Sita Sings The Blues response

Sita Sings The Blues was so well done in both its storyline and its animation. I think Nina Paley did a fantastic job writing and animating the piece. I noticed there were four major animation styles throughout: the narration and discussion of the Ramayana, a more realistic animation of the story of the Ramayana, the musical animations and then animation from Nina’s actual life. The way Nina was able to parallel her life to the story of Ramayana was especially intriguing and meaningful. I also think that creating four different animations and combining them all in the same film would be an extremely difficult task; however Nina was able to tie them in seamlessly.

I also noticed how sound played a huge part in bringing Nina’s work together. I think the music and certain sound effects were really important in captivating the audience. In the sequences that involved the narrators who were discussing/ telling the story, it is prevalent the work and effort that went into piecing together the sound and the correct animation to achieve perfect timing. This piecing-together was key in the comedic aspects of the film and what I saw to be one of its best features.

 

The Ecstasy of Influence/ Everything’s a Remix

When I was younger, I was convinced that I made up the song “Kumbayah My Lord”. My sister even said: oh that’s a catchy song, where did you hear it. And I told her I made it up, because I wholeheartedly believed I did…that was until I heard in school one day.

I think the idea of cryptomnesia that Lethem brings up in his article applies to every aspect of creation whether some people admit it or not. We are copiers from birth: we copy the habits of our parents, their speech, their tastes, and so much more. When it comes to art and music, we produce what we like. And in order to know what we like, we must have some previous notion of taste.

In Ferguson’s TED talk he brings up Bob Dylan’s remixing of older folk tunes. Whether or not Dylan had the intention of copying these older songs is something we will never know, but at the very core of it, music is just a combination of the same 12 notes. In my opinion it’s difficult to criticize artists who appropriate and remix because I don’t believe there is anything to consider “original”. We are constantly being inspired by our surroundings and our memories.

McCloud Response

Scott McCloud’s brilliantly insightful look at the medium of comics redefined my notion of comics to be simple story lines and drawings. As a kid I would read the comic section of the newspaper out of boredom (aka I didn’t have a smartphone to stare at while eating my cereal in the morning). However, I never fully appreciated the artistry that went into the comics.

McCloud’s book is a visual marvel and portrays the complex world of art and the relationship between art and communication. McCloud dissects human perception in his book and I was fascinated with his explanation of why we prefer stylized characters to photorealistic characters. This is because we tend to think of ourselves as stylized. He explains that when you talk to another individual, you see their face in great detail, but your own face is just an abstract image in your head. Hence our identification with these stylized images of cartoons and comics.

Response 2

“The Rights of the Molotov” made me feel very conflicted about my stance on copyright laws and how the ownership of one’s work should be handled,  and if anyone really can like the blogger nmazca says, “own the rights of this man’s struggle”.

Initially, when I read Joy Garnett’s point of view, I fully agreed with his choice to reproduce the photograph, and the public’s choice to further reproduce it. Today, originality and authenticity isn’t as something that is as confined as it used to be in terms of art. Artists can appropriate and copy and still produce original work.

However, when I read Susan Meiselas’s portion of the article, I realized her stance in addressing copyright and originality issues were entirely justified, and something I didn’t even consider. When an image becomes iconic, its story almost becomes lost in its over-reproduction. Like the Scarface example that Kelsey used in her webpage: most of us in class have never seen the movie, and we only recognize the one iconic line, we don’t know the meaning or context of it, but we all know this empty phrase. This is what Meisela is trying to prevent from happening; for the subject of her photograph to lose meaning.

 

The Machine Stops Response

The Machine Stops parallels many dystopian themed works such as the Matrix, or Gattaca, where the running plot or rise to conflict in these dystopian societies is usually caused by humans’ dependency on technology or some sort of advancement in humanity. I think this has a lot to with the way in which humans tend to always be looking forward, and we are always trying to look for ways to improve our standards of living. This is obviously not a bad thing, but at what point do things become too convenient and too perfect?

In the same way as Vashti is dependent on The Machine to survive, I feel I am just as dependent on my iPhone. The sad truth is, some of my most important information is stored on my phone and my most memorable moments on my phone’s camera. Everything I do, and all my interactions with people has essentially become digital. Works like The Machine Stops are very uncomfortable to read because it makes you really take a step back and think about how much we’ve let ourselves become consumed by technology and its convenience.

However, I don’t believe, or maybe I’m just hopeful, that our society will allow itself to develop into one that survives solely on the power of technology. Because at the end of the day, a machine is really nothing without the power of a human, it only does what we tell it to do.