Nicholas Sanchez Final documentation

Hello all, the following is the documentation regarding my final project for this semester’s Collective Methods course.

Throughout the semester, we had learned about predominately two topics which I would categorize as “The Narrative” and “The Data”, where the former referred to how a collective narrative can be told, while the latter refers to attaining information from the internet. Keeping these two topics in mind, I went forth to design a final project which could incorporate the two topics that we had studied.

Originally, I had set out to create a program which would convey the amount of online support for some current U.S. President hopefuls and and present it visually. In other words, display the twitter support of the top six American presidential candidates. To do this, I had imagined a visual display which showed the candidates’ heads, which would hopefully shift in size to display proportionate media support from twitter. For example, should one candidate have a lot of support, than their head would be large, and vice versa. In this aspect, the shifting sizes were meant to construct a narrative about these candidates’ political presence and success online, and tell the story about their success and failure in relation to one another. The idea here would be that the visual narrative would be based on the participation of tweeters from around the globe who submitted posts via Twitter displaying their support for each candidate. The narrative was facilitated by me, as I made the visual display, while the actual content of the narrative was supported by the masses who participate in the digital sphere.

The second part of the project involved attaining that data from the internet, so as to properly gauge each candidate’s online following. To do this, I decided to use the tweepy Python library in order to scrape Twitter for supportive tweets regarding each candidate.

I began this project by taking our scraping excercises and applying them to scrape twitter. In conjunction with vanilla tweepy, I used the tweepy LiveStreamer library so that I could get real time results for each query. In this process I learned that simply scraping information, such as a hashtag for a candidate’s name, was not enough, as often such hashtags are used critically or ironically, and therefore by no means a good indication of one’s twitter support. However, specific hashtags regarding a candidate were conversely very supportive. For example, scraping for a hashtag with a candidate’s campaign slogan would often provide useful tweets from supporters of that candidate. Therefore, I had to limit the parameters of my searches to hashtags which overwhelmingly produced supportive tweets for each candidate.

The issue with this was often these hashtags would be so numerous that they would never work with my tweepy code, as tweepy can only handle so many requests within a fifteen minute window. For example, using tweepy to find #Hippo would often yield about 400 tweets, which was no issue. However, searching for a hashtag such as Donald Trump’s slogan #MakeAmericaGreatAgain would always result in a plethora of errors, particularly tweepy’s 429 errror, as this query would literally return thousands of responses. Moreover, tweepy would parse quickly but count out the results at about the rate one result per second, which made waiting for each search a lengthy process of about 5-10 minutes each time, and only when scraping quantifiable hashtags. This prevented me from scraping the data for each candidate, as I had originally intended. On one occasion, this code even caused my computer to crash, which was, needless to say, frustrating.

Another aspect of the scraping worth mentioning was the struggle with coding. Python is, I believe, generally easy to use. Moreover, documentation of tweepy is extensive and easily found within the internet. However, this documentation is tyically written and read by people who understand tweepy on a level beyond my own, as the jargon used and presecribed remedies inherent in the documentation are not written in lay terms. This was problematic for my research, and certainly retarded my progress. However, I was able to learn how to use the LiveStreamer library to an extent, which was paramount for this project.

To remedy these obstacles, I had to compromise, and used tweepy instead to scrape information regarding animals, such as the aforementioned #Hippo, and attribute the results to a candidate. This way I would still be using tweepy and the LiveStreamer library, but also have some attainable numbers to fuel the visual aid.

Beyond the data scraping, my final relied on creating the visual narrative from whence to display each candidate’s political support. My process involved using the Processing program to create a sketch whereby I created a screen that housed the dynamic heads of each candidate, and had each change size based on the tweepy output. This was perhaps the simplest part of the process, as the steps were simple and easy for me to accomplish. I began by writing a sketch, and placing a photoshoped PNG of Donald trumps head into that sketch. This initial sketch allowed me to change the size of his head based on my placement of the mouse within the processing window. Then, I created another sketch where I simply had his head bouncing around the window and oscillating bewteen sizes ranging from 100 pixels to 1000 pixels. The next step required me to then photoshop the other candidates’ heads into PNGs, so that they matched Donald Trumps and had no backgrounds. The final step, perhaps the simplest, was to design the final visual display and integrate all the visual and technical assets.

