Xiaonan Li – Response to Walter Benjamin (CHEN)

It’s a very complex article to read, and it mainly talks about mechanical reproduction of arts and its influence on today. In the first part, it talks about art and its history, and in the last part,  it mainly talks about films in different aspects, like shooting skills, actors and their acting, and sound effect, etc. And the theory the author is trying to give out seems a little bit difficult for me to comprehend. He says “Mechanical reproduction of art changes the reaction of the masses toward art”, which makes me wonder what this reaction used to be before there was mechanical reproduction, and I was confused when he says “The greater the decrease in the social significance of an art form, the sharper the distinction between criticism and enjoyment by the public”.

XiaonanLi-response to Paul Rand(CHEN)

In this essay, it also discusses relation between art and technology, and in it, there is a saying that “we came here to learn how to design, rather than how to use a computer”, which reminds me of a conversation I had with Dylan. We discussed about the difference between NYUSH and a normal or less than normal university in China, he told me that in those schools, students who study for computer science begin coding from their freshman year, and they do it every day and have a very good skill coding. But if there are two students attending a job interview, one from that school and one from ours, the later one is more likely to be chosen. And the reason is that our school puts more emphasis on thinking mode, and the ability to think what to code rather than how to code. It’s the critical thinking skills that matters the most.

Xiaonan Li-Response to Rachel Greene(CHEN)

In this article, it introduced the development of net art and also the development of internet itself. And it makes me begin to think that at the very beginning of internet’s development, when most of the people are not so familiar with computers and internet, what people’s attitude and reactions would be, and what they would do with internet. And I found out that net.art is a good answer for that, which shows people are pursuing making new staffs and add innovation to this unfamiliar thing. It’s a good try for those people, and those works have been the prime ones for those in today.

Xiaonan Li-Response to Paul Graham(CHEN)

In this article, the author associate the “cold” computer science stuff with “warm” art stuffs. It holds the view that what hacker is doing is not just about science, or engineering, but also making arts, creating things. It’s not because they are using scientific methods that they are only doing things about science and irrelevant with innovation. Hackers are the makers, he points out, which in some ways makes me feel the same. I am studying computer science right now, but at the same time, I am a person crazy about arts like music or painting, or something else. Although I never actually thought about the relationship between art and science, I know they are not totally separated. And his theory gives me some enlightenment and optimism to my future career, that is, coding and program-writing do not have to be a boring and mechanical thing, they also need passion and they have flexibilities.

Xiaonan Li: Final Project(Website Art) (CHEN)

1.Link: http://imanas.shanghai.nyu.edu/~jw3249/final_project/main/

(It can not work without plugging in a Joystick)

Because this project needs a Nintendo Wii controller to do Serial Communication, so right now this project can only be accessed locally. About how to set up two local servers and connect your Nintendo Wii controller to play this game, please view https://github.com/J1E1D71/comm_final, which is the Github repository I created for this project, and I put all the “boring geek stuff” of this project in the README file there.


2.Partner: Dylan Wang

  • Work Division:
    • Dylan Wang: Shooting/Editing videos/Coding
    • Antonia Li: Script/Assets Drawing/Audio Recording
    • Special thanks to two actors: Russell Li, George Guo



In this project, we built a website with video, audio, and a game inside, and they are a consistent sequence. To do this, in the beginning we shot a video, telling audience a story. And the character inside the story will begin to play a game, then the real user will “become” the character and will play the game for him, so the game starts. And in this game, the user will find out some secrets, which will have an influence on the video story. So after the game is done, it will switch back to the video clips and show the ending of the story.

So the basic idea is: Video –> Game –> Video



At the very beginning, I wrote the general idea of the story in Chinese.

And then Dylan translated it to English, and made a separation of which part is the video and which part is game.

>>Script and Story Board:

And after that, we decided which part to shoot and which part to be made as animation. We had a disagreement about that at first, when I prefer videos while Dylan prefers animation. So we went to ask Nick about it, we introduced our project and shared our concern, and finally made a decision.

5.Make-up process:

>>Shooting part:

Then we began our shooting. Cause the whole story happens in a Chinese family, we need to find out a real house in Shanghai, which was not that easy. Fortunately, we found our mutual friends George Guo, and he allowed us to shoot in his home. And at the same time, he and another friend Russell agreed to be the actor of our play, so on a Wednesday afternoon we went his home and began our shooting.

And then we decided that our whole story will be on Chinese-based cause, which would make it seem more natural, and we decided to add subtitles later. So basically on the site, we got two tripods, two cameras, one tascam and a shotgun mic. Dylan was in charge of the camera, and me the tascam. The whole process didn’t take long, about only 2 hours.


>>Editing Part:

Dylan is in charge of the editing part, and we tried to make it more movie-like. And the most amazing thing is that we connect the video and the game quite natural, and understandable.

