Storyboard – Dongning, Jacko, James and Sapphire

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Above are our storyboards. Basically it is a sweet love story happened on campus. Jacko and Sapphire are going to act while Dongning and James will shoot the video. We intend to tell the story from Sapphire’s perspective on the left side of the screen and Jacko’s perspective on the right, so that there are two sub-stories are told at the same time. We probably will only use background music rather than conversations.

First Kirigami Assignment

Kirigami has been really challenging for me. I started with designing my own work but I failed half way. Then I just decided to print some samples from the Internet, so these are what I found.

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It is hard for me to figure out which line should be cut and which one should be folded, so I made so many mistakes.

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(This still looks shitty though I picked a least shitty angle….)

5

 

I turned to an easy one, and this seems fine.

4

 

Guess I still prefer carving…so I found this template combing carving and kirigami techniques together.

This assignment warns me that I should really think it through before starting a kirigami work for it is gonna be messy if I am not sure whether the lines should be cut or folded.

Erin’s reflection on sound project

 

 

 

Erin’s reflection on sound project

 

For the sound project, our group decided to do a pop remix. In this project, I learnt how to use sound editing soft wares such as Audacity and Audition to change the beat and pitch of the song in order to make it mix well with another song. This project let me see the possibility of mixing two very unalike songs into a new one. My task was to mix the a Capella of Rude with the instrumental of Mamacita. It was hard in the beginning, because I thought it was impossible to make the two songs, one slow and relaxing, the other fast and energetic to go together. But the clip only had to be 20 seconds long, so I decided to cut out the most classical parts of the song and try to make them match. I had to adjust the speed of the song, however, it wasn’t as hard as it seemed, because after 3~4 tries of inserting a speed adjusting number, I succeeded to match the first part of both songs. To make the second part match, I had to cut out a 0.1 second from the instrumental so that it fits well for the second part as well.

 

Although my part went well and smoothly, not all did. We found it especially hard to mix classical music with songs without making further adjustments. At last we decided to change a couple of songs that we used to want to use, to make the project sound better as a whole.

 

Revised group comics [James Tang(wt474) Shawn Gu(sg3711) Erin Wu (yw1606)]

final comic

Shawn Gu: For the comic project we together come up with some ideas, but finally we decided to work on GPS. I made the begining picture and the picture of 2 philosopher stating their ideas. I took part of looking up materials at first. Then we briefly discussed our blueprint and separate working on our own project. So for the first picture, I made the background universe so it fits GPS’s characteristic: universal, hard and interesting. I also psed a new version of gps on to the background to indicate the specific object we are talking about. For the third picture, it was actually 2 piece of work at first and I combined them together. I psed the background(structures) off their original jpg. Then we finally come together and revise it.  I love my first experience with Ps!

 

Erin Wu:This comic project I am working together with Shawn and James. It is an interesting idea that we decided to take GPS as our project due to these same recognition of gps. I made the third picture and the second last one. I photoshoped the symbolic philosopher off from the material. Then I photoshopped the talking bubbles onto it. For the second last picture I photoshoped the head of Lehman off and put him on to a body of angel. I also adjusted the font of pictures. During this project, I learned how to photoshop certain things off from its original picture and helped me recall several my former photoshop skills.

 

James Tang: For this IMA project I actually did the storyline, second pic, forth pic, fifth pic and the last pic. I get back to what I learned really quickly. For the different pics I used skills of ps off material, adjusting lights and other backgrounds elements and so on. It wasn’t a lot of work because we had a fully built storyline. Though finally it turns out to be a little different from what we expected, we still are satisfied with it. Working as a group, we actually didn’t have the second pic at first but when we meet up to combine our work together, we found it lacks connection between the first and the third pic. So I quickly made the second pic.

 

Sound Project – Group work by Dongning, Sapphire, Cindy and Shawn

 

Reflection

Dongning Fang:

It is quite interesting to make an audio combing different songs to tell a story, especially that a song is used several times with different rhythm, which is basically my task in this project. I first used audition to cut a part of music out. It is easy to cut it out, but a little bit hard to make a loop without disharmonious sound. It took me some time to cut at that point. Then I used audacity to change the music. As what our project wanted, that piece of music was changed in to a faster version that showed the excitement of a drinker, and a slower version that showed his black out.

