Monday, November 22, 2010

Back to Natural...

Synopsis: A short informational video, addressing the issue African – American women encompass with the image of their hair. 
Statement of Purpose: As a society we are constantly over-flooded with imagery, and what they consider to be beautiful. From designer pumps to Gucci and Channel purses, technology is always projecting these images of what it means to be beautiful; But who really creates these rules? For my project, I chose to create a brief video, concentrating on what it means to be a beautiful black woman.
Jill Scott is a poet and a Soul artist who refrains from putting chemicals in her hair. It is not often that she is in the media, but when she is, her image seems to be humble and wise. She is an example of one who distributes beauty within, and embraces her natural looks.      
In the 70's', African Americans were uplifting their natural looks and rebelling against different politicians, and other Caucasions in high powered positions. The Black Panthers was a major part of the Afro epidemic among the black culture in the 70's. Here is photo of the late Michael Jackson sporting his afro, and George W. Bush, being photoshoped with an afro. Although the photo of Bush is meant to be funny, it is also humilating to African  American culture.
Since past generations, society has had this notion that straight hair is more beautiful and socially accepted than Corse and curly hair. In response to this belief, several of African American women put chemicals (perm) in their naturally curly hair to make it straighter and more socially acceptable. To deliver my perception on this dilemma, I chose to interview junior Ashley Dowdy, who has recently returned her hair to its natural essence. Her story is intriguing. To watch my video, click on this link, (Back to Natural), or, you can watch it below.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Manovich and New Media

Do you know your new media history? Well I certainly did not before reading Lev Manovich’s article titled, “New Media from Borges to HTML” in the New Media Reader. Manovich’s article is the opening to this anthology of new media that he also considers to be a radical new history of modern culture. Manovich writes, “a view from the future when people will recognize that the true cultural innovators of the last decades of the twentieth century were interface designers, computer game designers, music video directors and DJs – rather than painters, filmmakers, or fiction writers, whose fields remained relatively stable during this historical period.” He then breaks down the what exactly new media is into eight different propositions which include: New Media versus Cyberculture, New Media as Computer Technology Used as a Distribution Platform, New Media as a Digital Data Controlled by software, New Media as the Mix Between Existing Cultural Conventions and the Conventions of software, and he elaborates on the New media and how it relates to four more subjects throughout his article.

 Rhizome is a content magnet and delivery system that exposes the entire site. (The content, structure, and metadata). So, instead of just creating a site with URL’s that correspond to a page of HTML, you can create URLs that represent just about anything, and this is what our internet has come to today. In other words, everything is intertwined with one another, and the New Media is growing faster than ever. I think it is amazing, especially how Manovich visions the future as people looking back at computer game designers and music video directors as the radical new history of modern culture. That puts the image in me that we are creating history now. In three hundred years, sure someone will still be teaching Picasso, but they also will be teaching Hype Williams.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Video Art with Bill Viola

Bill Viola is by far one of the most important and vital artists in the 21st century. He is a video artist, taking a contemporary approach to all of his creations. Viola is honorable in that he bases so much of his work on either birth, death, or the human consciousness. I can be honest in saying that researching him, I never was drawn to boredom. Although his work may seem a bit over the top with spirituality, that is exactly his method and what he is pushing for. Viola believes we live in a visual society and that images are our global language. Some of his work is incredibly beautiful, some of it is rather odd. Nevertheless, all of his work is inspirational, thriving with his visions, ideas, and what he feels is important for society to understand. I created a brief slideshow to show some examples of Bill Viola’s work and his concepts. I included some of his works that impacted millions of people, such as “The Raft”, as well as some work that many have possibly never heard of, like “Four Hands”.  

In so much of his work, Viola seems to have a strong obsession with water in his films.  In the slide show I chose to show “The Raft”, “Ocean’s Without a Shore”, and “Two Women”, all near each other to show his infatuation with water. Here is a brief example of  “Ocean’s Without a Shore”.  

 Recently, I had discussed how the medium is the message. Bill Viola responded in a interview with ,“Any time there’s a new development in the medium there are new creative possibilities”. I completely agree, and you can clearly see Viola expresses this through his work.

Friday, November 5, 2010

The Medium Is the Message

"Today when we want to get our bearings in our own culture, and have need to stand aside from the bias and pressure exerted by any technical form of human expression, we have only to visit a society where that particular form has not been felt, or a historical period in which it was unknown." Marshall McLuhan is a fascinating individual. I read a brief article in the book, "The New Media Reader", written by McLuhan, that opened my mind to different ideas about how I precieve different mediums. His ideas in his article titled, "The Medium Is the Message", are interesting, to say the very least. McLuhan has a certain style of writing about present technology and how it compares to earlier technology. Aside from this, he also has a very strong belief that any form of media is always a combination of another media. I fully agree with his concept. Here are a few pictures of differnt mediums doing more than one task at the same time.
Today, almost all media is made up of another media, from television, to IPods. I tried thinking outside the box by going as far back as books, in saying that this is one form of media that content is not another media. In some cases this point would be valid, but nowadays, there are so many books that contain works by a collaboration of different authors that I am convinced that argument will soon no longer exist. McLuhan also brought up a point that technology acts as an extension to our body. I thought this was a very original and clever way of forming an idea that so many others have also had, but could never articulate in this fashion. I have heard people say technology influences society, and I have heard people talk about the positives and negatives in how technology advances so rapidly. I have yet to hear anyone argue McLuhan's argument, and yet I see his argument in so many other's. I find this to be ironic, considering one of his main arguments was how no media is without some form of another media. Does this have the same affect with ideas?  

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

"Mic Check, 1, 2" Hip-Hop Technology and Society

Filming and editing are hobbies that I enjoy greatly. After reading an article titled "The Technology and the Society", by Raymond Williams, our task as a class was to create three videos of our own, with certain restrictions, that would convey an idea regarding technology and society. I have a very strong relationship with Hip - Hop as a culture, so I decided to focus on the technology of Hip - Hop and how it evolved through time. 

My first video is titled, "I Wake Up to Hip - Hop". It is a simple one minute video showing myself in the morning preparing for my day, while listening to a Hip - Hop classic, "You're All I Need", by Method Man and Mary J. Blige. The music with what I chose to frame myself around really brought my video to life. In the background there is a poster of Michael Jackson and Kobe Bryant. I am wearing a shirt with the face of George Jefferson on it and one of his famous quotes from the TV series, " The Jeffersons". I chose to surround myself with African - American's who have all influenced or have been influenced by Hip - Hop in some way. The camera acts as a mirror in my room. 
My second video is titled, "Hip - Hop Technology, From When It Was Sweet". This video is all found footage. I chose to combine Hip - Hop Culture, both New School and Old School to show the variety of the Hip - Hop form. From round groups in a cypher, to Jay-Z bleeding from your speakers, to graffiti artists, the technology in Hip - Hop has strongly impacted society. 

My Third and final video is titled, "Hip - Hop Technology, Sweeter Than Ever". In this video I combined found footage with some of my own to get across a message about Hip - Hop culture from its roots. I chose to go completely Old School, from artists like Kid  & Play and Dougie Fresh. I enjoyed creating this video the most because it brought me to a place when the music was pure, real, and fun.