Here are the asset pictures used for my final:

 

Reflection:

I think the goal of each final project is to challenge oneself with the tools and lessons learned over the semester, which was what I attempted for this project. Along the way, much self education occurs as well, and helps solidify one’s understanding of the concepts and efficacy with the tools. For me, the scraping aspect was certainly the most challenging, as it required me to use and learn the various ways in which the tool tweepy could be used. In addition, as previously mentioned, the research I did was greatly impeded by the technical jargon used by tweepy documenters. I was able to use the skype office hours a few times, but the time difference in conjunction with my schedule made this option a tricky task, as availability was not always attainable. However, this issue was unavoidable due to the great time difference, and therefore couldn’t be helped.

Moreover, I am disappointed that I couldn’t achieve my ultimate goal of scraping the actual hashtags regarding each candidate. It is my hope that I can work on this project a little more to see if I might be able to do it in the future, as I really appreciate the value of scraping and would like to better understand this concept.

Overall, I am glad that I learned what I could in this class, and was able to put some of it to use for my final. I appreciate the study of the dynamics of narrative, and will keep those lessons in mind with all future projects. Moreover, I really did enjoy learning about scraping, as I believe it is a tool which should be used more by people, as it creates greater digital self efficacy when searching the web. Therefore, I will conclude by stating that the greatest outcome of this project was my practice and usage of tweepy to scrape Twitter.

 

To see all my assets, click here or here

 

Nicholas Sanchez’s Animation “Billy’s Revenge”

Making an animation was perhaps one of the most difficult and rewarding processes of this semester, as it was not only among the most labor intensive, but also the most showing of the effort put in. Like most tools utilized during this semester, using Aftereffects was an educational experience, for applying principles learned in class by putting them into the process truly reinforced those concepts. Furthermore, the repetition incurred throughout the process, like the utilization of puppet pins for simulating movement, really clarified how animation can be done using this medium.

Initially an issue I faced was creating the storyboard. I think this because my initial storyboard was incredibly ambitious, and reflected how little I knew about the animation process. Upon learning about the amount of work my ambitious project required, I reassessed and changed the idea entirely. Even the changed storyboard was a little bit too ambitious, so I edited and worked as I saw fit throughout the process.

The next step, gathering the assets, was a little bit tricky, as I needed to create and/or assimilate all images, characters, and settings, and then compile them into an After Effects friendly format. This process was time consuming, but I managed to make the animation’s characters and scenery using the Smart Objects option in Photoshop. The challenge here was creating a specific image for each action. For example, I had to make a separate pair of eyes to show my characters blinking, and make specific body parts for each character to simulate motion in After Effects. It is necessary to note that I didn’t assemble any sound assets until I began animating, and lost these assets when I changed computers. The lesson here is, always save all assets to the same folder that the project is saved in.

After this was done, I uploaded all my assets into After Effects and began my work. In keeping with the storyboard, I needed to make scenes that corresponded with each shot of the storyboard. To do this, I made a composition to correspond with each of these panels, and hence simulated camera angles. This process, of creating the scenes themselves, was difficult, as using the puppet pins and other After Effects techniques to simulate motion is generally difficult. Nevertheless, we continued on, and although I never quite perfectly matched realistic motion, I think the end result was enough like a cartoon to work.

Here is the first cut:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2IlDlXP6YEY

After the initial round of feedback I received, I changed a few things to make the animation a little better. First, I went back into Photoshop and fixed the lines of my characters so that they were bolder and stood out more easily. In addition, I changed the balloon’s mouth so that it appeared more like a mouth than a “bat”. Then I edited the motion to make the movements of the character’s more natural. Finally, I brought in some ambient sound and other music, which helped the animation progress and not remain stagnant. The final step was to make the dialogue of the film and convert it into key frames. From here, I parented the balloon’s mouth the the key frames, which allowed the mouth to move in chorus with the speaking parts. Essentially, this simulated the balloon speaking.