When doing the final change, there were some parts of our project that did not do as we expected. We added some glass broken and throwing up music so that it could make our point more clear. I feel like it is more difficult to express something simply with music. When choosing the music, it is quite important to pick the main and focusing part.

Sapphire Chen:

During my absence from class, my teammates came up with a rather good idea to record the process of a man getting drunk. They started finding music pieces and other sound effects to put in our sound piece. When I came back to school, we gathered together to make some final changes. I helped use audacity to fix some sounds which were too low in volume and made the whole piece sound smooth. And we also together discussed how we could make transitions less confusing and add more sound effects to consummate the final work.

And I am sure that if I was able to attend classes last week, we would collaborate better as a team because we were quite happy working together, which is the most regrettable thing I had during our teamwork.

Cindy Hu:

At the very beginning, our group decided to do something with the background music of Super Mario. The first idea was to use this piece of music to express Shawn’s experience of Color Run. Later, Shawn came up with the idea of using different pieces of music to express how people usually get drunk. So we selected different music that can represent different phase of drinking. The first two are “A Little party never killed nobody” and “Happy”, which represent the first phase when people get excited. Then, we use the background music of Super Mario under water game level to show the dizzy feeling of drunk people. To connect these different pieces, Shawn recorded some words and we also use a selected part of a song which says “123 drink”. I worked on the first part of the music, which is to cut and edit “A Little party never killed nobody” and “Happy”. Also, I searched for several sound effects such as the cheering sound of people and the sound of pouring wine into the bottle, etc. I’m really glad that we tell the story in a clear way. We got several valuable feedbacks on how we can improve by replacing the words by other pieces of music. This is quite challenging, but I’ll definitely keep it in mind in my future works because it leaves more space for the audience to think and process the sound piece in this way.

Shawn Gu:

For the sound project, I really want to make something really funny so I bring out the idea of tell a story of a drinking man. I had much experience of using “cool edit” in high school, so I am in charge of the sound record and combination of all small pieces. Due to our voice is not very suitable to the situation of our story, I did much edit of the voice. First, I tried to change the pitch and frequency of many different versions and combine them together to make it like many people speaking together. It does not work well then I tried slow down the frequency and add the effect of reverberation. It works. For the combination of all pieces, it is really a challenge because it is not easy to make the connection smooth. After making every piece fade-in and fade-out to let the audience has a better sense of story telling, I suggest my teammate to cooperate to add more background sound to feel more real. I think we did a very good job on our work, but I really like the idea from the feedback that using other noises as connection instead of speaking. Something new about this experience is changing the pitch and frequency, which I did not have much chance to do before. I found it very interesting and useful, especially for human voice. For something pity is that I really want to do something about music remix which I think is really cool. And for the remix, the editor need a very good understanding of melody and rhythm. I will try practicing it some time later.

Final Sound Project – Jacko, Ian, Bill, Erin

For this assignment, we decided it would be interesting if we could remix the vocals of one song, with the instrumentals of another, and then vice-versa, creating a cool flip-flop effect. We quickly found out that we be quite difficult, however, as many mixes that sounded good one way, sounded terrible flipped around.

We worked around our problems and each spliced our two songs together, finally editing them all together as one complete piece using the Audition software. Personally, I used Audacity to strip the vocals out of Say My Name by Destiny’s Child, and combine them with the instrumentals of Rude by Magic!. We then spent some time making sure all of our transitions, as well our beginning and ending, sounded fluid and euphonious.

You can find the complete song here:

 

Fixing Up our Final Photoshop Project

For our final Comic Project edits, we minimally edited what we had, and kept the soul of the project intact. To fix it up, we rotated some pictures in order to maintain the linear progression. Additionally, we edited the front of books Jimmy was edited to give a clearer picture of the changing situations. The entire comic can be found here.

http://web.nyu.sh/jd2804/jimmy-comics/

Embracing Every Iteration of the Remix

Kirby Ferguson argues that “Everything is a Remix,” which obviously brings into question the grey area that we’ve discussed earlier in the course, namely in our interpretation of the “Molotov Man” issue. When is remixing okay, when does it go too far?

Ferguson is a big proponent of remixing, asserting that it facilitates creative thinking. I feel as though I can confidently agree with her on this point. For my past few projects in this class, I’ve been taking picture of my friend Jimmy that I’ve previously worked on, and tinkering with it in a slightly different way. Since I’ve already worked on this image, my mind is opened to new avenues and pathways that I haven’t tried to, which I’ve only realized exist, simply because of my own interpretation of my previous work.