>>Animation Part:

Then we began to make the game. When we went shooting at George’s home, we took some pictures. Cause the game also happens in his home, so we want the background image looks  exactly like the real world. So we took pictures, and draw backgrounds out of them.

And we also created our own character:

And add other instruction staff and factors:

And there are animations with audios like the diaries:


>>Coding Part:

Cause the user is going to be a character in the video and play the game for him, and cause the character and joystick in the video, so we want to make it more similar, so we also prepare a joystick for our users  too.

And after we have all our assets, we began to put it together.Then we wrote a much detailed logic story board for the whole game, including what things and when to show.




It’s very big project and when we discussed our ideas with Nick, he said it’s a very ambitious project and would take a long time, which turns out to be quite true. But both of us quite enjoy the process, and we both learned a lot through it. Dylan is good at shooting, and I learned some techniques from him through the shooting parts. And cause there is a lot to draw for the game, now I am quite familiar with PS (especially every kinds of shortcuts to make the work much more efficient). And the most important thing is the logic to design a game, although our game is actually quite simple, it takes a lot of the time to clear our thoughts and sometimes it gets quite confusing. But fortunately, we finally worked it out, and gained a sense of proudness. ‘

Generally, I really really like the comm lab classes for this semester and I have learned a lot about html, css, javascript, shooting, audio editing and other stuff, and I really enjoy the process of making projects. And it’s really fun to work with different partners and it’s so lucky that we all get along with each other, leaving beautiful memory with each other. Thank Ann for giving us so fantastic lessons, and thank every partner I’ve got. It’s quite a good experience.

Xiaonan Li – week11: Final Project Idea (CHEN)

Partner: Dylan Wang

General Idea:

In this project, we plan to mix video, comic, and audio factors. We are going to tell a linear, immersive story. The main display form is video, and the whole story will start from a short video clip where two people are chatting, one of which is trying to persuade the other to play a video game, and then he reluctantly starts to play. And then, the webpage interface will turn to the game the character is playing, which means, now the user will become the character and play the game for him. And the form game is using live video clips as background, and people can move a tiny man to find things, start conversation, find out the truth. And when the user is playing the game, there will be video clips of character’s reaction come in, to make it more like “it’s the character that is playing the game”. And finally, when the user successfully accomplish the mission in the game, he will find out a big secret, and this secret can exactly explain something the characters always question about.

Xiaonan:Project 4 (CHEN)

Link: http://imanas.shanghai.nyu.edu/~xl2149/project4/page1


In this project, we decided to shoot a horror movie, and in the movie the main character will have an escape, and the user have to decide which path to run and what place to hide, and different choices may lead to different endings.


    • 1. NYUSH library on a normal afternoon, students studying
    • 2. Another student approaches, tells A about a scary rumor
      • C enters scene, short dialogue (leave clue)
      • Camera focus on ring briefly
    • 3. A falls asleep, wakes up alone in the library
      • No one is around, late at night
      • Details of surrounding have changed (different world?)
    • 4. A hear noises around her
      • Asks “is anyone there?” etc, hear books fall in library books section
        • A goes to books, pick up fallen book
        • Goes toward bookshelf (where C is hiding)
          • No one at bookshelf
        • A turns around and suddenly C appears (audience doesn’t see C, only A’s reaction)
          • A starts to run
      • Tries to escape (different order possible by user interaction)
        • 1) elevator
          • Try to go down
        • 2) stairs
          • Echoing footsteps blend with other scary sounds
        • 3) classroom
          • Try to lock doors
          • Find item belonging to C in classroom (clue to who the the scary person is)
        • 4) Unisex bathroom
          • Lock door, see mirror reflection, runs out again
        • 5) Hallway
          • Running, turn around and see nothing, hearing footsteps getting closer and closer
          • A thinks she is safe because footsteps stopped, peeks around corner → C reaches out for her (ring on finger) → PHONE RINGS
    • 5. A wakes up in library again
      • Phone rings (real world) interrupting the dream, wakes up in library
      • C appears, A checks for ring (doesn’t see)
      • C asks her to go home together (still wearing the ring)

Story Board:

Basically we got two endings, and there are two choices during the story and they will influence which ending to play.

Make-up process:

>>Shooting part:

It took us nearly a week to shoot and collect the video clips. For the fidget thing, first we decided to shoot in the library, however because the library closes at 8:00, it’s quite difficult to finish the night part there, so we change our place to the cafe. And the problem is that in the night part, we need cafe to be quite and clean to show that it’s really late at night and no one is there, which is quite difficult to fulfill cause there are always a lot of people in cafe even in the night. Fortunately we were lucky to find a time where there is few people and finish our shooting there.

