Research Through Making: Time Lapse Edition

Just as every other media and digital related project I have attempted to carry out, this project has proven to be much more difficult than I initially thought.  I have found that the DSLR camera that I actually own does not have a time lapse feature on it.  In fact, you need to connect a digital remote to the camera itself in order to take incremented time lapse photos.  With that, I have found that the software I initially intended to use doesn’t transition through photos like I hoped it would and my mac’s “protection wall” doesn’t all for me to download alternative, slightly less credited programs.

However, I have already started my trouble shooting process, so these steps backwards in my project have somewhat become steps in a forward direction.  I have decided that I will cave and rent a camera and automatic time-interval remote and I will be compiling the taken photos in iMovie on one of the schools Apple desktops (as my laptop cannot handle the addition of another however-many hundreds of photos).  At that, I will be making a trip into the LSA media center in the MLB building early this week to test rent a camera and practice making a time lapse film of the front yard of my campus house, or maybe even the 3rd floor of the art architecture building.  I will run a quick moc-up with this camera so when the time comes and I have an actual photo sequence that is usable for my remediation project, it will only take a couple of hours to compile the information into the iMovie program, adjust the settings, and have a completed film.  I will be using the schools resources for much more of this project than I originally thought I would need to, but that is a good thing!

photo of childs chalkboard drawings that exemplify exploration through creation

As well, I have been hard at work to find a location to make this time lapse film happen.  I have a bit of a time crunch, as at the end of this week, a new exhibition will be set up in the East Liberty Annex which is where I had originally planned to take the video.  I am in contact with a professor who has two chalkboards that I intend to use for the project and they are conveniently already located at the East Liberty Annex.  Her name is Anya Sirota, and I worked with her last year on her O.N.E Mile Detroit art and architecture instillation project.  She used these chalkboards as her presentation boards when she was making parts of her project public during Taubman college’s “Research Through Making” exhibition.  I, again sometime early this week, will be making my way down to the annex to see if the boards and the space itself fits my vision.  If not, then on to the next plan.

For now though, I’ve added a mock-up flipgram that I created using photos that I took of my dog after she went swimming in the rive by my house a couple years ago.  Just dipping my toes into the  possibilities of my projects potential by exploring different media programs so I can make an educated decision on what is easy to use and most aesthetically pleasing in accordance to my vision.

 

Practice_Flipgram

Project Remediation

I was hesitant to think too much about the remediation project until I had fully completed my repurposing project because, to be quite honest, I wasn’t too sure about what my repurposing project would finalize as in itself.  I hadn’t known what genre my project was going to transform into until many weeks into that project.  I realize, though, that this time around with the remediation project, I can not be as jumpy with ideas and that it will be much more productive to put a lot of thought into what I want the final project to look like before I start it.

I think it is natural practice for me to let ideas organically create themselves in my work because of my roots in design.  When something isn’t working the way I want it to, I let the materials and composition of what I’m working with take shape and form all by themselves.  This is often what I do in my creative writing assignments, too.  You’d be surprised by some of the things that this method can produce.

Like I said before, though, I think this remediation project should have a bit of a more concrete idea at the start of my work with it.  And since the completion of the repurposing project, I have finally had some time to work on this idea.

I am interested in doing one of a couple of things.  My first idea is a picture book.  I would go home during the Thanksgiving Break and snap photos of all of the locations  I discussed throughout my repurposing project and compile them into a flip book sort of format.  I would potentially sift through old family photos or news paper articles of major time period events going on during the stories and memories that I brought up throughout the term of my years reflected upon in that project 1 and insert those into the flip book as well.  Doing this will allow the “old” and the “new” pictures to be in conversation with one another and help the reader to sense a common theme of change throughout my life.A picture of Anima Series speaker in a dark auditorium giving a motivational lecture.

Another idea I have is creating a video.  During this video, I envision myself sitting on a stool on a dark stage with a single light on myself and the stool (setting the stage as if I was talking out to an entire theater of listeners) (a scene similar to the one that the speakers of Anima Series presents their messages in and this is pictured in the image above)  and I would say some sort of message, either pertaining to the quickness at which life passes and things change, or I would talk about my dog and her years here on earth, as she was definitely the inhibitor and inspiration behind my repurposing project.  I would set the stage as a casual format for the video with more of a “talking over coffee” type of vibe.  The video inspiration that I am working with right now is a Soul Pancakes Production that you can find right here.

The main difference between the two options is the subjectivity in audience.  The picture flip book would be more geared towards my family and close friends.  The video can be related to by a much broader audience: anyone with a dog or anyone who experiences the quickness of life could find importance or inspiration in what I would be saying in the video.

Both options allow me to explore my interests in connecting my passion for visual and designed arts as well as the creative aspects of writing.

