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So, I’m almost done reading the Falk & Dierking paper about creating museum experiences and I felt compelled to write this blog post about my feelings towards it. Before I even stop, let me first pay my respects to these museum curators and apologize, once again, for my narrow-minded view on museums and the arts. I know in a past blog post, I admitted my wrong for believing the arts were a useless field but now I must say that I now realize that I didn’t really pay much attention to the care and love that museum curators put into making museums an experiences, especially since they are dealing with a very broad audience that they want to cater to. Just reading this paper gave me a headache. I didn’t realize that museum curators had to take everything like these elements into consideration in order to give the best possible experience to their customers. Even if they aren’t following these elements down to the letter, I can understand how frustrating it can be for you to have a vision in mind for an artifact; but your visitors disclaim it and form their own vision. So, kudos to the curators!!

But getting to the actual passage of the paper, I wholeheartedly agree with what was said in this passage. A lot of things that Falk & Dierking pointed out really sat with me in a deep way, but one that I completely felt like needed to be highlighted, italicized, bolded, and capitalized would have to be on page 141, PDF page 4 where it says,

“Museums need not try to compete with
Disneyland, but they should accept that they are competing
for visitor’s leisure time and they need to be attuned to the
needs and desires of their consumers.”

True, museums are in competition with places like Disneyland and I understand that in order for them to face up to them, they have to make the necessary changes to their exhibits to pull in visitors. But there is a fine line that is set between the fun you have strictly for fun and the fun you have strictly for education. When I have a museum in mind, I don’t picture an arcade. That, to me, would be a waste of my time because I’m there to get something specific such as an educational piece for me to use in my daily life. To me, I believe a lot of people think like this and if museums try to compete with a fun activity in another spectrum, that could lead to ruin. Personally, I feel that museums are the one with the advantage versus Disneyland. Disneyland is seasonal, tickets are expensive to get in, you must pay to get on certain rides, if you’re hungry you can expect to pay an arm and a leg and let’s not factor in gas money and travel fees. Museums are the places that people go to when they know they don’t have the money to indulge in the reckless fun so they go for the fun they can afford and get something out of it.

 

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I have to say, I did read the paper before the movie. There were a few paragraphs that made my brain go a bit fuzzy but I got the general idea of it. It did make the movie a lot more bearable because I was picking up on what was being discussed in the paper but it was still difficult to feel what all of the symbolism meant. I was trying to put it all together as I watched and it felt like watching the movie was becoming a bit clinical. It went something like oh, I remember reading about this, what did it mean again and trying to think up what the paper said and trying to analyze it at once and moving on. I guess that kept my brain occupied but near the end of the movie I stopped and just casually watched the rest of the movie while eating ice cream.

I think a part of my brain was also trying to make the movie into something that makes sense to me. Basically having the movie be about doppelgängers and these doppelgängers have some sort of connection to each other but they aren’t consciously aware of it.  One saw the other which is why she dies and the other feels the lost. This is something understandable to me and then I try to work out into the more unknown from there with the help of the reading.

Even with some of the understanding from the readings, this genre of film is still very foreign to me. I do watch some things that are ambiguous with symbolism and stuff in it but I am still very use to more mainstream media.  I wasn’t able to get as excited as Jeff with the reading but it did help with the thinking during the movie.

What I found most interesting about these most recent two readings was their juxtaposition to one another in the syllabus. In Barnard’s “Interpretation and the Individual” chapter, he references the two key examples of visual culture in the form of the fifteenth-century Italian art and Vespa scooters. Through these examples, he illuminates a hermeneutical approach to understanding them via the intention of their creators and the “life-world” of those who experienced them first-hand at their inception. But Barnard also highlights a crucial weakness our ability to comprehensively interpret the life-world of these individuals:

The most serious question that arises concerning understanding conceived in this way is about the very possibility of that understanding in the first place. It is argued that, if understanding is based on the intentions and life-worlds of people from other times and places, and given that, by definition, one is not of those times and places, then one cannot have those intentions or life-worlds and understanding must be impossible.   (Barnard, p55)

Whether through straightforward temporal distance, or other cultural factors, Barnard concludes that it is impossible to completely understand the situated context in which a particular piece was conceived and constructed. However, it’s in his discussion of Gadamer’s “horizons” as a means of reframing this approach that I found the most value. Gadamer takes the ideas, beliefs, and hopes of the interpreters (i.e. the core composition of their life-world) and rather than viewing them as an obstruction to holistic understanding, instead “may be thought of as ‘ways in’, or ‘entrances’ to the horizons of other people and thus to the visual culture produced by other people, no matter how distant in time or space.” (Ibid., p58)

It is these “ways in” that I eventually connected with the contrast between traditional ocularcentrism in film, and Elsaesse and Hagener’s examination of the use of skin and embodied systems of experience in modern filmmaking. The skin as an everyday experience is both everywhere and invisible; our largest organ and at the same time the one that is most often taken for granted when referring to culturally shared cinematic experiences. Elsaesse and Hagener cite several example of skin being used semiotically in various contexts: as a marker of accomplishment, of identity re-appropriation, as an agent of discomfort, and so on. But it is the ability for film to engage an audience on an intuitive and somatosensory level that is of greatest interest to me vis-a-vis design and life-worlds,

…the intersubjective communication in the cinema between spectator, film and filmmaker is predicated upon and enabled by shared structures of embodied experience that permits the perception of experience and the experience of perception in the first place. (Elsaesse and Hagener, p117)