And for the stair parts and the elevator parts, it seems easier cause there are fewer people to interrupt then. And for the classroom and bathroom, which are the most horrible scenes in the whole video, we tried several ways of the frightening part and compared them to find out which is the most frightening one. We mostly used the “sudden appearing” way to make it more horrible, which, seems working out fine.

>>Editing Part:

This time, the editing is not too hard cause we didn’t change a lot angles, so what we need to do is to connect clips, making it more natural and smooth. And the major problem we met in the editing part is that when one clip jump to another, the background sound would seem disconnected, which sounds quite weird. So our solution is extend the background sound, and add a fade out to it, and it seems more natural.

Another thing we tried to find out is how to make it more scary, like how we are going to control the timing, like when the scary hands show, or how fast it will show. We tried a lot of times and managed to find the best timing. And we are not sure about the sound effect and background music, and we couldn’t decide whether to use background music or not. And we asked our professor Ann, and she said that it’s ok to have some scary sound effect in some parts while others without sound. We tried this way, and it seems good.

>>Coding Part:

So the coding for this project is not to difficult, and main challenge we face is to create buttons on the video and lead to different video clips.

The first problem we got is how to make the button stick to the video in case the browser size changes and it might be placed outside of the video. So we used “vw” and “vh” this time to describe the location and the size of the text and the text background.

Another problem is that which video to be displayed, and we used a list and a function with parameter.Like this:




Overall, this project works out fine and basically meet our expectations. And the main problem we have is that it might seem lack of interactive because the user only have to choose twice, leading to two different endings, maybe we need to build more endings and more choices to make it more interactive and interesting. And another thing is that if we have more time, we will consider more about the consistence of the background music. And we will work more on the background sound, and lower it to make it more film like. And also, we will work more and the color of the whole video.

Xiaonan/Casey-Week8: Project 3/Audio Project (CHEN)

Link: http://imanas.shanghai.nyu.edu/~yp947/ELEANOR/


Basically in this project we want to make a short Hollywood-style trailer, to make a trailer only with audio and make it epic.


So in this project, we tell a story about a girl, who is the king of her people. And it’s her destiny to protect a relic in her species, the seed of Aya. However, the enemy attacked her city and killed her people, one of which is her beloved grandpa. So she decided to revenge, and she killed a lot of people. But eventually she was lost in her endless killing, and she found out that there was no difference between herself and her enemies — endless killing people, no matter what the reason might be. So she walked into the forest and met a fairy, who gave her the answer, “everything is born with sins”, and then she decided to kill the dragon which is composed of devil inside people’s heart, to end this world of fighting and killing.

Make-up process:

So all the sound in this small trailer came from three kinds of sources. First, the recording from the Tascam. For example, we use our finger to imitate clatter of a horse’s hoofs; we use the tissue to imitate the sound of wind; we use knife to imitate the sound of battle.

And the second source is the background music from Two Steps from Hell. And the third source is from the open source of all kinds of audio, like the sound of the battlecry, or the sound of dog.

And we cut two background music to 2 minutes and connect them. Then we began to add elements to it. The process is quite fun because sometimes it did sound like a Hollywood trailer!


1.We are still not very good at using Audacity to change the effect of the sound clips, and sometimes we don’t get what we want.

2.It’s quite difficult to speak like a Hollywood actor, and the people’s sound sometimes doesn’t fit the background.

Xiaonan Li-week7:Response to Theft and Artistry, NPR (CHEN)

The first time I heard the song Hymn for the Weekend, I found it quite amazing, including its MV. Its MV, shot in India, has brought two different cultures together, and also gives its audience a good image about Indian culture. And the first time I had a chance to watch this video was a high teacher showing us in class, and she gave quite high praise to it for mixing up two cultures so smoothly. And I have searched online about Chinese people’s comment about this song and the MV, most of it is merely compliment about the song itself, and also about the MV shot in India. However, in foreign people’s perspectives, they view this thing quite differently, and I think this is also because the cultural difference between Chinese people and foreign people. Our sensibility towards cultural things is not so high, and usually we will not think so much. And talking about their opinions about this song, I think that the culture is the fruits of all human, and cross-cultural works actually will do a great job for people to get to know about other’s culture.

Xiaonan Li-week6:Response to On The Rights of Molotov Man(CHEN)

In the article On The Rights of Molotov Man, there are two perspective of one event. One is Joy Garnett, another is Susan Meiselas. They have very different opinions, and I have found out that people have very different ideas of copyright, and their understandings vary. And when some thing goes to extremely popular, and everyone is talking about it, using it, modifying it, it would be much more difficult to control. And the photo and the painting in this article is one of the examples. Personally, I don’t like what Joy has done although I think it’s ok to borrow other’s idea and recreate them. However, when someone is borrowing an idea, he should inform of the original creator and ask him for permission.