Similarly, I feel as though a remix is actually essentially to the furthering of creativity, beyond simple photo editing, but with regarding technological advancements as well.

The original airbag was close to useless, simply because it couldn’t inflate quickly enough to actually provide any cushion for the driver or passengers. Later, when an American military veteran used the same technology used in torpedoes to inflate them, their use became much more widespread. Once a Japanese engineer developed an improved crash sensor, airbags became more or less what we know them as today.

In that way, the continued remixing of an invention led to its eventually improvement and then further improvement. Obviously there is a grey area wherein taking others’ creations truly is stealing, however, there is undoubtedly quite a bit of good that can come from the remix.

Jack’s Exercise 7: Cut You Out Of My Heart (Group Work with Xiaoyue and Sarabi)

 

Note: This is a group work of Xiaoyue Gong, Sarabi N. Eventide and Jack B. Du (Jiadong Du).

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At the very beginning, Sarabi came up with the idea in class and got them done in class. I was very excited to see the composition of our song. I helped her with some technical problems and she made it at last.Screen Shot 2014-10-18 at 4.46.23 PM

Then, in order to make the music sounds more dramatic, I made the piano track run from left to right and right to left.

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We gathered together and recorded tens of vocals in Xiaoyue’s room.

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I added three vocal tracks in GarageBand and matched them.

Screen Shot 2014-10-18 at 4.51.52 PM Xiaoyue did the final editing and added more tracks and sound effects.

Thanks to Xiaoyue, she did the final revision and made the song more beautiful.

Jack’s Response:

I did not have much experience about music composition before. So honestly, I had difficulty following what Xiaoyue and Sarabi were doing. I tried to solve some technical problems when Sarabi was composing the music in GarageBand and also helped Sarabi and Xiaoyue record the vocal. Also, I matched the three vocal tracks in GarageBand and put them along with the music in Garageband. I edited some of the piano track and, finally, thanks to Xiaoyue, who did the final editing, made this song much more appealing.

I enjoyed working with Xiaoyue and Sarabi and learned a lot when doing this project. I guess I got to study more about music so that I can make better music in future.

Xiaoyue’s Response:

Sarabi and I cooperated on this song. Sarabi used Garageband to type in the main melody, but it was so hard to type with visual keyboard that the rhythm was a mess. So I first used quantize which helped a little bit and manually dragged the keys around and made changes to the melody and rhythm.

I also added two different styles of drum to the music, varied the volumes and added a little beginning to the music.

Then I wrote the lyrics which was inspired by my recent life. Sarabi and I practiced singing the lyrics together. Then I recorded her singing using Tascam DR40. Audio-Technica AT8035. Philips SHM7110. Then I recorded myself singing. Jack helped us take pictures of us recording! Good pictures.

We had about 40 recordings and I sorted through them and picked the best ones to put together or extracted a part of the recording that would be useful to us. I used Adobe Audition to put together the vocals of Sarabi and me and also the music made in Garageband, varied the volumes and made sure everything works. I tried to change the pitch of the soundtracks but that sounded so bad.

After the class, I made many small refinements to the tracks as Marianne advised. One revision that was extremely necessary was that I turned the volume of vocal tracks to minimum during the part when we were not singing and made the piano solo prominent. I really should have thought of this before!

Sarabi’s Response:

I’ve done some minor sound work before, so I had quite a few ideas for the project. Recently I’ve been interested in using “unconventional” noises in my music. We didn’t get around to that this time, but we ended up creating a pretty decent song. The idea for the music first occurred to me in class. I didn’t realize it until a few hours later, but the music was a mix between “Romeo Kiffe Juliette” (Grand Corps Malade) and “Formidable” (Stromae) both of which tell incredibly powerful stories of love and lost and hopelessness. I ended up not using the music form the Stromae piece (time didn’t allow me to mix them) but the Grand Corps Malade piece was a sufficient background. After putting the main chords into Garageband using the Mac Pro keyboard, I quantized them and attempted a more complicated piano part. Needless to say, it was difficult and the rhythm was off, but Xiaoyue fixed it and wrote the lyrics for the song. After the music was done Xiaoyue, Jack, and I got together to record. The two of them mixed the vocals with the music.

