FINAL PROJECT COMMENTS: Round 2!

Ok, you’re all ridiculously talented, once again. So lets go!

Sylvia: You explained the project to me so many times but I never quite understood how it would all come together, UNTIL I saw it in class. You may have thought the idea was “corny” but I saw it as really thought-provoking and aesthetically pleasing. “The light within” is a very touching concept, one that I feel a lot of people can relate to. You clearly demonstrated your immense talent as a photographer and I thought you did a wonderful job! 

Celeste: STAR FILMMAKER! For one, I loved the topic, it was so timely and interesting. So much attention has been turned on Social Media in the past few years, but I loved hearing what everyone else had to say about their usage patterns and how it impacts your identity. The editing was very seamless and simple, making sure the viewers focused on the message at hand. Overall, I thought the video was fantastic and I was honored to have been a part of it! 🙂 

Kat: DAMNNNNNNNN. Ok. Wow. I was honestly speechless when I saw your video. You packed so much meaning into such a short time, it was almost too much to comprehend. The music was perfect, the aesthetics breathtakingly beautiful. It was so heartfelt and introspective, and you clearly dedicated so much time to making sure everything was perfect. I really thought the video was flawless, something I can see you expanding upon and maybe even entering into a film festival. I was fascinated the entire time I watched your video, beautiful job. 

Jenn: You’re such a talented artist! I didn’t know the extend of your abilities, however, and it was wonderful to be able to see them first hand. The art of the self-portrait is definitely a lost one and I am so glad you chose to use that medium to show your identity! That drawing took time and effort and that is obvious in the outcome The “spliced” image with your photo and self-portrait was so interesting as well. I am so glad you shared you’re talents with the class! 

Karen: Ok, the whole “dorm room” video was SO NOT CHEESY so I have absolutely no idea what you were talking about. It was so relatable to all of our lives here as college freshmen. I loved the interplay and juxtaposition of the pictures, you really showed us many different insights to how people live here at michigan. I loved the idea that you can make such a temporary place home, and I think your video was the perfect way to showcase this idea! Great job! 

Erin: Other than my appearance during my interview (so sorry about that, by the way), I absolutely LOVED your project. It was cute and uplifting, and you managed to get some really incredible stories in there. The editing was fun and fast-moving, and I think you showed excellent judgement in where cut and lined up the interviews, and it was overall just a really enjoyable work! From one shoe-lover to another, I was so happy while I was watching your video, great work! (All the creepy filming of people’s feet was so worth it!) 

Lindsay: You are 1. a wonderfully talented dancer and 2. so introspective, and both came across in your video. We all got a sense of how important dance is to you, and I really liked how you organized and narrated the video! The interplay of your videos and the theme of a “show” made it really easy to follow and understand your point. Definitely keep dancing and pursuing your passion, I know it will get you so far! 

Carrie: you are so, so brave for sharing your video. There were many “heavy” topics in there, and it was a privilege to gain an insight into some of your personal thoughts and experiences. However, the medium “Draw my life” kept the video from having to somber a tone. It obviously took a HUGE amount of time and dedication, and I was both entertained and emotionally amused by your video. Good luck at DePaul, I wish you success in everything you do. 

First day of projects

WHATTTT. Ok. I am, as always, completely in awe of the talent and creativity that my classmates possess. WHY ARE YALL SO COOL. On a serious note, I feel like we saw so many different and thought-provioking ways to consider identity today, and each was legitimate and special in it’s on way. SO. On with the comments! 

Vik: Well, sir. You are no doubt a natural conversationalist and performer. I appreciated the balance of professionalism and humor, and found myself relating with nearly everything you said. The topic was perfect and timely, and I think your delivery was flawless. You kept the audience engaged and atmosphere light, and it definitely gave us insight on who you are as a person and how you view the Michigan community. Wonderful job!

Matt: Wonderful! I loved the idea of combatting with your identity, being controlled by the thoughts you try to control. I thought that your video was very funny, and I give you major props on the difficult film editing. However, it was not just entertaining, it proved the point that you are, ultimately, the master of your own identity. But, it didn’t beat around the bush and delivered this message in a light and humorous way. 

Justin: I know you said your project was crude, and I completely disagree. The use of stick-figure stop motion is such a unique art medium, and it was incredibly entertaining while portraying a very inspiring message. Also, I thought the music was wonderful and I have a lot of respect for you for taking control of all facets of your project. It was, to me, almost like a short film they would play before a pixar film (that’s a compliment!) Great job! 

