Friday, March 11, 2011


I must say it feels good to be done with this project and to have finally seen it on the big screen! It was a hectic week of editing, but it worked out. Unfortunately, I'm not really done with this project yet.  Now that all the fun stuff is edited, I now get to make a Tagalog version of the video... My next step is write up all of the English narrations in the video and send them off to be translated into Tagalog so I can add subtitles.  I must say I am a little disappointed that I will not be present at the actual screening of my video, since it will premiere in the Philippines.  After that it will be used as an education tool around the country I guess... It's weird that I won't really know where it will be ending up.  Overall though I am very pleased with how the video has turned out.  I think I hit all the points I wanted to cover and I've been working on this project for almost exactly a year, so it is nice to finally see a finished product.

Rhinolophus philippinensus AKA The Most Kick-Ass Bat in Town
I must say now that it is (almost) finished that this was quite a bit more logistically challenging than I had expected. I had sort of expected that doing the actual editing was the only hard part, but organizing the translations (with the help of Jodi of course) and figuring out the soundtrack was pretty tricky as well.  That being said, the use of the internet has been an invaluable help in making this project, and it would have been nearly impossible to do everything I wanted to do in the time I had without the internet.  Both the translations and the soundtrack were organized without a single face-to-face meeting, which I thought was amazing, but a little strange.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Holy Bat-fork, Batman!

I enjoyed Kristen Bohem's lecture about taking art into the real world.  I feel like I can identify with her in a way because I also sell small trinkets.  I like the idea that one form of art can support another.  In Kristen's case, she does graphic design to help fund her artwork. I've always planned on making fork sculptures on the side of whatever I end up doing.  I want to go into film in some way or another, so maybe selling forks can help me fund that ambition.  Selling forks allowed my to buy my first first camera a few years ago, so I think I'll keep that up.  I am curious to see if I will actually sell any bat-forks at the screening next week...

The artist that I researched is Rupert Murray.  In 2009 he directed a documentary film about overfishing in the worlds oceans called The End of the Line.  It shares a lot of characteristics with my video, in that it has a strong conservation message.  It is structured very much the same way as I plan for mine to be.  It clearly states the threats that humans pose against the fish, but it ends with a hopeful message that encourages the viewer to do their own part in helping to solve a problem.  I plan to do this as well.  One thing that this film has is a narrator, and this is something that I have wanted to avoid from the start.  I don't want my video to have too much of an "outsider" perspective (though it will inevitably have some).  I want the story should be told through the interviews, not an outside narrator.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Holy Continuing Work on Documentary, Batman!

Nearing the end! I'm so close I can taste it! Over the past few weeks I have been posting clips from the interviews we conducted in the Philippines on youtube so they can be translated into english.  Here are two of them:
Try to figure out what they are saying! It's hard!  Anyway, I have just received the translations from the second clip there, and am working on making subtitles now.  This is an important interview because Danny here talks in depth about the threats facing the cave bats and I think it is important to have a native speaker addressing these issues versus a foreigner alone.  I have also been working with a composer via email who has agreed to score the video.  I'm looking forward to hearing what he comes up with.
I will be conducting my last interview with Jodi on Wednesday.  I think this will also be a very valuable interview because Jodi will provide transitions between topics and fill in the necessary gaps in the video.  After Wednesday I will finally have all the footage I need to piece everything together.  I plan to have a 99% complete video for our screening, but I will continue to make tweaks over spring break. The last step I plan on taking is writing a transcript of all the English interviews to translate back to Tagalog.

Friday, February 18, 2011


I don't think the original investors of the internet had any idea what they were really getting themselves into.  The extent that the internet has taken over our lives is pretty crazy, and it doesn't look like it will be stopping any time soon.  In the article Alone Together, Sherry Turkle discusses how modern day technology is both connecting us more and more and at the same time we are drifting farther and farther apart, preferring to communicate via electronic devices over talking face to face.  Though this may be true, who is to say whether one is better than the other? We live in rapidly changing times and maybe human interaction is just slowing us down. Online we can create perfect versions of ourselves via avatars.  We can post photoshopped pictures of ourselves on facebook and update everyone on our day-to-day internet lives on twitter.  And then there's the cat videos.
Map of the Internet FTW

Basically, the internet is a really weird place and I have no idea how it is going to evolve in the coming years given it is such a relatively new technology (as are most things today).  Will everyone soon be doing everything online from their homes? Lots of people already do...  Thinking about it in this way can seem scary, but the internet is also such an immensely powerful tool that has the ability to help so many people.  Because it facilitates global connection, its existence helps solve global problems.  In The Garden of Forking Paths, Borges talks about an immense wealth of knowledge that can certainly apply to the modern internet.

I have been and will certainly be utilizing the internet to help create my own project.  I have posted versions of my videos on youtube for people I have never met to translate clips into English and I have corresponded with musicians via email and text message to make an original score.