Xiaoyue, Sarabi and Jack’s Audio Project Cut You Out of My Heart

Sarabi and I cooperated on this song. Sarabi used Garageband to type in the main melody, but it was so hard to type with visual keyboard that the rhythm was a mess. So I first used quantize which helped a little bit and manually dragged the keys around and made changes to the melody and rhythm.

I also added two different styles of drum to the music, varied the volumes and added a little beginning to the music.

Then I wrote the lyrics which was inspired by my recent life. Sarabi and I practiced singing the lyrics together. Then I recorded her singing using Tascam DR40. Audio-Technica AT8035. Philips SHM7110. Then I recorded myself singing. Jack helped us take pictures of us recording! Good pictures.

We had about 40 recordings and I sorted through them and picked the best ones to put together or extracted a part of the recording that would be useful to us. I used Adobe Audition to put together the vocals of Sarabi and me and also the music made in Garageband, varied the volumes and made sure everything works. I tried to change the pitch of the soundtracks but that sounded so bad.

After the class, I made many small refinements to the tracks as Marianne advised. One revision that was extremely necessary was that I turned the volume of vocal tracks to minimum during the part when we were not singing and made the piano solo prominent. I really should have thought of this before!

 

Jack: I did not have much experience about music composition before. So honestly, I had difficulty following what Xiaoyue and Sarabi were doing. I tried to slove some technical problems when Sarabi was composing the music in GarageBand and also helped Sarabi and Xiaoyue record the vocal. Also, I matched the three vocal tracks in GarageBand and put them along with the music. I edited some of the pinao track and, finally, thanks to Xiaoyue, who did the final editing, made this song much more appealing.
I enjoyed working with Xiaoyue and Sarabi and learned a lot when doing this project. I guess I got to study more about music so that I can make better music in future.

Sarabi: I’ve done some minor sound work before, so I had quite a few ideas for the project. Recently I’ve been interested in using “unconventional” noises in my music. We didn’t get around to that this time, but we ended up creating a pretty decent song. The idea for the music first occurred to me in class. I didn’t realize it until a few hours later, but the music was a mix between “Romeo Kiffe Juliette” (Grand Corps Malade) and “Formidable” (Stromae) both of which tell incredibly powerful stories of love and lost and hopelessness. I ended up not using the music form the Stromae piece (time didn’t allow me to mix them) but the Grand Corps Malade piece was a sufficient background. After putting the main chords into Garageband using the Mac Pro keyboard, I quantized them and attempted a more complicated piano part. Needless to say, it was difficult and the rhythm was off, but Xiaoyue fixed it and wrote the lyrics for the song. After the music was done Xiaoyue, Jack, and I got together to record. The two of them mixed the vocals with the music.

Sound Project Analysis

This project was my favorite to work on thus far.  It was challenging for several reasons:  I have never worked in a music application before, and the project was so open ended that our team could really use our imaginations when figuring out how to approach the assignment.  I wouldn’t be telling the truth if I said that our project was a perfectly smooth ride.  We had technical difficulties, some communication issues, and personally, I had to scrap a version of my own part of the project after working on it for over 2 hours because simply wasn’t happy with the result.  But that was a great learning experience… I was telling my roommate who was in our room with me as I was working on this that I surprised myself by being able to set aside my work, look at it, and make the decision to restart.  It’s not an easy decision, but I can say that without a doubt I created a better final product because of it.

But this write up isn’t only about my portion of the project, it’s about the final piece of work.  The original idea came about throguh our joint inspiration derived from the Grey Album.   We wanted to mix unlikely songs to create a coherent and exciting mix.  Furthermore, we wanted to play around the idea of tagging each other in as a team through the use of acapella/intrumental switching.  For example, if I began my portion of the mix with song1 instrumental and song2 acapella, my next partner’s portiong of the mix would be song2 instrumental and song3 acapella, etc. etc.  While we originally believed this idea would work well, we realized while we working on this project that not all songs go well together and quickly had to abandon this pattern of tag.  Needless to say, you can still hear this rule play out in several instances of our mix.

I really appreciated the class’ feedback, especially the suggestion to have some silence in between songs (not everything needs to be a crossfade!)  I reworked a portion of the mix keeping this criticism in mind, and I must say it really does improve the flow of the track.  Thanks!

Sound Piece – Taylor Swift & The Pixies Remix

The Final Version

Side note – the song is 1 minute in GarageBand, but 2 minutes in Audition, for some reason.