Overall, I would say I spent maybe 20 plus hours working on this project, and rendering certainly contributed to the length. Nevertheless, after rendering and compression, I finished this process and I can say that I am proud of the animation “Billy’s Revenge”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1QmE2CKk8R0

Nicholas Sanchez’s Comm Lab Reflection

Over the course of this semester, it must be said that I have learned many useful and applicable lessons from my time in Communications Lab. I believe the best resource this class provides is the exposure to the many digital media which are used to create and communicate in this digital age. From learning HTML to the creating the final animations in After Effects, this course has introduced me to many tools which I had never used before, and provided me the opportunity to lean and practice using said tools. What is significant about this is, though I may not be 100 percent proficient in each area, I did nevertheless gain exposure to each tool and am now capable of using those tools. Furthermore, the knowledge of the tools which I acquired during this semester will allow me to, from this point on, further develop my competence in each platform and become more proficient with time.

This said, I can say that there were several things which I have learned about myself, and about my creative process, during the course of this semester. The first is that it is necessary when embarking on a project, like an animation or film, to plan ahead as far as you can. Often I was much too ambitious with what I wanted to make initially, and didn’t realize just how much work needed to be done. Planning ahead is a good way to reign in the unforeseeable factors and manage time in an efficient way.

The second lesson I learned is the value of gathering assets. If one plans ahead properly, then managing assets shouldn’t be too difficult. One may need to create their assets, as I did for practically every project I worked on this semester, which would still take considerable time. Nevertheless, really deciding what you need beforehand will make the asset step much easier, and by extent expedite much effort in following steps.

The next lesson regards working in groups. I have found in this experience that group work can be a fun process when all in the group are excited and willing to work on the project. This adds immensely to the quality of the finished product, and makes all work spent on the project much easier. However, there is a point where all members become so accepting, that is, so readily agreeing to all suggestions that the process becomes halted and no work can be done. In a situation like this, I believe that one member must be a little firm guiding the group in a direction, so that the project can continue to move forward.

The most important lesson I have learned throughout the semester is that the tools we used (Photoshop, After Effects, Premier, Audacity, etc.) and the hardware which accompanied these tools (cameras, microphones, laptops) are all wonderful, but must be managed careful. As these resources are shared throughout the NYUSH community, acquiring them can be difficult and put the progress of your creation in peril. Furthermore, access to the adobe suite is also not universal, and access can be tricky. Therefore, appreciating the availability of resources is an important consideration for any digital expression process.

Overall, this has been a wonderful semester, and this class has furnished my time with work that has been an immense joy to do, which certainly cannot be said for any other classes. I look forward to putting the skills developed in this class to good use in the future, and hope that with time, practice will allow me to progress with each of these media.

 

Nicholas Sanchez 3D printing

What I appreciated most about this segment of the class were the tools used to make our 3D models. Although we learned the sophisticated Fusion 360 and Rhino CADs, I nevertheless opted to use Tinkercad, because it is simple and doable. Fusion 360 was excellent, but a little confusing. I rely heavily on the ability to create custom shapes by making holes out of other solid shapes, but Fusion 360 did not allow me to do this. Rhino was also very difficult to reckon with, so I did not use Rhino.

Making a Tinkercad model was nevertheless quite time consuming, as it required hours of design and redesign. Although I was only able to print a single holder for the sound sensor, I was still able to print it and tinker with its design after doing so. What I decided to construct was an iphone 5 case which offered a variety of features. The first feature was built in amplified speaker which would passively amplify all sound. The second is a collapsible back which allows one to place the iphone on a table and prop it up. The next feature is the combination of twin cord holders, which would ideally be used for holding one’s headphones and charging cord simulteaneously. The final and most sophisticated feature is the built in sound detector. This would include installing a sound detector, buzzer, arduino lilypad, and a power source. By connecting the three, we could program the lilypad to take all input noise taken in by the sound sensor, and translate that into sound emitted by the buzzer. The idea is to effectually allow one to find their phone if it becomes lost by simply having them clap or make a really loud noise. The phone case would respond to this loud noise by buzzing, and thus help the user easily locate the lost phone. Here are the designs for the iphone case.