Marlee: Wow, I had no idea that you were such a talented poet. Your talent for cinematography clearly came through, and I loved seeing the different clips of you throughout your life. I feel like the music, poem, and images worked together beautifully and seamlessly and gave the entire class a very endearing glimpse into who you are. It was truly a beautiful piece of art, and I was very impressed. 

(I went next but if I had to critique my own work it would go something like “why don’t you ever wear pants? It’s below twenty degrees. Also, stop online shopping and do your homework.”) 

Alix: I LOVE the medium of collage, first of all. Therefore, I thought your project was great! You made a very crucial arguement: there are so many things about people that we can’t tell by looking at them. I loved the interplay of your inner and outer self, how what is on the surface impacts the internal and vice versa. Your talent for art is apparent, as it was wonderful to look at! Lovely! 

Rachel: The mosaic was so cool, I distinctly heard Vic say something about how much he hates cool people. Anyway. You showcased a very smart perspective on life: yes, it would be wonderful if our lives were just mosaics of the fun, exciting, and enlightening times we’ve had, but that isn’t what life is about. I liked how you included the bad times too-experinces you’ve used to learn and strengthen yourself. I thought your project was aesthetically interesting, easy to understand, and poignant. 

Diana:  From one fashionista to another, I just want to say how much I admire your style and confidence. You carry yourself unlike anyone else i’ve ever met. I think that your outfits really did capture your identity- who you were, how that has shaped you into who you are now, and how that will impact the woman you become. It was a simple yet incredibly effective way of documenting your life journey. I loved all of the outfits that you put together, and I thought the structure of the piece was perfect. WORK IT, GIRL 😉 

Abbie: Love. Love. Love. Love. I wasn’t sure how you were going to portray the vast idea of “carpe diem” into a 90 second video, but it was fantastic. You are obviously an incredibly talented photographer, and you seemed to have captured authentic and beautiful moments of life. People being happy, people being themselves, people just living. I feel like the quote was perfect, and the music and cinematography were perfect matches. Wonderful job, girlie! 

Eric: Your project was, to put it plainly, such a feel-good piece. I mean, obviously. The song was named “Happy.” I loved the idea and concept, and I believe that you were correct- the way you interacted with the music really did show who you are. It was fun, lively, and energetic, and filmed in a very interesting way. Great job! 

(If I forgot anyone someone correct me! But I LOVE YOU ALL EVERYTHING WAS SO FABULOUS YAY.) 

Cindy Sherman.

The first photo I chose is one from Sherman’s “untitled film stills” collection. It is #35 of the exhibit, published in 1979. This photo has several features that make it extremely compelling For one, the camera is very far away from it’s subject. It’s a longitudinal show, and slightly below the woman pictured. Therefore, I got the sense that the camera wasn’t supposed to be there, that whatever this character is feeling is not something that she wants document. Next, the juxtaposition in this picture is quite striking. The woman is dressed in a nice dress and shoes with her hair done and her face made up. She has an apron on, which signals domesticity. However, the house looks like it’s falling apart at the seams. The paint is chipping, wall-boards are coming apart. It’s a very interesting contrast. Also, The woman’s stance and expression are quite captivating. She’s turned away from the camera, almost as if she’s hiding something or trying to hide from something. It’s almost as if she’s watching for something bad to happen. Finally, her placement in front of the door puzzled me. I wasn’t sure whether she was trying to leave, get away from something inside the house, or whether the door was a shield and protecting her from something inside the house. Either way, it was captivating.

Image

The second photo that I found interesting was the picture of a society woman. We discussed this briefly in class. It is evident that she is portraying a high-socitey woman because of several features. She’s wearing copious amounts makeup, attempting to make herself appear younger than she obviously is. She’s wear pearls and, from the looks of it, a couture gown. The background is beautiful and reminds me of the stunning national parks I saw on my visit to barcelona this past summer. However, the most compelling part of the photo, in my opinion, is Sherman’s expression. This woman could be seen as cold, snooty. However, I see it as a woman who is, for some reason, painfully saw. She looks worn out, at the end of her rope. I don’t know why, but I know this is a woman on the verge of something, and I really want to discover what.

cindy-sherman-untitled-20081

 

The final picture that I chose to analyze is the one of the “domestic sex kitten.” It’s a women caught in the art of seduction. Again, the camera is far away, symbolizing privacy and intimacy. The woman is dressed in a very ladylike manner, her body is taught, the only sensuality in the picture is contained in her face. I got the sense of a woman who is trying to exhibit herself in the best light for a man. I find myself wonder what their relationship is. Is she his mistress? New wife? Is it a one night stand? She appears confident, but with an undertone of “I better do this right.” Which, I believe, is something all women can relate to.