Ferwa’s Reflection
For this assignment, I was grouped with Helen and Xiaoyu with the task of creating a one-minute sound piece. We went through various options, and minor disagreements pertaining to song choices and language barriers, before settling on using the vocals of one song with the instrumentals of another, and adding our own instrumentals using GarageBand. As Helen and Xiaoyu wanted to use Taylor Swift’s Our Song, which Xiaoyu had her friend Lily sing so she could record it using the field equipment, they decided to let me choose the background track, which actually turned out to be difficult. We were hard put trying to find a song that fit with the vocals, but it turned out Lily had sung it so casually that it seemed impossible; I tried Intro by The xx, Animus Vox by The Glitch Mob, Summer by Joe Hisaishi, This Is How We Do by Katy Perry, and even My Heart Will Go On from Titanic. It was becoming clear though, that slower songs fit better with the vocals, so eventually I decided to try Where Is My Mind, by The Pixies – it was still a bit too harsh; we needed something softer. So I ended up looking up other versions of Where Is My Mind, and found a piano cover that fit almost perfectly and sounded great. By this time, though, we thought it would be better to have Helen sing the song again and record it with the field equipment whilst listening to the background music so that sorting out the volumes and tones would be easier. We took out a field recorder, but it didn’t turn on, so Helen and Xiaoyu simply used the built-in microphones on one of their laptops to record it, and then the instrumentals were added and many edits were made until it turned out the way it was. It sounded pretty great! My job was centered more around getting the background music to fit and sound harmonious with the vocals, which required a lot of moving things around and re-listening and timing, than recording or playing the GarageBand instruments, and I think it was an interesting experience; it was nice to learn different ways to edit music in different software. During the critiquing class, we were given the suggestion of fading the music in after the vocals ended, and starting the song out a little softer, so Xiaoyu and I made those edits – and now our piece is complete.

Helen’s Reflection
I recorded the vocals, edited them in Audition (amplifying, enhancing the vocals, & analog delay), and played the software instruments (acoustic guitar & clarinet solo) in GarageBand. It was easy for me to learn Our Song and adapt it to the soundtrack Where Is My Mind. But I spent a lot more time and effort in GarageBand. There were no other utilities, so I had to listen and figure out the exact tones and play them accordingly.

I learnt much in these days’ classes. I tried recording devices. I tried all three software and learned about the different functions they have. I recognized the necessity and power of the remix. I learnt about how to make an audio interview (especially the point that the transition from noise to quietness indicates that the interview officially starts). In the critiquing class, I knew it was important to make the volume diverse.

Additionally, we had some disagreements on song choices, and even the theme and elements of our project last Friday, which should be avoided next time. The language appeared to be a huge problem as well, since there were so many musical terms. I should have been prepared.

Xiaoyu’s Reflection
For the sound piece, we decided to make a remix of Taylor Swift’s Our Song. At first, I used a field recorder to record the song sung by Lily. Helen and I cut some popping sounds with Audacity. However, when we were trying to find new background music that could fit Lily’s song, it turned out that Lily sang it so casually that even the most suitable background music failed to match it. Therefore, Helen sang it again with the background music that Ferwa chose. I really like the remix, and especially Helen’s company. After the class criticism, I edited the ending part of the sound in GarageBand so that it can fade in gradually.

For this group assignment I mainly explored GarageBand (looping, instrument, volume). It’s an easy software with powerful built-in functions. I should have explored Audition more to see whether some effects are easier to be achieved with another software.

Making A Comic – More Photoshop

Our second project was to create a comic in Photoshop; this time, I worked with Ian and Ellie. To start with, we brainstormed ideas and pretty much added a lot of the very random things that came up in conversation, which resulted in an extraordinarily weird comic – click on the image to enlarge it:

Sorry-About-The-Resolution

Our resolution ended up being inadequate. Sorry, people.

Here are some of the images that we used in the process:

tophet 3972_Wilco410495 de blobs grass kidfoot shanglow

 

Overall, making Sorry About the Resolution was an interesting experience, considering how many times we changed the elements of the story. Our feedback from Marianne and the class upon presenting the comic was useful, suggestions including maintaining some consistency in the appearance of the characters to prevent confusion and better ways to utilize the space and speech boxes. The arrangement of the comic also caused some confusion to others reading it, interrupting its flow, which could be fixed with some repositioning of the pieces in question.

