Sita Sings the Blues is absolutely one of my favourite animated films. I don’t have much to say about the content that causes a lot of controversy, and I don’t mind seeing it as the the diary of a heart broken women. What attracts me about this film are the various cross-cultural art styles, the absolutely well-down background music and many interesting details.
I believe Nina Paley deliberately tried four of her favourite styles in the film to separate the time, place and settings. My favourite style is actually the one representing her own story. The drawings of the characters are simple and even abstract, but many elements tie the story back reality, the use real photos in the scenes for example. I also appreciate how Paley handle the details, especially how she deals with the cat. Waking you up in the morning, purring and kneading – all these are so real and familiar for those who has had a cat as a pet, and the connection is build almost immediately.
The background music has done a terrific job narrating and strengthen the emotion. One of my favourite scene is the beating heart in the beginning. The heart beats go so well with the rythem that it attracts people perfectly. The other one is the butterfly scene when Sita is taken away by the king of Sri Lanka. The butterflies dance so well with the rhythm that it is enjoyable to watch.
Anyway I think Sita Sings the Blues is a very well done animated film that you can feast on for more than one time even if there’s a huge controversy about it.
I’m almost convinced by Jonathan Lethem and Kirby Ferguson. Their opinions are in many ways similar, one focusing more on literary work and the other focusing more on media and entertainment. I do agree with their main argument that “copy is inevitable in modern life”, and that patent laws nowadays seem to be doing more bad than good. However, what I also believe is that the patent laws is not likely to vanish nor change completely because, after all, people are selfish, both mentally and materially.
I found Ferguson’s example of Steve Jobs quite interesting and accurate. In 1996 Steve Jobs said “Good arts copy, great arts steal . And we have always been shamelessly stealing ideas.” But in 2010 he said “I’m going yo destroy Andriod, because it’s a stolen product. I’m willing to go thermonuclear war on this.” Steve Jobs is not alone; in fact most people have this kind of logic. People receive inspiration and ideas from existing work, but become protective of their own work. Thus what’s maintaing the patent law is the thought of “I spent a lot of money and time making this so I should be the only one benefitted from this” instead of “I made this and I just want everyone to see this” when a person creates something new. Yes, “a cat may look at a king”, as long as it doesn’t attempt to steal the crown.
People are also protective about what they think are “original”. Their own works of course, and also the works they perceived as THE “original”. The sitcom Ipartment produced by Shanghai Film Group Cporporation and Shanghai Film Studio in 2009 received wide criticism for stealing the plots and lines from earlier American sitcoms such as How I Met Your Mother and Friends. Audience get angry for Ipartment copying what they love, but they don’t seem to care that How I Met Your Mother and Friends may have used the lines from somewhere else. This is why the arguments over patent right are never stopping, leaving the patent laws a hard nut to crack.
I was reading Understanding Comics in the library when a friend of mine approached and said “ Hahaha are you really reading comics in the library?” I didn’t know how to respond, but at that moment I realized how lucky I was to get access to this book. McCloud breaks many misunderstandings I had towards comics, and gives me a whole new perspective on comics instead.
One of my main misunderstandings of comics is its definition. I wasn’t a big comic fan, so I have always thought that comics equals cartoon equals anime. However, McCloud is saying that this may be considered as comics (Gérard Rancinan, Broken or the Dance of the Fool, 2011),
but this is not.
I realized how narrowly I used to define comics and how I confused it with other concepts. It also impressed to see how McCloud describes the difference between film and comics as “Space does for comics what time does for film.” This idea accurately reveals the sequential essence of both film and comics as well as pointing out the difference.
One of my other misunderstandings of comics is its complexity. I used to think that comics is simpler than paintings or writings because it basically guides your mind and leaves you with no imagination space. However, after reading the book I realised how people give icons life and fill up the gutter according to their own understanding. Thus if “there are a thousand Hamlets in a thousand people’s eyes”, there are a thousand Batman in a thousand people’s eyes.
The concepts such as film, comics, cartoon, and icon touched in the book are not easy to define, but I love how McCloud explains concepts and definitions using a more interesting and comprehensible way – comics.
I am working with Kelsey and Baaria on the photoshop assignment.
What we’ve been doing for the two rounds is photoshopping a nice beach
into an all-creature party.
In the first round I put in one rabbit, one cat, one panda and one drawing dog. I got them from the original images using the pen tool. I copied them in to the beach image and tried adjusting their sizes. Adding shadows was pretty tough and I may still need to figure that out.
In the second round I put in an rescuing dog and a fish under water. It was difficult dealing with the part under water, but the healing tool helped a lot. I also used adjusted the edge of the bush by using the stamp and the healing tool.
In the article the confliction between the originality of an art piece and the freedom to adapt an art piece was intense. To justify her right to adapt the photo, Joy Garnett in the beginning of the article stressed the point that she created her paintings after deliberately forgetting the context. I personally feel that this argument was flawed because even though Joy intended to adapt the photo solely on her understanding, it was her responsibility to credit the photographer Susan Meiselas before publishing. After all, the audience has the right to track back to the originality of the art piece and form their own understanding of the context.
On the other hand, I believe that if credit appropriately, Joy Garnett has every right to add her understanding into the adaption of the photography. Every artist has the right to express his or her opinions in their artworks, but no one can force the audience to interpret the writings according to the artist’s original desire. Differences and distance exist between the artist’s mind and the audience’s interpretation, which reveals the possibility that the audience are actually the ones who “create” the art work. So there are adaptions that the original artists would like to see, like the animated classic paintings below:
And there are also adaptions that the original artists may not like..
Anyway, the originality of an art piece and the freedom to adapt an art piece are not always in odd, especially when artists are more careful in crediting.
In The Machine Stops E.M Foster poses to the readers a question: will machines get out of control and dominate the world? In the novella human beings are gradually controlled by the machines and lose the ability to think, feel or interact with others. However, I personally believe that “machine domination” can only exist in scientific novels because human’s desire to feel and interact is not easy to be erased. Even The Machine Stops is more like a warning than a prediction because of the character Kuno.
I remember talking about Mechanical Reproduction last semester in GPC. Walter Benjamin raised the point in The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction that “even the most perfect reproduction of a work of art is lacking in one element: its presence in time and space, its unique existence at the place where it happens to be.” People have the desire to see the original art piece because they want to not only see the piece but also feel it, which enables them to interact, in some extent, with the artist. Just like Jingyi Sun mentioned in class discussion, ” (People’s desire to see the original is why) no one takes selfies with prints of Mona Lisa, but everyone takes selfies with the Mona Lisa at the Louvre.” Digital Reproduction is similar to Mechanical Reproduction, in a sense that machines only help to transfer pixel instead of the feeling of the artist.