Digitize It

In high school, it was pretty rare that we would take trips to the computer lab with a class.  Usually the teacher lost most of his or her command over the students throughout the period when our faces were hidden behind computer screens.  And regardless of the school districts efforts to block social media and inappropriate websites on the computers, we were still overly distracted and highly unproductive during our time spent in the digital media labs.  Not to mention, the computers took many, many minutes to start up and log onto at the beginning of every class period and it would take students extra class time to walk to the original place of meeting for the class, then be redirected to the lab somewhere across the school.  After all of this, teachers typically decided against the use of computers during class time and pushed this required work onto us for homework, thus interaction with digital media throughout the school day wasn’t a norm for me until I got to college.

I’ve found that the use of computers in class and at lectures for college courses is much more casual and thus, much more productive.  I better use my class time and I don’t often push things off as “to-do-laters” as much as I used to in high school.

One of my favorite forms of digital rhetoric that I could explore for hours on end is Invisible Child: Dasani’s Homeless Life.  As some pieces of digital media struggle with incorporating many facets of rhetoric within their bodies, this captures many.  This New York Times piece on homelessness in New York City incorporates visual, textual, spatial and gestural modes, among others.  The piece uses high definition pictures and vivid text to give the reader authentic feelings as they read through the chapters of the piece.  There are interactive maps that involve physical action in order to explore the facets of the town involved in the article.

It is with no doubt that I tell you this piece could never have been as impactful on paper as it was on the computer.  Its digital elements allow for exploration and free movement.  Reading the piece becomes fluid.  At points in the piece, I feel like I am a kid playing with the different functions of the pages.

If you decide to read this piece, I suggest you take some time, sit down, and read it in full.  It is not often that a piece like this is featured by New York Times and it is vital to your understanding of the characters lifestyles that you read it from start to finish and utilize the digital map commands when appropriate.  Get the full experience because it is worth it.

I am currently writing a scholarship essay on homelessness as it exists in Ann Arbor.  Though this piece takes place is a completely different city, it helped me to better understand the effects that homelessness has on the homeless, when often, society and literature are otherwise focused on homelessness as it affects the homed.  The digitality of this piece makes it feel real.  And without this experience, I think my understanding would be less than half of what it is now.

 Having the ability to digitize our work as writers is an extreme advantage that we don’t utilize as often as we should.  Invisible Child has inspired me to me more multimodal, myself, within the digital realm.

A Four Day Lull

I am busy over fall break.  Busy doing things on my “List of Things To Think About Doing and Then Eventually Doing When I Have A Spare Moment” list.  Today, I got to cross “read Chapter 10 and 11 in Contemporary Urban Planning”, “go to campus bikes to get tires pumped up”, “go to running shop for new shoes”, “go to gardening shop to buy pot for dying succulent”, and “eat french toast at Sava’s” off the list.  On my walk through the diag on my way home from all of these things and after walking my sister to the Amtrack station (so she could ride back home to Chicago), I finally had some time to think.

I thought about how awesome being at college is.  And better yet, I got to think about how awesome going to the University of Michigan is and how it seems to just keep getting better and better every day I spend here.  I also got to reflect on goals I had set in the past but had seriously lost sight of throughout the course of this hectic semester.

Sometime during this past summer, I wrote down on a piece of paper in my mangled sketchbook a goal.  All that I wrote was this:

“Wisconsin-Madison.

–> founder of College of Architecture: Caroline Petersen”

You are probably confused, but I can look back at this page in any amount of years and know exactly what I meant at this point in time.

When I was applying for college, I had my eyes and heart set on the University of Wisconsin, Madison.  My sister had gone to school there, and after many years of thought, I knew that it would be the perfect school for me, as it scored tens in many facets and categories that I had set during my college search.  On the first day of winter break during my senior year of high school, I received a denial letter from Wisconsin and just about everything I had planned for myself was destroyed.  I chose to appeal the decision, thinking something was overlooked.  The appeal returned as another denial letter and I was confused.

So, as anyone would do, I decided that there was a inherent reason for my denial.  One that I would someday find out.  And I think I found it out on the exact day that I wrote the fewer than 10 word insert in my sketchbook.

I decided on that day that I was denied from attending Wisconsin because I needed to learn architecture and this wouldn’t have been an option for me at Wisconsin, as it is not a degree offered from the school.

I realized that my two favorite things were separated by an undeniable force.  I could in no manners be at my (still) favorite place on earth and meanwhile study my newly found major interest of architecture.  And I want no one else to ever come across this divide.

Therefore, I created the goal and plan of receiving a degree in architecture, then there after receiving a masters in something, and after that, moving my home to Wisconsin, Madison to begin a College of Architecture Program at The University of Wisconsin.