Thursday, February 10, 2011


Ray doin somethin. Or possibly nuthin...
This past week we watched "How to draw a bunny"- a documentary about the artist Ray Johnson.  It was very interesting to see how his art compares with that of Beuys and Kaprow, since they were all (at least partly) performance artists and some of Johnsons pieces certainly were influenced by Kaprow's Happenings.  I also really like the idea of Johnson's use of the US postal service as a sort of medium for his work.  It seems to take art as far away as possible from a museum setting, since it is on the move.  While I enjoyed watching the documentary and learning about Johnson as an artist, I was left a little disturbed by his "final piece" as some would call it. Johnson obviously had some issues towards the end of his life to have planned something like that so meticulously.  That being said, it was quite amazing to see how he arranged his entire house in a particular way to basically tell what had happened to him.  Amazing and sad.

I thought that Mary Jane Jacob brought up some good points in her convocation speech the other day.  I liked her idea that art should be something that can be experienced anywhere, not just in a museum.  Johnson certainly would agree with this idea considering his history with mail art.  This idea was also important when we went to Depere to visit the WC Gallery in a bathroom.  I agree with Jacob's statement that museums tend to separate art from everyday life, and that with public art there is more of a direct exchange between the artist and the audience.  Jacob went on to talk about how there is a difference between the artwork and the experience of the artwork, which seems to be a recurring theme over the last few weeks, but is not only applicable to performance art.

I have had to find a new musician to score my video, as the previous has run into scheduling conflicts.  I contacted the dean of the conservatory and he gave me some suggestions.  Hopefully all goes well.  I have also posted another series of clips for translation.  This is an important interview and once it is subtitled I think I will have enough to make a few more segments of the video.  The last step is to interview Jodi as well to fill in the parts that haven't been covered yet.

PS: Did you know you can download a Ray Johnson font?

Friday, February 4, 2011

Holy Happenings, Batman!

To me, Allan Kaprow makes more sense (I use this term loosely) than Joseph Beuys.  After watching the footage of some of Kaprow's Happenings, I was left feeling quite similarly to how I felt after watching that documentary about Beuys' installation in the Guggenheim, but I think in the long run I was a little less confused.
Kaprow is one happenin' dude
When I saw Beuys' work, I really did not (do not) understand the ideas behind it, and I think this is because so much of his work is deeply rooted in his own personal experiences, making it difficult for me to comprehend.  After learning his history, many of his works become very powerful, and obviously meaningful to Beuys, but I still don't really understand them.  When I see Kaprow's work on the other hand, I think I understand more the meaning behind more of it, while not necessarily understanding the work itself.

I think that Kaprow's idea of creating art without creating a physical product is really interesting.  I like the idea that this kind of art can be so interactive and how each performance is unique.  I also thought it was interesting to talk about how repeating or even discussing his specific Happenings would in some way take away from them, since they are meant to be seen only once and in person. I enjoyed creating our own Happening in class the other day, although the Happening we performed didn't seem to make anyone particularly uncomfortable, which seems like a common theme in Kaprow's other Happenings.  Maybe next time we should lick jam off of the mirrors or something.

I'm still working on adding subtitles to the interviews and will upload a few more clips to be translated be someone who speaks Tagalog.  Hopefully will find someone soon...

Friday, January 28, 2011

Beuys Beuys Beuys!


When we were first introduced to the artist Joseph Beuys in class at the beginning of the week, I was not totally sure how I felt about his work.  After watching a video about the artist, I am even more confused.  For one thing, the video itself was really weird, and kind of seemed like the person who made it was forced to include all of the iMovie special effects presets. That might be unfair, and I'm sure that the video was cutting edge at the time, but me it just seemed a little silly.

As for Beuys, I am still not totally sure what he was saying... What I got was his idea that everything in the world can be seen as art, and that life itself is art.  I think that is a very poetic thing to say, and I agree with him to some extent, but at the same time that seems like kind of a cop-out thing to say... But now we are coming back to the ever-present question: WHAT IS ART? Again, that is a question too big for this blog post.

I thought that Beuys' constant use of felt and fat is really interesting.  It was fascinating to hear about how he was rescued by Tartars from a plane wreckage and how much that experience has affected his art pieces.  It seemed to me like he was creating sculptures that sort of idolized the materials that had surrounded him and saved him from the cold.  These materials must have imprinted very heavily into his mind when he went through such a traumatic experience when he was younger.  Would he have become such a distinctive artist had this experience not happened?

In the video we watched a woman was asked about one of Beuys' pieces and she thought that part of the point of it was to be a little confusing.  Ambiguity is something I would like to try to avoid in my own work.  Since I am making an informational documentary, I have a specific message that I want to get across to the audience.  In addition, there are a few language obstacles I am trying to overcome, so I have to make my message as straight-forward and understandable as possible.