What I appreciated most about this segment of the class were the tools used to make our 3D models. Although we learned the sophisticated Fusion 360 and Rhino CADs, I nevertheless opted to use Tinkercad, because it is simple and doable. Fusion 360 was excellent, but a little confusing. I rely heavily on the ability to create custom shapes by making holes out of other solid shapes, but Fusion 360 did not allow me to do this. Rhino was also very difficult to reckon with, so I did not use this.

Making a Tinkercad model was nevertheless quite time consuming, as it required hours of design and redesign. Although I was only able to print a sibgle holder for the sound sensor, I was still able to print it and tinker with its design after doing so. What I decided to construct was an iphone 5 case which offered a variety of features. The first feature was built in amplified speakers which would passively amplify all sound. The second is a collapsible back which allows one to place the iphone on a table and prop it up. The next feature is the combination of twin cord holders, which would ideally be used for holding one’s headphones and charging cord simulteaneously. The final and most sophisticated feature is the built in sound detector. This would include installing a sound detector, buzzer, arduino lilypad, and a power source. By connecting the three, we could program the lilypad to take all input noise taken in by the sound sensor, and translate that into sound emitted by the buzzer. The idea is to effectually allow one to find their phone if it becomes lost by simply having them clap or make a really loud noise. The phone case would respond to this loud noise by buzzing, and thus help the user easily locate the lost phone. Here are the designs for the iphone case.

 

https://tinkercad.com/things/83sLJthmiW8

Nicholas Sanchez’s initial animation

So here is the collection of my storyboards. I think that my animation will acually be a trailer for the fictional scifi epic “SCAR WARS,” completely invented by myself.  What I aim to do with this piece is create a short narrative where popular and iconic characters are basically participating in an all out fight. To better understand, an outline is  attached at the bottom.

animation sb 1

animation sb 2 animation sb 3animation sb 4

Scar Wars rough script

 

  1. 2. 3. Line 1 “The Scar wars. They left our planet ravaged. But after the onslaught, the death, and the hell that became our lives, eventually we won, and we thought it was over.”

 

4.Line 2 “But we were wrong”

 

4.5 Line 3 “Pika!”

 

  1. Line 4“Lets get this show on the road, aha!”

 

  1. BLACKOUT

 

  1. Darht vs Teletubby

 

  1. slide 1 : WAR

 

  1. Sonic goes super

 

  1. slide 2 : RAGE

 

  1. Master Chief and Samus

 

  1. Slide 3 : LUST

 

  1. Charlie and sponge hands

 

13.5. Charlie and sponge

 

13.5.2. Charlie and sponge charge/transform

 

  1. slide 4 : MORE RAGE

 

  1. Shrek

 

15.5. Line 5 “Ogres have layers… We both have layers.”

 

  1. Slide 5: SCAR WARS, COMING THIS CHRISTMAS, FOLLOW US ON TWITTER

Nicholas Sanchez’s Sita Sings the Blues Response

Sorry this is late, but here it is.

Sita Sings the Blues is an excellent animation feature film, which I believe highlights the usability of animation platforms like After Effects. Let me begin my response by describing what I initially liked or what otherwise immediately caught my attention.

To begin, the different styles of animation used by Nina Paley enhance the piece and display her diverse talents. I also appreciated the consistency of the animation relating to whatever it was the story was doing. For example, the shadow puppets (who were hilarious) had a unique animation style different from the others; so too did the cartoon when Sita literally sang the blues; the meta narrative of Paley’s own life and breakup also had a unique style. What’s more impressive is that she did all of this alone, and worked on it from a single program. This, I think, speaks volumes about her talent as well as what can be done using the Adobe programs.