Photoshop Project – iPhone 6

For our first Photoshop project, I worked with Jack and Cindy to create an image depicting the iPhone 6, a parody, so to speak, of its tagline ‘Bigger than Bigger’.
The final version of our image can be seen below.
iPhone Commercial Final

We worked by passing the original image around until we had edited it twice each, creating folders for ourselves in the .psd file as we went, so that we could easily separate our work to present it. First off, Cindy started by taking the original image – shown below as Version 0.1 – from Apple’s website.
iPhone Commercial Ver. 0.1

Next, Jack added a picture of a female weightlifter, arranging her so that she appeared to be holding up the iPhone’s – and gave her new thumbs so that it looked like she was actually holding them.
The original pictures he used are shown below.

Weightlifting_web Thumb_web

And this is Version 0.2:

iPhone Commercial Ver. 0.2

Next, being my turn, I decided we needed some sort of background, so I Photoshopped an image of the Earth underneath the weightlifter, so that she would be standing on it. Adding some perspective! I used the ellipse tool to select and move the Earth, and later, when realized there was a thin blue line remaining on part of the rim of the Earth, I used the quick selection tool to get it right.
Here is the image of the Earth that I used:
earth_web

So, this is Version 0.3:

iPhone Commercial Ver. 0.3

 

Next, it was Cindy’s turn again. She added images two children, of different ages – and sizes – on the iPhone screens to depict the growth of the phone, and skewed them so that they would be at the same angle as the phones themselves.
These are the pictures of the children she used:

baby child

And this is Version 0.4:
iPhone Commercial Ver. 0.4

Then, it was Jack’s turn again, so he Photoshopped Tim Cook’s face onto the weightlifter’s, and added to the background – added Andromeda, to be precise.
This is Tim and Andromeda:

Timandromeda_web

This is Version 0.5:

iPhone Commercial Ver. 0.5

Finally, I thought adding Steve Jobs over the background with a low opacity would be a nice touch. The picture Before-Steve was comical, yes, but Steve’s addition is not as much; I’d like to point out that the intent was not to be disrespectful towards him, but to add a layer of depth and seriousness to the image. By editing Steve the way I did, I believe that it makes him appear to be almost folding his hands, as if in prayer, and/or looking on from heaven, observing the continuation of the iPhone and contemplating. I used the magnetic lasso tool, then the quick mask mode with a brush to select Steve, move him to our image, and then lower his opacity, making sure to arrange the layers so that he was in front of Andromeda, but behind everything else.
This is Steve:
steve jobs

A reminder of the resulting final version of the image:

iPhone Commercial Final

When we presented our project in class, we were given these suggestions: [1] To edit Steve’s head so that it didn’t have that edge at the top, although I personally feel that it adds to the ‘magnitude’ of the picture that we were trying to depict. [2] That the words in the picture were unnecessary, as it is already quite obvious what we are trying to say. [3] To add a shadow under the weightlifter, to add a touch of reality to his presence. [4] To edit the size of the kids, because, for example, the baby’s head is bigger than the other child’s. A revision of perspective. [5] To edit Tim’s face, because when we compare it to the kids’, it looks redder. Although, this could be due to the pressure of lifting the big phones. [6] To move everything except the background+Steve to the right a little bit, so it all appears to be in the center of Steve’s almost-folded hands.
Here is our revised image; don’t forget to squint:
iPhone-Commercial-revised

I had fun doing this project, and thanks to Jack and Cindy for their good work!

Jack’s Exercise 2: Reproductive Art (Group Work with Xiaoyu)

Reproductive Art

(Click the title to open the reproductive art web page.)

Note: This is a group work of Xiaoyu Ma and Jack B. Du (Jiadong Du).

At first, Xiaoyu did the most of the HTML part and I was trying to help her with the CSS part. But it turned out I felt like I wanna give it completely new look. I started to revise both HTML and CSS, and finally made this webpage, which I think is quite beautiful. Basically, she was in charge of the actual reflection I was in charge of the web design.

It turned out I want to say something about this article and I wrote my own response and updated the webpage. It’s great to work with Xiaoyu and she always had good ideas. Also, she spent quite a lot time reading this article and even did quite a few researches on it. At the end of the webpage, there are several interesting links, all of which are contributed by Xiaoyu.

Anyways, below are our responses.

Jack’s Response: Reflection on Benjamin’s “The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction”

This article was written decades ago, but there’s still quite a lot we can learn. Benjamin talked a lot about the new arts in the age of mechanical reproduction. For me, I think it is a natural transition that arts are changing all the time. Nowadays, arts do not have to be something hard to reproduce. Photographs could be art, and so could movies.