Ambitious? Yes.  Possible? Sure.  Unreasonable? Maybe..

I’m not exactly sure about the feasibility of my idea, but a dreamer can dream, right?  In the meantime I’ll just keep on doing what I’m doing because it seems like its working.

I’m also attaching a photograph that I took today of an art instillation taking place in Liberty Plaza in downtown Ann Arbor to further explain the excitement I have about the chance to be less stressed and more inspired by fall aesthetic.
Picture taken by Caroline Petersen on October 18th of an art instillation taking place in Liberty Plaza in downtown Ann Arbor, Michigan.

 

What Is This, Physics Class?

You walk in to Physics class and you sit down to take an exam.  The test is passed out and, what a shock, you draw a blank.  It seems as if all that you can remember is what the problems actually look like and not how to do them.  You know that you’ve spent many hours studying and that something should look familiar eventually, but while you flip through the pages of the test, you begin to panic.  The panic makes things worse, and then all you want to do is leave the room for a water break but you don’t have any time to waste, and the list of struggles goes on from there.

Writing this memoir is a lot like taking a physics test.  Remembering all of the facets of the given test material is synonymous to trying to remember all of the different facets of my last 20 years of life.   It is tedious, thought provoking, and emotionally exhausting.  A lot of the time I spend “working” on the piece, itself, is filled with extended time lapses of blank stares and Facetime calls to my family members and friends.  Usually I call them with the intent of getting my memory jogged about something from my childhood, but typically the extent of the conversation ends up being not at all productive to the purpose of my essay.  It’s been a nice chance to catch up with people, though.

There are other times, however, when I am working and memories just keep coming to me.  As I unravel one idea, I am reminded of another idea, and then another idea, and another after that and the tangents become effortless.  At these times of writing, everything seems perfect.  I have found that forcing yourself to write is stressful, but rather allowing yourself to simply have a conversation with the piece of paper can be more therapeutic.  This is when writing becomes fun.

Because I have spent so much time outputting memories for this project, I have found myself spending very little time worrying about how I am portraying these memories on paper.  I need to rework every paragraph and every story in terms of structure.  I know what parts of my life pertain to what parts of the White Alma Mater that I am incorporating into the essay, but I have yet to imbed these lines in an appropriate way.  Once I achieve this, the essay will finally have flow.  I hope to be able to use the lines from the White Team Alma Mater as a literary devise in my writing so my readers can understand more about the song in context to something.  The song makes complete sense when it is sung at camp because it was made at and for camp.  But when you take this song out of context, it seems cliche.  Thus, I plan to add my own context to the song in hopes that my audience will fall in love with the lyrics as much as my fellow authors and I have.

Just as I have disregarded structural devises in my first draft, I have spent equally as little time working on diction.  My goal is to first get all of my thoughts out of me.  After I do that, I can identify what memories I want to keep in my story and what memories I want to trash.  After I do that, I can focus on the structural elements of my essay and then later, I can scale down to give my diction the attention that it needs.

This isn’t the way I would typically work through an essay but I find this system particularly appropriate to use as I tackle this type of media and writing style for the first time.

(re)Searching for Distant Memories

I am trying to write a reflective piece that brings light to major and transformative life events, thus the research needed to conduct this task is not in the form of your standard academic writing research.  Rather, I have found myself contemplating interviews with my parents and siblings, as they have lived through it all with me.  I have also been scavenging through my old Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram posts to collect summaries of rather large events.  Most of my research includes efforts to restore memory.

There is a major roadblock in my research, however.

The problem with memory is that it is malleable.  Between my 5 family members and I, we would be lucky to restore the memory of a historical event to the exact precision of which it happened.  And when it comes to looking at old social media posts, who even knows how much I might have exaggerated the circumstances?

A story changes a little bit every time it is told.  If you tell it many times, how far from the truth can it get?

Similarly, everyone remembers and thus, experiences things a little differently.  For example, when 9/11 happened and I was just 4 years old, my take and experience on that day was a heck of a lot different from my 14 year old sisters.

I have come to this question in my project: Do I want to tell stories as they are skewed by my own memory, recalling things in a way that is through one view, and one set of eyes only? Or would I rather get multiple opinions and open the conversation up with my family, friends, and others to really try to identify the exact existence of an event of my history?  And which of these will leave me with a more touching piece to look back on in 20 or 30 years?

So, you asked “How’s the research coming?”

And I say “It’s coming.”

Image of girl sitting on bench. Text features quote:
I really should have just kept a diary when I was younger.

 

Living Out a Story

The topic of my repurposing project is telling a life story.

To tell my life story, I plan on repurposing an alma mater that I co-authored this summer into an outline for a synopsis of major vivid events occurring in my past 19 years of living.  My goal is to create a reflective piece that will stand as a reminder of things in my life that I am afraid I will forget as time passes.