My critique of the piece is simple, and I can categorize criticisms in three ways. The first complaint lies in the intro and ending. Although I appreciate that Paley used the same sequence to conclude the film as she did to open it, I think that they are too abstract and take away from the story. Furthermore, the length of these pieces was a little bit too long. My second criticism regards the blues songs that Sita sings. To clarify, I believe Annette Hanshaw’s voice is lovely, the songs are great, and that this was an excellent creative choice on the part of Paley. Furthermore, I respect her use of the song and animation to show the connection between the context of the song and how that related to the story. However, like the introductory and concluding animations, the songs ran a bit too long. My final criticism lies in the ending of the Sita story. I thought that it was abrupt and not as exciting as I would have liked to have seen, which left me feeling like a some action was missing. Nevertheless, if this was Paley’s creative choice, then I appreciate the technique. However, I personally would have made Sita’s “return to the womb” a little more exciting.

These things said, Sita Sings the Blues was altogether a great film. The storytelling was great, and the different facets of the narrative, like Paley’s own trials, Sita, and the shadow puppets, all enriched the film and grasped audience attention. Overall, I highly enjoyed watching this movie. If I can take anything away from this film, it is that Animation is a difficult endeavor, but a truly rewarding one if done well.

Billy and Nick Sound

Initial Sound:

Final Sound:

Billy’s Reflection:

The project we made is about Nicholas and I surviving within a zombie apocalypse. We took a long time to put everything together, since we needed to redo a lot of the voice recordings to choose the best combinations of voices. Nicholas made the narration and his character’s voice, and I think he has an outstanding variety of voices that will bring a smile into our faces. I made the script dialogue and voiced my character as well. After having the recordings and the additional sounds found in freesound.org, I compiled everything according to the script; the compilation took around three hours. Nicholas imported the music and revised what I have compiled, and the final product is finally done.
I noticed that the sounds in the headphones and the ones in the surround sound are completely different; I did not expect this to happen. However, overall, I had quite a lot of fun making this sound audio log.

Nicholas’ Reflcetion:

This project was probably the most difficult for me thus far, because of all the topics/activities covered in this class, “sound” was something I had no previous experience with. However, my partner was excellent, as he was knowledgeable and creative, which really helped our creative process.

My biggest challenge was understanding the terminology and applications taught in class, and hence using those lessons in the creative process. At first, I was highly intimidated, and really just played it by ear. Billy was the main editorial force in our rough draft, and hence I was not put to the test.

When it came time to revise our initial process, Billy and I worked cohesively to complete the task. In this capacity, I learned how to use the software by doing it, which really reinforced what I learned in class. Furthermore, every mistake we made in the process taught me something better. I can fairly say that working on the audio clip this week was perhaps the most helpful in terms of me learning the material, and I can say I am proud of the finished project.

Fruit Puns by June, July, and Nicholas

Fruit Puns

Let me begin by saying that this project was quite a bit of fun. Both working with my partners and working on this project was delightful, as well as incredibly educational, as you learn much about photoshop by constantly working on it. I found that this project dynamic was very similar to the previous “exquisite corpse” photoshop project, as the project’s progress constantly relied on the other partner to be completed. This said, my partners were all focused on the good of the project, meaning that they were all cooperative and open to each other’s ideas. For this reason, I regard this project a huge success. I hope that you enjoy the new and improved “Fruit Puns” comic.

Nicholas Sanchez’s response to remix’s

If I have observed anything from the youtube series “Everything is a Remix” and the “Ecstasy of Influence”, it is that all things, and I do mean all things, are created from the old. This is not an opinion, or even a well stated thesis. Just as sure as Bob Dylan derived his music from the work of others, we can be absolutely sure of the categorical claim that all creations are the culminations of older works.

The way I see it, there are two discussions regarding this topic present today. The first, is to determine whether it is acceptable for new creations to incorporate aspects from older creations, considering the claims Kirby makes. This is a discussion about plagairism. The second discussion pertains to the legal aspect of copyright and patent, or rather, the ownership of intellectual property.

