Friday, May 7, 2010

Genesis & Revelations

  • Interpretation of the Biblical book Genesis, from creation to the expulsion of Adam from the Garden
  • Each frame took ~30 seconds to scan
  • Wrote a simple script to automate the scanning process
  • Played at 30fps - 15mins of scanning per second
  • Many shots required uninterrupted action - on several occasions, spent 7 or 8 hours in a dark closet at a time. Became a meditative exercise.
  • First major work with scanner - used textures I felt would be interesting when scanned
  • Structurally, three sections each divided into three movements - taking the key moments from the Biblical creation story
  • Thematically, dealt with creation and division (God separating the sky from sea, sea from land, Man from the dirt, Man from the Garden, etc.)
  • Interpretation of the Biblical book of Revelation
  • Modified the script and scanning parameters to cut down scan time to ~15-20sec
  • Played at 20fps, didn't see a noticeable difference :P
  • Still spent around 5-6 hours per shot
  • Tried to complicate my work with the scanner - used objects that would change over time without my direct involvement (fire, cooling wax, a fish, etc)
  • Structurally, divided into seven sections each loosely dealing with one of the seven seals/cups/trumpets
  • Thematically, dealt with destruction and disaster - paired with Genesis, a diptych of the Biblical God creating something from nothing and then undoing his work

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

hunkering down!

finally settled on a uniting thread/subject/theme I can really fully get behind, and this makes me rather excited. The format remains the same - video sketches (ditching the word 'haiku', it was kind of tainting everything I did) with subtitles I can read poetry / play recorded poetry over.

I'm writing about facets of my personality that control my life, by portraying them as superhuman abilities. In each sketch I will have a different ability. okay so time out There will be no masks or capes or special effects of any kind in the videos; the videos will be based not on the poems themselves but on the facets of my personality each poem describes. Okay so a quick rundown of the abilities I'm starting to settle on:
  • my power is to freeze myself at will for extended durations of time; I use it to make as small an impact on the world as superhumanly possible
  • i am a weeping, sorry sack of shit existing in a quantum superposition across the fifth dimension. at every choice or fork in my timeline I diverge and physically take both paths. therefore I live in the company of innumerable doppelgangers, many of whom are living happier, more successful lives.
  • my power is to speak faster than the speed of sound; I gesture with passion, but am rarely understood
I'm trying to settle on a fourth, between characters I am currently calling Captain Exercise and No Dick Man.


  • shot/edited one sketch. quality be damned.
  • draft of poem for the same sketch. if I have a final copy done I buy myself a steak.
  • shot/edited another sketch. again, quality can and will bite it.
  • finalized poem from 4/14.
  • test recordings of finalized poem.
  • super rough drafts of two new poems.
4/28 - Midterm Critique
  • shot/edited another sketch.
  • polished my favorite of the previous sketches.
  • PRESENT: All three current sketches, subtitled, with poetry performed live.
  • polish all existing work.
  • depending on time outlook/necessity: shoot/edit another sketch, draft a poem.
  • everything is done
5/19 - Final Critique
  • PRESENT: Three/four polished sketches, subtitled, with poetry performed live.
  • get drunk
  • doubt everything I have already done, get ulcers
6/1 - Exhibition Opening
  • there had better be an open bar
  • i'm serious

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Shooting Today

Uh... wow. I took the 5D Mk II skiing this weekend.

Just to make this really clear, I took pretty extreme safety measures with the camera (as the delicacy of the situation definitely warranted). Fortunately the day was totally clear, so I wasn't worried about precipitation, but I did transport the camera inside its foam-padded heavy duty case, which I wrapped in a thick cushioning jacket, which I stuffed into a waterproof backpack. And let me tell you, with the tripod and all, that crap was heavy.

I'm really happy with the shots I got, and I have to say I've kind of fallen in love with the tilt shift lens over the weekend. I mean straight up, unbridled, carnal love. CARTAH is going to be giving me some funny looks.

Seriously though, I really enjoyed having that level of control over the depth plane. I tried to avoid the oft-repeated 'miniature train set' tilt shift effect, mostly because I couldn't figure out how to accurately repeat it :P, but I quickly figured out the lens had far subtler, more interesting & beautiful applications. Here's a super-reduced quality preview of what I shot - it's my dad not talking on a ski lift. I also shot one from the other side of the ski lift (on a different run, no I did not attempt to shift seats mid ride). Both shots last about three minutes total.

Also got some drive by shots of the forest, might splice in a split second or two of those somewhere, really pretty but not strong enough to carry a piece.

Also took a lot of pictures, but UGH looks like it requires CS4 to edit the .cr2 files this camera produces. THANKS, CANON. YES, I TOTALLY HAVE $400 LYING AROUND.