Actually, I am quite glad that technology makes it easier for regular people to meet arts, even the ancient hard-to-reproduce arts. In the past, if you wanna see Mona Lisa, you have to travel all the way to France so that you can take a look at it. But now, you can find the photograph of it on the Internet. This is not even mechanical reproduction. This is Internet, which is way more advanced and convenient. I think technology does not make the arts cheap, but make the arts more accessible and appreciated by more people.

At the same time, there are more forms of arts along with the new technology. It is true that photographs can be reproduced easily. But for a real photographer, even the material on which he/she prints the photographs matters. So it is not as easy as we imagine to reproduce the arts of photography. That is because every details are representing the author’s artistic ideas. It is not just a JPEG file. It is much, much more than that. Even the frame they use may matter to their works. So the beauty of the original is still reserved, just like the old paintings or drawings.

Xiaoyu’s Response: Art in Modern Society: From Elitism to Mass Culture

In his the Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction, Walter Benjamin conveyed his worry that reproductive technology, such as photograph and the film, will lead to the decline of art. This process is accompanied by the absence of authenticity, or “aura” in Benjamin’s words (14), the change from art’s cult value to its exhibition value (20) and the change from a concentrated critic as the audience to the mind-absent public (45).

It is true that with the cost and time of producing a pierce of art are greatly reduced with the application of mechanical reproduction technology. The digital reproduction of masterpieces makes it incredibly easy for the public to see, hear and touch beauty everyday. As a result of this intensive yet unconscious embrace with art, people care more about visual and emotional enjoyment instead of a deep appreciation of the art itself. The representative forms of art in modern days, namely photos and the film, are converting art to a mass consumer culture.

However, it does not necessarily mean that mechanical reproduction is ruining the art, especially when it not only copies the existing art but also creates new art pieces. Different from Duhamel, Benjamin does not deny the contribution that the film makes to art (43). Although the film is a basically reproduction of the present scene, it creates art by using technologies that enable us to see what we usually fail to see in our daily life. Like traditional forms of art, the film is from our daily life, but is also a bit beyond the daily routine. Actually, in Benjamin’s time, computers were not widely used to create the art. Now digital media technology has greatly enriched the tools of art expression. For technology, reproduction is just the preparation stage for art creation. It is saving art in a busy modern world with explosive information, instead of ruining it.

Jack’s Exercise 5: Jimmy’s Adventurous Journey (Group Work with Jacko and Michael)

comics

Jimmy’s Adventurous Journey (Click the photo to open the comic page)

Note: This is a group work of Jacko Walz, Michael Chang and Jack B. Du (Jiadong Du).

This comic is about Jimmy. First, he pulled out a book and read. The book was actually about Jimmy himself. After each book, he pulled out another book and the stories were totally different. The comic ends with Jimmy’s smiling and satisfied face.

We were not being creative, because we came up with the idea of making comics about Jimmy. Yes, it’s Jimmy again. But we were trying to be creative about the format and the way to interpret his stories. In order to add variety to this comic, we decided to make three different stories for him. So we each worked on our own and designing the unique journey for him without telling each other what we were doing. I photoshoped Jimmy’s head on someone that is reading. Jacko helped to make the “flip page” scene, which was replaced with reading a different book at final revision. I also made the closed book one, which was quite hard, because it is not easy to “close” a book while it was open. I recreated some part of the background and finally made it look tidy enough.

Jacko put Jimmy in Star Wars, Michael make him a revolutionary hero and I took him to Harry Potter combined with NYU in real world.

I find it really interesting that Jimmy is also facing left in the comic while the comic actually goes from left to right. In class, Marianne came up with the idea of flipping him horizontally so that he is facing right so as to go with the flow of the comic. It was a good idea and we flipped them and it turned out to look much better and there was a natural flow of that comic, which leads the reader to read from left to right.

Also, the original version seems confusing, because there is almost no connection between the book Jimmy is reading and the stories that took place. We put either the name or the picture for each book that indicates Jimmy is reading different book, which also helps the readers to understand the comic better.

Generally, comic is something I grew up with, but when I started to actually make a comic, it turned out to be quite problematic. There are quite a few factors we need to consider but were missed. We did enjoy making this comic and learned how to make it easy to understand.