To address the first, I think both the Kirby and Lethern are in agreement. By this I mean that both agree that part of the creation  process does indeed include the observation and incorporation of already existing things. This inclusion, emulation, or duplication, is not done maliciously or out of laziness. Rather, this is just a natural and unavoidable part of the creative process. Therefore, in a way, all forms of creations are to an extent, plagiarism. However, such plagiarisms are not inherently evil nor do they detract from the creation. Such usage must be appreciated as a natural byproduct of the creative process.

The second discussion, which concerns law and patenting, is a little bit more difficult an issue to address. I say this because big and powerful “Patent Trolls” are numerous, and fight tooth and nail to squeeze every profitable cent from artistic creation. Notable examples would be the response of EMI Records to Danger Mouse’s “Gray Album”. As Lethern points out, patents were not created to discourage creation nor feed the greedy patent trolls, but really to do just the opposite. Effectually, they were created to allow the original creator time to cover their costs, and then allow for the invention to be explored for the general good of the public. However, these original noble intentions have since been perverted by institutions such as the patent trolls.

I agree with all the points that both pieces present. However, I think that as this postmodern society advances, and the issue of intellectual property is further debated, we must never forget those whose creative license is at stake. Many artists do feel that their works are indeed protect by the very laws that patent trolls abuse. In conclusion, all sides must be considered moving forward.

How Nicholas Sanchez Understood comics

Let me begin my response by explaining what my initial understanding of comics before reading this book. Growing up in the late 1990s and early 2000s, I understood comics to be a very specific genre of graphic art, or rather, funny little illustrated books that told stories about superheroes; nothing more, and nothing less. Then, when I became a little older, I learned about comics like “Tintin” and “Calvin and Hobbes”. This was perhaps my first and only introduction into the diverse world of comics.

Because my opinion of comics was previously so shallow, the book Understanding Comics by Scott McCloud seemed quite interesting to me. This book sheds a very intense light on the subject, as Scott McCloud expands the scope of comics and illuminates the various different ways in which comics can be an art and medium. And though I did not agree with everything McCloud extrapolates, I do think many of his statements are meritorious.

I must say that I have a hard time wholly accepting that comics themselves can be a medium, as this claim comes off rather farfetched. Perhaps, as McCloud does acknowledges, this sentiment can be attributed the tunnel vision and cultural lack of understanding that I have absorbed, in conjunction with comic’s relative youth. Nevertheless, I cannot agree to this claim that comics are a self-substantiating medium, although I would agree that comics are certainly more than a mere genre.

However, I do appreciate certain aspects that McCloud identifies within the book. Namely, his working definition, the content, and the philosophy behind comics. The definition McCloud offers, “juxtaposed pictorial and other images in deliberate sequence, intended to convey information and/or to produce an aesthetic response in the viewer” is, I think, solid and explanatory. In addition, identifications of comic’s aspects, like “closure,” “visual iconography,” and “cartoon” truly are plentiful and specific to comics. I appreciate that he points these aspects out because these crucial and pertinent aspects help elevate the status of comics by giving it form, while also helping set comics aside from visual art.

I would hence agree that comics are at least a specific art form. McCloud alludes to this with his conclusions that 1) comics are a hybrid between visual art and literary art 2) comics are various and by no means indicative of a single person or style, just like all other art forms 3) comics incorporate psychology and sensory devices and 4) have a form and structured process when being created. Because comics have all these components, I can appreciate comics as a unique art form that is truly in its infancy and dangerously undervalued.

Though I may not see comics as a medium in itself, comics truly has many characteristics which set it apart. McCloud’s deep analysis helped me reach this conclusion, as his in-depth evaluation sheds light on the overlooked merits of comics. Comic’s certainly are diverse enough to span many tastes and styles, and can be just as deep and thought provocative as many glorified art forms. For this reason, as well as those provided in the book, I hope to see Scott McCloud’s prognosis come into fruition; that is to say, I hope as time goes on, and the world of comics grows and thrives, comics will too grow to be valued  as the art form as it truly is.

