Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Respect and Honor and Respect and Honor and Respect and...

Kwame Anthony Appiah, Professor of Philosophy and Law at NYU
I was curious what Kwame Anthony Appiah’s lecture was really going to be about. I was expecting and hoping that it would be about the importance of showing respect to others and acknowledging the ways in which they are honorable, or something along those lines. I was definitely not prepared for the philosophical lecture that was to come. I must admit, I completely lost where Appiah was going for most of the lecture. I heard the words “honor” and “respect” innumerable times and it honestly sounded like he was repeating the same thing over and over with slightly different phrasing for the first 20 minutes. (This is not to belittle his intelligence or his field/research, this is only to say that I sadly could not comprehend it as well as I would have liked.)
Later in the lecture, he got to some ideas that I could actually think about, such as the idea of showing respect to soldiers because we perceive them as extremely honorable people. I definitely got more interested when he started talking about the influence of different cultures on each other. I found it very interesting how it was Western missionaries who got the Chinese government to rethink foot-binding. And then on the other hand, when missionaries tried to end female genital mutilation in certain Eastern countries, they were met with resistance and the horrific practice only grew.
I had trouble seeing how this lecture applied at all to our class until I read the last bit of The Medium is the Massage just now. The ideas presented in the book are rather outdated and tend to glorify the “West,” while Appiah’s lecture was very impartial and spoke of facts rather than ideals or biased ideas.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Something Is Happening exhibition experience

Photograph of the exhibit by John Shimon

I am very pleased with the outcome of the whole Something Is Happening experience. I think my prints turned out quite nicely, and I am glad that I was able to use 4 of the photographs and present 2 of my pairs, rather than just 1 pair. That way, they could also be seen by the viewer as a series of pairs rather than just a haphazard bunch of photographs. I have been a part of many Mudd Gallery shows, and this was definitely one of the best. The turn-out at the opening was great, and the white cheddar popcorn was deeee-licious.

Stunning portrait by professional photographer, John Shimon

The most exciting part of this process for me was the book. Even though I only made it myself, it still feels pretty cool that a book of my photographs exists. I enjoyed creating it on Blurb, and I am excited to work with Blurb again to create the book for my capstone project. Except for the fact that there is no Large Portrait size option. Harumph.

Sunday, February 15, 2015


My sound piece is titled "allatonceness" because it is quite literally a bunch of noises happening all at once. However, all of the noises come from the same source: my acoustic guitar. I recorded myself (with the Mac) playing 5 different songs that I know on the guitar and then layered them all over each other. I did not mess with the recordings besides cutting and layering. The bad quality of the computer microphone made it sound weird and unnatural enough by itself.

Working with sound was a new experience for me. Definitely quite different from the other creative things I do. I am very interested in music; I listen and/or play nearly every day. However, my interest in experimental sound is rather limited. Most of it is a bit too much for me (which is part of the reason why I took a rather minimal approach to this assignment).

McLuhan said, "The ear favors no particular 'point of view.' We are enveloped by sound. It forms a seamless web around us. We say, 'Music shall fill the air.' We never say, 'Music shall fill a particular segment of the air'" (111). The songs in this piece form a web around each other as well as the listeners. There are 5 distinct tunes being played, but they are extremely hard to pick out (until the very end with only 1 tune left standing). It is a rather uncomfortable feeling.

Monday, February 2, 2015

This Is Happening

Something is indeed happening. It is this. This Is Happening.

McLuhan said that “Environments are invisible. Their groundrules, pervasive structure, and overall patterns elude easy perception” (84-85). My photographs are presented as a series of diptychs, paired together aesthetically and to show some mysterious glimpses into the environment in which we live, here on campus. In the spirit of Robert Frank, I walked around with my camera and photographed things around me at random, narrowing them down and piecing them together later.

I uploaded the photographs to Flickr in the order that they appear in my Blurb book. It will definitely be more effective in the book, because one cannot view them as diptychs, as they are meant to be seen, on Flickr. While Flickr is a great way to share photographs, the site should offer more ways to customize the way that you present your work. As for Blurb, it took some time to figure out how to fiddle around with all the various aspects to get it just right, but it was definitely sufficiently customizable.​