Posted: October 20th, 2015
Welcome to my class web page! Through the course of the term I’ll be posting my projects here. These will be projects that engage the ideas from the lectures and readings, as well as my personal creative take on them. I’m a junior studying engineering and am excited to work with a subject I haven’t yet approached in school.
Posted: October 20th, 2015
In this project, I was thinking about the tendency for a disassociation between an online identity and many of the qualities that make up a complete human. What I mean is, many people put only what they consider their positive characteristics on display online. As someone tries to shed the parts of themselves that they don’t like from their public identity, they begin to work more and more towards a private identity that is dishonest. My project was inspired by what Walter Benjamin says about the disassociation that the actor feels when putting on a face for the public; it “is basically of the same kind as the estrangement felt before one’s own image in the mirror. But now the reflected image has become separable, transportable.”(Walter, 9) My image attempts to engage this estrangement from one’s image. The thumbs up represents the disguising of the true depth of the human existence, the reduction of complete identity to one image with a group of likers and a handful of comments. It reflects the feeling of an actor when someone posts a picture that is intended to represent him or her. They are putting on a face to appeal to the public and not to appeal to their true essence. The image has become, as Benjamin says, separable from the identity of the person in the image. This is not to say that everyone on the internet is putting on a fake front, but that people tend to portray their proudest elements and not their fears or shortcomings.
Benjamin, Walter. "The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction." (1935): 9. Web.
Text as Representation
Posted: October 20th, 2015
In my project I attempted to intellectually and creatively engage “Brown to Blonde at Gay.com: Passing White in Queer Cyberspace” by Andil Gosine and especially what he says about the destruction of the non-white personal identity on the Internet and on agency online. The reading discusses the identity allowed to different groups of people online, saying that white is so normalized that, when someone says that they are white online, they are a blank slate. He contrasts this to the experience of nonwhite users on gay.com, who experienced being reduced to a sexual stereotype connected to their race. Gosine shares a quote from a user, saying men who identify as non-white on gay.com are “confined to a narrow repertoire of types—the super sexual stud and the sexual savage on the one end hand, the delicate and exotic “Oriental” on the other.” In this model, a black man is portrayed as the sexual savage, despite whether or not he exhibits a submissive personality or considers himself to be between the two. The Asian man is reduced to being delicate and exotic, regardless of whether he is strong and aggressive or whether he would refuse to classify himself. The problem here is truly a hurtful one. We see it not only in this specifically sexual realm. Stereotypes in our country serve to group people not by whom they truly are, but whom we think we can assume them to be. As these stereotypes become more engrained, they become extremely hurtful to those whom they apply to. As people are told over and over what they can’t be, their perception of themselves is bound to eventually be shifted by this bigotry.
Gosine, Andil. "Brown to Blonde at Gay.com: Passing White in Queer Cyberspace" (2007): 10. Web.
Posted: November 24th, 2015
Ultra Red strives to use the group exploration of sound to produce “an accountability to struggle whether it is the constitutive processes of anti-racism, gender or sexual liberation, anti-capitalist autonomy, or the preferential option for the poor.” My piece is an exploration of my struggle as compared to the struggles of some of those around me who I often manage to ignore, in this case the homeless. I live right downtown, where many of my neighbors do not have an address. The homeless sleep at the community center every night, and every morning I see them hassled by the cops. Indeed, I live across from the trees that shelter homeless day in and day out and a block from the police station, and though the tension between the homeless and the police is palpable, I manage to ignore it. My piece starts with me leaving my house. I get to the bus stop, hop on a bus, put on my headphones, and find myself a song.
The song I chose is somewhat important to the piece. “Fire Coming Out Of The Monkey’s Head” by the Gorillaz follows the story of a village of blissfully unaware people who live without problems in the shadow of a huge volcano. The rest of the world revels at their tranquility until one day men arrive from outside. The villagers’ blindness to the problems of the world makes them unable to see these strange men. The men dig deep into the mountain for jewels until the mountain erupts and all is destroyed. In my piece, I use this to represent my blindness to the world. There are many people with privilege who manage to ignore the huge disparities in treatment of race and gender and in economic status in our country. Tupac spoke of the poor rising up and consuming the rich. This is an idea I wanted to explore. Sentiment against inequality in all forms in our country has grown hugely and I believe that soon, tension will become too great and a great shift will be brought about.
The final segment of my project is meant to represent my musical interpretation of the cacophony of problems that come from living in the streets. It seems it happens quickly to many, and hardly without reason. Before long it becomes deafening. I tried to capture the problems I see between the homeless and the police in Santa Cruz with the “Proceed with caution” I used to end the song.
Ultra-Red. "Five Protocols for Organized Listening" (2012): 1. Web.
Posted: December 4th, 2015
For my final project, I decided to tackle the idea of the cyborg and of augmented reality and how it could be applied in my life. I decided to make myself somewhat of a cyborg helmet and walk around in it for a few hours, just to see what it might be like. The helmet consisted of a cut up soda box taped to a painter’s cap. The box had my phone taped into one end such that when someone wore the helmet, they could only see the phone screen and nothing else. I set my phone to take video, so that I could only see what my phone camera was capturing. I then went about my day with it on (for the most part) until my phone ran out of memory to save video. Donna Haraway describes a cyborg, in part, as “a cybernetic organism, a hybrid of machine and organism, a creature of social reality as well as a creature of fiction.” In a sense, I succeeded in this. The creature of social reality element is explored well in my piece, though it’s hard to pick up on some of the reception of the cyborg mask. For the most part, people laughed at it, but it warranted some glares as well. The elements of my day that were captured were times I spent with others. I saw them almost as I would regularly, minus most of my field of view, but I was nearly unrecognizable to them until I took off the mask. This was one interesting implication of the mask. One way in which this mask differs from what might come instantly to one’s mind when they think of a cyborg is that the mask did not improve my senses or abilities, but diminished them. I could only see a fraction of what I normally do, and in a far smaller number of colors. The most interesting take away for me came when my phone ran out of memory and I disassembled the mask and used my eyes without the mask to see what was round me. What I saw was a world that made me feel like I was drugged. The colors around me became twice as vivid as I ever see them. The sunset seemed to be crystal clear, not like those I’d seen before, but better. I attempted to give somewhat of a feel for my emotions through the experiment using my music choice. I began with the Talking Heads’ “Give Me Back My Name.” This song is from the perspective of a man who has had something taken from him, and is left with a name that is not his own. “That word does not exist in any language. It will never be uttered by a human mouth.” I thought that this expressed the strange feeling of disassociation, having to relearn how to use my hands and pour a cup of tea. Next, “Kids With Guns” by the Gorillaz seemed to be rhythmically in tune with the speed of the video as well as the lightheartedness of my experience wearing the silly mask with my friends. Finally, “Ready or Not” by the Fugees is meant to reflect my own apprehensions with the idea of cyborg technology. I think that humans have made their lives too convenient as is, and that lethargy is truly a plague spurred on by advances in personal technology. The implication of this last song is that we aren’t ready, though this is not to imply that we ever will be. My project can be found by clicking the "Final Project" link atop the page, and a view of the helmet can be seen here: Luc's video.
Donna Haraway. "A Cyborg Manifesto" (1985): 2. Web.