 

 

Nicholas Sanchez’s “Molotov Man” Resopnse

This text’s significance lies in how it contributes to the ongoing conversations regarding intellectual property in the digital age. What the conclusion yields is that to every story, there are multiple sides, each with a specific point of view. This was made evident as I found myself overwhelmingly inclined to side with Joy Garnett, who in this case, appeared a bastion of freedom of expression and champion of the intellectual property debate that rages in the digital age. Expressly, when confronted by Susan Meisalas, who opposed the use of her image “Molotov Man,” Garnett’s resolution to defy this demand appealed to my own sentiments. Thus, within the first two pages, I was already on Garnett’s side, and against Meisalas.

But just as I was firm in my convictions of Garnett’s righteousness, Meisalas too was firm that her initial picture contained was a very specific “essence”. That is to say, the original “Molotov Man” image was more than a mere photograph, as it embodied a specific moment in time, a plethora of unique emotions, and a symbolic presence; Meisalas felt such sentiments were represented only by the original photograph. In her opinion, all of the reduplications were to her mere bastardizations, copies that not only “decontextualized,” the image, but also stripped it of its significance. Furthermore, the more this picture is recreated, the actual man depicted along with the reality of that event, lose the reality.

After considering this side of the story, I was no longer sure that Garnett was right and Meisalas wrong. Rather, I appreciated bot sides, and understand that such discussions must be heard and considered in today’s digital age, where the already fine line that separates originality form copyright infringement has become finer. Moreover, I believe both parties are correct. It will be interesting to see how this conversation evolves within the next few years.

Nick’s Walter Benjamin Response

Pictures of my website

Screen Shot 2015-02-03 at 9.31.28 AM Screen Shot 2015-02-03 at 9.31.20 AM

Here is my code.

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<title>Nick’s Review of “The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction”</title>
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p {
text-indent: 50px;
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<body style=”background-color:#FFC266″>

<h1 style=”text-align:center”>Welcome to the page dedicated to Nicholas Sanchez’s interpretation of Walter Benjamin’s work</h1>

<img src=”http://www.cyberphysics.co.uk/graphics/photos/camera.gif” width=”300″ height=”300″>

<p>Let us first consider art’s meaning. The etymology of the word art comes from artificial, which means man-made. Artificial likewise comes from the Latin word “artificium”, or “handicraft”. The significance of this minor history lesson is that, by understanding the word artificial, we develop a better intuition into the meaning of art and artificial productions. That is to say, art, machines, technology, crafts, and etc., are all “artificium”, or made by the hand of man. This is a universal and key element to understanding all forms of art.</p>

<p style=”font-family:verdana;font-size:200%;text-align:center”>Perception</p>

<p>Art and reduplicating nature is all about Perception. An interesting note Benjamin makes is that of the senses, the ability to see, feel, and smell, all are utilized when humans perceive and replicate artificium. The significance: As technology has advanced, so too has man’s capacity to replicate and create the artificial, as only through technology could this imitation be achieved. As Benjamin states, there is a degree of detachment that accompanies all works of art, for they merely signify the real thing imitated or reality. Hence, every time art is reproduced, it loses more of its “unique existence” and “aura”. It “loses its very essence,” and thus as the degree to which that piece and the actual reality are situated grows larger, the piece’s aura decreases.</p>

<p style=”font-family:verdana;font-size:200%;text-align:center”>The differences between traditional art and “art in the age of mechanical reproduction”</p>

<p>In terms of this work, the making of art via mechanical, artificial and man-made constructions is meant to depict the use of camera to create a photograph or film. For purists, these new mediums are not truly art. However, because such methods are in their infancy yet, the debate continues on. </p>

<p>Why should such mediums be considered art in the first place? A photo is art because it is an artificial reproduction of something real. Furthermore, the photographer is an artist for he has an intention and a bias, which is presented in the photo, and adds the human element to the photograph. Thus, like ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs (if not all visual arts), photographs contain rich semiotic identities. Filmed performances, likewise, are artistic pieces consisting of the actors, who create their own art, coupled with the cameraman’s art, which is to decide angles, adjust light, and ultimately determine what is to be perceived by audiences.</p>