When I first searched for examples of people telling their life stories through different types of media, I came across a website called “My Life Story: A Diary for a Whole Lifetime of Memories”.  This site is based out of the United Kingdom and it sells 1080 page diaries for around 60$.  Part of the catch is that you can buy one for someone who isn’t capable of recording their own life yet, so you can start it for them.  For example, you can purchase one for your newborn child and keep a record of their firsts until a time when the child is capable of recording their own life in the diary.  As I read through their pitch, all I was thinking was “wow I wish my parents had bought me one of those when I was a child!”  If I had recorded my life events up until now, I wouldn’t have to rely on my memory to conduct this project.  But through using my memories now, I can create a reflective diary; one that I will be able to look on for years in the future and be reminded of things, just as I would have been if I had started the diary 15 years ago.  Now is the perfect time to make this all happen.

The second thing I came across was “My Life Story” written by Gordon Dioxide. Gordon is an enticing author.  He comes across as a witty and funny guy, and he was able to turn his rather average and long life into an interesting story. Here is the  LINK to check out his work.

Rhetorical Map of Gordon’s “My Life Story”

Composer: Gordon Dioxide

Subject: An arbitrary run-through of Gordon’s progression of age while attempting to get a job

Audience: Anyone who likes a good laugh.  Especially good for readers on a lunch break or someone who has some extra time for a quick read while commuting throughout the day.

Genre/Medium: Comical Fiction or article in magazine 

Context: A reflective piece written by a man at the end of his life.  He has nothing to loose.  This is something his kids and grandkids can read over to remember his charm and dry humor.

Exigence: The motive of writing was to give people something to remember him by.  Not something that necessarily outlines his life, but something that captures his personality.

Constraints: He was constrained to writing something that would be catchy but not too lengthy so that the reader wouldn’t overanalyze it, but rather accept it for what it is.

 

Gordon writes as if he has no major topic to write about, where as in this LINK, you will find text about a memoir written by a director named Ruby Yang who has a long and vivid story to tell.  Gordon writes about his life in a way that makes it sound so simple and average, but Yang explains life as her protagonists overcome adversity.

I hope to strike somewhere in the middle of these two extremes when writing my memoir but I still want to maintain the same effect.  I want to move my audience in the same ways that I was moved by Gordon and Yang’s pieces.

A Blog Inside of a Blog

A good blog is one that holds informative value, either personal or impersonal, in a very messy, or a very organized format.  It is one where the writing is transparent to the writers voice and personality.  It holds opinion and stands as a record of time stamped historical thoughts or reactions.

I urge the class to follow the blog Planetizen.  As an architecture student, I have a strong opinion on the idea that everyone should be concerned and educated in the topics of environment and urban planning.  As a member of American society, you are a part of a number of different community bases, all of which you should contribute your voice to when it comes to making planning decisions.  The more that the community is involved with its facilities plans, the less inconvenience a person and their neighbors will experience as they go about their activities in a given day.

Planetizen constitutes as a good blog because it gives its audience a professionally reviewed state or status update on the condition of urban planning situations throughout the world.  It is a form of virtual travel.  It makes its audience more aware of their surroundings and assists in urban education.  Some of the bloggers use more humor than others, but all are knowledgable and personable in their styles of writing.

Rhetorical Situation:

  • Audience: ALL people who exist
  • Exigence: serves as an account for urban planners and communal citizens, alike, to understand and learn from current international planning situations
  • Genre: informational nonfiction

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Living in a Society of Readers

To me, writing is a method of expression of personal thoughts being made accessible to others. I like to use writing to help myself in understanding the world around me. It is also a way for me to create order out of mental intuitions.

I feel that I am at a point in my writing career where I am the only person who is able to benefit from the things that I develop. I aspire to be able to create a piece of work that is not only a learning experience for me but will also teach, help, or inspire those who read it. I think that writing is an awesome opportunity to contribute to the lives of the people around you.

As Brandt explains in “The Status of Writing”, writing is a way of “generating and sharing information”; however, reading and writing are different by the ways in which “they are accessed, practiced, and experienced” (p.142). When I write a piece, I have trouble with understanding how others might respond to it because, as the writer, I carry different experiences than those reading my writing.

In the text “Writing Reconstructures Consciousness”, writing is any “visible or sensible mark” left for interpretation, which is an idea that runs in line with the conclusion our class had come to after asking ourselves what writing actually constitutes as (p.83). I feel that I need to do a better job at being flexible with different mediums of writing and learning to express my thoughts in more creative forms. As I know from studying architecture, drawings tell stories, and so does art. I aspire to push myself to this extreme of varied medium in expression through writing.