To do: more work

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Hey all

Wow, it's been a while. Here's a quick rundown of what's new and what would have been new if I'd posted it in a timely manner:

I presented a couple experiments. Basically, the intent was to explore how video and audio interact on a couple levels, and see at what point the visuals start to distract from the poem - What is the effect of the poem being read diegetically or nondiegetically? Would timing the rhythm of the video to the rhythm of the poem give a more congruous, less distracting result? Can the video be superficially disparate yet thematically linked to the poem without drawing too much attention to itself?

Additionally, I tried an audio experiment that no one seemed to have anything to say about (except Julia, who totally got it and liked it - thanks Julia! :D) I read my 'threedee glasses' poem in two overlapping tracks, kind of a pun on the 3D experience but with audio - I'll upload that too, you'll see what I mean.

It's pretty clear where I mess up or forget words, if it didn't detract from the experiment I left it in.

Blogger wasn't taking my videos, so I've uploaded them to YouTube.

Seeking pt. 1 (non-diegetic audio, simple, clearly-linked concept)

Seeking pt. 2 (non-diegetic audio, disparate yet thematically linked video)

Threedee Glasses (diegetic audio)

Seeking pt, 1 (brief experiment with rhythm)

Threedee Glasses (audio experiment)

This isn't uploading properly... :P

Wednesday, February 3, 2010


I was unable to read at the poetry slam again last night; 15 people signed up, 5 were chosen at random. Oh well...

Experiment wise, things are starting to shape up. I've finalized the poems I'll be shooting this week, and I'm renting a camera from CARTAH today, if all goes according to plan.

Thanks to Erik for the info on the spoken word class through Freehold theater - I'm signed up and I'm looking forward to it being really beneficial.

Areas I'm falling behind: New writing. I'm coming up against something of a block when trying to marry spoken word performance aesthetic with the artistic techniques and principles I've focused on for the last couple years... So far revising and reworking old poems has filled in some important gaps, but I want my thesis piece to be timely and original.

Just a matter of putting words on page, I suppose.

Friday, January 29, 2010


I arrived at last weeks poetry slam roughly thirty seconds too late to sign up for the open mic - I'll write something new for next week, but I guess I'll have to pick the best of the two.

Haven't been able to settle on a single poem to work into a video-based experiment, so I might do a couple quick video haikus, each pairing a couple different poetic moves with a couple different video and/or audio reflections. I hope to get a sense of what distracts from/heightens the poetic imagery, and what the effect of transitioning between styles will be (and how that can be pulled off gracefully).

Ideally I'll be able to use a high def camera with narrow dof, I want a similar feel to my scanner videos without the enormous time commitment and physical limitations...

  • Get CARTAH rental access for a 5D MK II (asap)
  • Finish poem & shot list (1/31)
  • Rent camera (2/1)
  • Shoot experiment (2/1 - 2/3)
  • Edit (2/4)

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Experiment Proposal

In preparation for my thesis (and partly just for fun) I'm going to read one new poem weekly at open mics around Seattle. Priority 1 will be reading at the Seattle Poetry Slam (Tuesdays 8:30 @ Re-bar); if my name doesn't get picked (or perhaps even if it does) I'll be trying to read at smaller open mics around campus. The goals here are to 1. practice my work in a public forum, 2. force myself to produce new material weekly, and 3. build momentum for my thesis.

In addition, I will produce a video sketch in response to a recording of one of these poems by February 4th. This sketch will be an experiment in imagery and animation in juxtaposition with spoken word. However, it won't necessarily be fully-fleshed, and will likely take a couple disparate artistic directions.

Nathan linked Gary Hill's "Around & About"; this is one approach to pairing image with word, and I think it's very fitting for the style of Hill's poem and the tone of his voice. However, as my performance will likely be livelier, punchier and more psychedelic, my video sketch should reflect this.

I won't be incorporating dance significantly at this stage - I don't feel I'm well-enough equipped to do it significantly.

Big thanks to Julia for introducing me to the unbelievable Buddy Wakefield and Andrea Gibson.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Dissecting Spoken Word

I've transcribed and dissected Erlichman's Daddy's Parking Lot Sermon. Lessons to take away: carefully plan the points at which you breathe. Use breaths like line breaks. Cascading line lengths can effectively separate and demarcate thoughts. One method: as a thought progresses, lines grow shorter and punchier. End with a short line, jump to a long one, new (related) thought.

A New Hope

It looks like there's a chance I may make it in to Dance 420: Dance Aesthetics. Also, Bronwyn reccommended an embodied movement course through the Academy of Burlesque, and it looks like I'll be able to take a couple sessions of that in the future.

On the poetry front, I went searching yesterday for spoken word artists to draw inspiration from. Most are really heavily into the street aesthetic of spoken word, which isn't so much what I'm aiming for, but one poet really stood out - Shira Erlichman. What a great performance - especially how she sashays between prosaic and poetic language, and conversational and representational gesture.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Credit quandries

It's looking like I won't be able to audit a dance class this quarter without dropping something I'm already taking... maybe I'll shirk 400 off until next quarter?

Also to be determined: can I audit a class dealing with dance theory without prereqs? Do they start that at the ground level? I should have gotten into this sooner.