<p>And though Benjamin is undeniably correct when he argues that mechanical reproduction is the only way that recreation can become separated from the “traditional art”, and mechanically produced art is consequently subjected to politics. However, he unfairly condemns the movie industry for its greed, implying that the greedy intentions that incited the film somehow decrease it’s stature as a legitimate art form. This is unfair, as historically all “legitimate” and “true” pieces of art have been created only when wealthy elites had been willing to commission it. In other words, art shouldn’t be judged based upon the financial desires surrounding the pieces conception, for then most of the Western world’s concept of art would be made illegitimate.</p>

<p style=”font-family:verdana;font-size:200%;text-align:center”>Issues</p>

<p>First, producing art is always done via mechanical means for the tools (such as the media brushes, a chisel, clay) used to create “traditional” art are also mechanical. Thus, although there is a difference between arts produced by a brush versus a camera, both are ultimately a person using an artificial medium to create a piece of art. </p>

<p>Second, I disagree with his subtext that the using a camera to create a picture or film lacks perception, meaning, skill, or influence, and is thus not an inferior art as the texts suggests*. Consider for the first time in history the commercial availability to create art via camera has allowed for the art-experiencing community to broaden. In the past, only the wealthy or educated elite could experience and define “fine art”, and thus the art community was concentrated. As now anyone can participate in the art discussion (most people can buy cameras, produce art, and partake in the experience of said art), the former elite community clings to its former status by arguing that such media are not legitimate. This speaks to Benjamin’s comparisons between fascism and communism.</p>

<p>Moreover, I specifically take issue with the idea that people who attend movies are not experiencing art, but rather mindlessly participating in a distraction. In the last century, film has indeed created some of the most influential and successful artworks available to man. If anything, film is a superior art form to that of fine art for it has the availability to be experienced by all, whereas a painting really cannot. Just because anyone can now do it does not diminish its creative value. And Movies do indeed have a cult-value.</p>

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<p>Ultimately, I find that although traditional arts are so fervently segregated, they and mechanically produced art are not so different. After all, both are narratives, as the artist behind the medium (mechanical or not) has intention and imbues their piece with their own biases and both are narratives, and meant to tell a story. Both truly can be appreciated as art and creative expression, and are simultaneously the products of financial investment. Thus, at least from a practical perspective, the two variations truly are the same.</p>

<p2> <small> <i>*Benjamin argues that the photography and film lack aura, which is to say both merely create an intriguing spectacle. In away, the debate between film and photography versus modern art is indeed the debate between spectacle and aura, and perhaps even the masses versus the elite. One key difference explicitly belong to art produced via camera thus is that it has the ability to reach the masses.</i> </small></p>

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Nicholas Sanchez’s Response to The Machine Stops

Motifs presented in the short story The Machine Stops by E.M. Forster are neither simple nor few. Indeed, reflected within this piece are themes of man, his relation to the world, his relation to technology, evolution, avitism, and so on. And though the narrative manifests as a story, it ultimately seems to highlight serious potential social issues created as man becomes more intimate with technology. I believe that in doing so, the text acts as a warning of what outcomes may prevail should man’s relationship to technology ever go unchecked and surpass man’s own use.

“Astonishment” is the only accurate way to describe my initial reaction to this piece, for not only is the text’s age significant, but it’s predications are all to real. An example for why this text inspired my awe is its depiction of modern technologies, such as the communication screens identical to ipads which allow for “Skype”-like calls. Another incredible aspect of the text are the underlined social implications (perhaps afflictions) derived from wanton use technology, such as the muscular atrophy and inability to make physical/eye contact with one another inherent in most people. Such facets are incredulous because they were imagined nearly a hundred years ago from today, when humanity is just now facing such issues and utilizing such technologies. Furthermore, the text raises awareness of said issues acutely.  Therefore, this piece is not only an enjoyable work of fiction, but a very relevant modern text which presents a unique opinion applicable in the field of Media and Technology.

Though this book may seem similar in form to “1984,” “Brave New World,” or even the short stories by Ray Bradbury, the gist of the text is unique and clear; the significance of this story is that of a warning, meant to forewarn society of the inevitable consequences of its rising obsession and integration of technology in modern life.