays. This dystopian fantasy addresses classical human dynamics in an absurdly [post]modern world.
Our integration with technology has already started: “…she did not notice the noise, for she had been born with it in her ears.” (p. 5) I wonder what the effects are of the toys children play with today– all buzzing buttons and flashing lights, digitized voices reciting the alphabet back to them. The nuances and inflections of live human communication lost to monotone recordings conveniently priced as 29.95 and available to digitally entertain and babysit while parents care on their own buzzing boxes, checking their email after work at home. Will these new playthings be inconsequential in today’s child development? Will children today ever really comprehend the simple past times of past generations or comprehend and appreciate silence — a silence unknown by Vashti in “O Machine!” ?
The end, while tragic is also hopeful. Vashti and Kuno reconnect, or rather truly connect sans machine. We learn that in their world can confront the fear of the unknown, the past, the world beyond the humming of electricity to know organic touch – even if it may cost them their lives.