CindySherman-Untitled-Film-Still-14-1978

 

Detroit: a city of spiritual poverty or prosperity?

It goes without saying that Detroit has seen better economic times. It seems like there is almost nothing left in the city. That is, except for murder, fire, and churches. 

The photo “praying, east side” got me thinking about the instances that spirituality comes up in LeDuff’s book. There are plenty of instances. Detroit is a city with a very involved and vibrant religious life. An observant character even says “Why are there so many churches here? Who goes to them? Why can’t we just do it like the white people-have three different churches and that’s it?” 

Certain characters seem have copious amounts of faith. Kiera Bell’s father, for instance. He was out of a job, below the poverty line, and living in the most dangerous city in the world. However, he found God in everyday occurrences. “The car still works. Praise him.” Big Martha, as well. She is completely down on her luck-her children were unfair victims of the city, killed in drug-related incidents as nothing more than innocent bystanders. However, she has is deeply spiritual. She believes that god communicates with her through her dreams, that her late children and mother are in a better places with the Lord. This is something intriguing, almost beautiful to see. In a situation where it would be much easier to be apathetic, to lose hope in an unseen god, these people have faith to spare. This is an example of spiritual plenty- hope can be found in decay and desparation. 

However, this is Detroit, so even religion is stained with curruption. For example, Kwami Kirkpatrick and his adminstration are all worshippers of the Shrine of the black Madonna, a church that was centered around an African-American jesus christ. Also worshippers are the firefighters, arguably the bravest, most hardworking men in Murder City. There is great juxtaposition in this-in a church centered around equality and possibility, worshippers such as Kwame are profitting from inequality and the city’s ruin.

The most outlandish example of corrupt religion in Detroit is the example of Prophet Jones. The infamous Monica Conyers is a follower. He believed that by 2000, humans would become immortal. His commandments were backwards and inconcievable for modern day: he claimed that women should take laxitives twice a day, wear red nail polish, and always have on a girdle to keep their stomachs from showing.

I’m sorry, but at least the way I was raised, Jesus Christ never mentioned laxatives in his teachings.

So, the question still plagues me: is Detroit a land of spiritual poverty, or prosperity? 

Detroit Summer

http://detroitsummer.blogspot.com

This is the blog for the Detroit Summer program that Grace Lee Boggs discussed in her article. 

This is their mission statement: 

“Detroit Summer is a multi-racial, inter-generational collective in Detroit, working to transform ourselves and our communities by confronting the problems we face with creativity and critical thinking. We currently organize youth-led media arts projects and community-wide potlucks, speak-outs and parties.”

I found this to be an inspiring and intriguing project, a definite force of good in the city. 

Lipstick, Laxitives, and a total disregard for social cues.

“I’ll have my brothers fuck you up” she shouted at the man, according to the police report and news accounts. “I’ll get a gun if i have to, an I got four brother who’ll whup your ass.” 

This, my friends, is the voice of Detroit’s city councilwoman. 

She’s a characterture of a person, and a complete contradiction to who should ACTUALLY be running the country. LeDuff describes her as a “self-absorbed, self-serving diva.” He claims that she spent tens of thousands of dollars on overseas trips paid for by the city’s pension fund. And he claims, it wasn’t his problem, it wasn’t his job. LeDuff even uses the specific word: “she was the perfect political caricature wrapped up in a real human being.

Calling another politician “Shrek”, fighting with a thirteen year-old girl and calling her a “plant”, feeling up a reporter in the niddle of a bar, discussing her plan’s for designing “brassieres for plus-size woman” after politics. 

Charlie presents Conyers as someone insane and completely self-absorbed, both causing and benefiting from problems in detroit. She’s someone who’s totally out of touch with reality. She’s impulsive, almost manic in her actions. She gives him a fake name on the phone in “you better get my loot” before inviting him to a cooking show right before she was sent to the federal penetentiary, and just sits there and smiles likes nothing is wrong.She complains about the penitentiary, that it wasn’t nice enough for her, even though she was obviously there for a reason.

Most simply put, Conyers is the most complelling character because she is the most ridiculous-she plagued my mine the most because I couldn’t believe she was real.