Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Experimenting with The 10 Commandments

Negating the 10 Commandments through several experiments amplifying the misunderstanding and distancing of language from the communicators.

As a writer, language is important to me but it's development and misunderstandings have always been of interest. The bible is the most widely alluded to piece of literature in western culture and is the most vastly misunderstood as well. So I wanted to explore different methods of voiding, distancing or confusing the bible in order to point to the idea that not only is misunderstanding a inevitable part of communication but it can also be beautiful.

Blind Commandments and Fire Commandments

Braille has always been fascinating because it's a translation in the same language. It's beautiful but that's not the purpose. I learned to read (by sight) so I actually found the section in the bible that has the 10 Commandments.

Laminated 10 Commandments

Braille on the left, laminated on the right

It seemed obvious that negating the 10 Commandments in braille would come in the form of lamination but I became obsessed with braille. I wanted to elaborate the visual aspects of braille and I wanted to some how come up with a way to put my own words over the braille but writing in English was not enough. I decided to locate the letters on the pages and used the synesthesia alphabet color codes to paint the letters that would form my words. I also wanted more conceptual interpretation.

The Bookshelf Spits

a blaze of blue and red and orange.

I scream in skin-scented sentences
nouns and verbs in vivid hues.

The TV becomes and inferno

whispering infomercials up my nose.

Echoes of soot and gold smoke smears

fill the kitchen corner with me.

What color will I become in my own fire?

I decided put this poem over the bible because of its subject matter. The idea of burning in our own fire is a translation of many of the bible's stories.

theworstpictureblogever.blogspot.com for more detailed pictures of the poem.

Say what Commandments

One of the most important aspects of language is listening and it's the avenue in communication that creates the most misunderstanding.
I had a few of my ESL students read the 10 Commandments and because they're from Korea and China they are not used to R and L sounds, V, B, F, Th, and S can also confuse words.
This was one of my favorite experiments because it encouraged actual communication about the 10 Commandments.

I recorded their readings analog and uploaded it to soundcloud

Silent and Binded Commandments

By binding the signer's fingers many of the crucial words in the 10 Commandments are untranslatable. This experiment proved how simple restrictions can create even deeper translation issues.

Sound-It-Out Commandments

Learning to spell is a developmental milestone for children and often the first step is a method called "sound-it-out-spelling," which is when they listen to the pronunciation and then spell it out. I had a 6-year-old girl spell out the 10 Commandments to the best of her ability. My personal favorites are 5 and 6.

To further explore the idea of confusing the 10 Commandments through a child's eye, I made the children's game, "Your 10 Commandments."

Monday, December 20, 2010

Get Your Documentary On This Holiday Season

Just a huge suggestion!

I'm so happy I found the documentary Capturing Reality: The Art Of Documentary because it really put documentary into an attainable entity for little ol' me, a fresh Media Studies graduate student. I put all of these documentaries on my Netflix and I recommend them to any and every one. The directors of these films are featured in the documentary and not only are they examples of all kinds of great genres of documentaries but "Capturing Reality: The Art of Documentary" breaks down every aspect of making a documentary.

The Day I will Never Forget A film by Kim Loginotto

Hold Me Tight, Let Me Go A film by Kim Longinotto

My Country, My Country A film by Laura Poitras

Grey Gardens A film by Albert and David Maysles

The Salesman by Albert and David Maysles

Touching the Void A film by Kevin Macdonald

Darwin's Nightmare A film by Hubert Sauper

Biggie and Tupac A film by Nick Broomfield

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Everyone, and I mean EVERYONE who goes online should watch WE LIVE IN PUBLIC.

Here's a link to this site and the documentary is available on stream from NETFLIX

The film details the experiences of "the greatest Internet pioneer you've never heard of,"[1] Josh Harris. The dot.com millionaire founded Pseudo.com, the first Internet television network during the infamous tech boom of the late '90s. After achieving prominence amongst the Silicon Valley set, Harris became interested in controversial human experiments which tested the effects of media and technology on the development of personal identity. Ondi Timoner documented the major business-related moments of Harris's life for more than a decade, setting the tone for her documentary of the virtual world and its supposed control of human lives.[1]

Among Harris' experiments touched on in the film is the art project "Quiet: We Live in Public," an Orwellian, Big Brother type concept developed in the late '90s which placed more than 100 artists in a human terrarium under New York City, with myriad webcams following and capturing every move the artists made.[2] The pièce de résistance was a Japanese-style capsule hotel outfitted with cameras in every pod, and screens that allowed each occupant to monitor the other pods[3] installed in the basement by artist Jeff Gompertz.[4]

The film's website describes how, "With Quiet, Harris proved how, in the not-so-distant future of life online, we will willingly trade our privacy for the connection and recognition we all deeply desire. Through his experiments, including another six-month stint living under 24-hour live surveillance online which led him to mental collapse, he demonstrated the price we will all pay for living in public."

"He climbs into the TV set and he becomes the rat in his own experiment at this point, and the results don't turn out very well for him[5]," says Timoner of the six month period Harris broadcast his life in his NYC loft live online. "He really takes the only relationship that he's ever had that was close and intimate and beaches it on 30 motion-controlled surveillance cameras and 66 invasive microphones. I mean his girlfriend who signed on to it thinking it would be fun and cool, and that they were living a fast and crazy Internet life, she ended up leaving him. She just couldn't be intimate in public. And I think that's an important lesson; the Internet, as wonderful as it is, is not an intimate medium. It's just not. If you want to keep something intimate and if you want to keep something sacred, you probably shouldn't post it."

(from Wiki)