At the intersection of our “accultured sensorium” suggested by Elsaesse and Hagener and Gadamer’s horizons I believe lies a space for interaction design to flourish. The dominance of ocularcentrism in film has resulted in the displacement of the other senses; so too has the commodification of the results of product design muted and anonymized the details of their origins, and the life-worlds of those who created them. As supply chains become longer and more occluded and demands for resources rise, I believe it will become increasingly important for us to establish and maintain a tangible, somatic connection to the physical artifacts we use every day. Elsaesse and Hagener suggest a potential approach to this problem by aligning the embodied experiences of the spectator, film and filmmaker, and it is not difficult to draw parallels to the user, artifact and designer from these conventions. If we can co-inhabit a shared perception of experience with respect to product design and ecology, a shared life-world of sustainability, I believe we can become more cognizant of both the means and ends by which the products we need and desire are sought, wrought, and moved to purpose.

Today in class, we discussed how a song was metal, broadway, or both, based on semiotics. I’m hoping to expand a little more on that here and work on my understanding of it.

Over Spring Break I re-read Faithfull: An Autobiography by Marianne Faithfull and David Dalton.  I could probably spend hours talking about Marianne Faithfull’s books and music as she is one of my favorite singers.  Her post 1969 voice is not for everyone, but it fits the worn, survivor she became after years of dealing with homelessness and drug/alcohol abuse.

In her book, Marianne discussed her first single, As Tears Go By, which she recorded when she was 16 years old.  It became a huge pop hit and launched her into stardom.  In 1987 she rerecorded the song for her first post-recovery album Strange Weather, and in her book, she stated 16 was not the appropriate age to record this song, 40 was the right age. I cannot help but agree with this after hearing the two versions, one right after another.  To me, event though the lyrics and the performer are the same, they are two completely different songs.

First off, the 1964 recording is very light sounding, sounds like a 16-year-old convent girl spending her life trying to figure out what she should do with her life, whereas the 1987 recording sounds as if the person has been to hell and back. The re-recording is a more reflective song, she is looking back on her life, seeing what she has been through and accepting where she is today — it almost sounds regretful when she says she sits and watches As Tears Go By now, wishing and wondering how things could have been different.  It became so much more personal, whereas the original 1964 songs sound a lot more generic. Marianne did not have the experiences yet to fully express the meaning of the song and make it a personal reflection on her life — just taking the lyrics at face value and not interpreting them as a way to show her journey from where she was to where she is.  Could it be the voice or her appearance in the two videos that makes the two different, but to me, it is more about the performance.  The performance of the 1987 recording is what makes it different.  It has been slowed down, with more emphasis on the lyrics — they can be heard loud and clear with minimal production.  Marianne sounds connected to the words here and even though she did not write the song (with was the first collaborative effort between Mick Jagger and Keith Richards), it sounds as if she did or could have.  The words became her accepting who she became.

In addition to my previous post about fashion designer Iris van Herpen.

In the future, our clothes may be 3D printed. One of her quotes, “Everybody could have their own body scanned and just order clothes that fit perfectly.” Have a look at the article below and let me know what you guys think:

http://www.dezeen.com/2013/04/24/iris-van-herpen-interview/

Also here is a sample of some of her dresses:

http://www.dezeen.com/2013/04/22/iris-van-herpen-exhibition-at-the-international-centre-for-lace-and-fashion/

I do think they are kind of cool.

Dutch Fashion Designer Iris Van Herpen had models vacuum-packed and suspended in the air during her show during Paris Fashion week. This lady designed those really tall and weird-looking shoes Lady Gaga wears and does a lot with 3D print outfits.

Anyways, have a look at the link and let me know what you guys thing!

http://www.dezeen.com/2014/03/07/vacuum-packed-models-installed-at-iris-van-herpens-paris-fashion-week-show/

Just stumbled across this really interesting design yesterday, and thought I would share:

 

This design implies all sorts of really interesting lenses for critique: the hacking and reappropriation of commercial artifacts, commodification of government, civil liberties in a modern-day on-demand society, and even the notion that receipts are ridiculously wasteful (as anyone who has ever filled a prescription at CVS is no doubt aware).

 

Bonus: DRM Chair, a piece of furniture that self-destructs after 8 uses (listen for the clicks in the background!)

 

I’m writing this blog post after reading the in-depth discussion of the 5 claims that Jeff makes about the role of art and criticism in human knowledge production. My thoughts are derived from claim numbers 1, 4, and 5; in essence, my thoughts are centered around art and my general perception of it. When I came into this class, in truth, I didn’t think that art was something I respected. I have seen people do the most outrageous things that I consider deplorable, but yet they call it ‘art’. Art to me at first isn’t a form of expression, it’s giving a person an excuse to just do something out of the ordinary, give a deep meaning, and have everyone agree with you and call it ‘art’. Perhaps seeing some of these people bastardize the actual practice made my outlook of the artistic ways become negative, but for whatever the reason, art isn’t something I felt that needed to be in the world.

Not just after reading this section, but reading Danto, Carroll and other readings that dealt with art, I reflected on how I saw art in the past versus how I feel about it now. Not just as a designer, but as a human being. I don’t know if this is Jeff’s evil scheme to change my outlook on life and have an artistic reflection as a designer; but now I see pretty much everything around me through an artistic view. I hate to admit it, but when I now critique things, I do so in an artistic manner–or maybe it’s because I’ve always done so, but I’m just now realizing it. This blog that I’m posting is a way of realizing how important art is to a designer. I’ve never really seen anything that I have designed in the past as works of art. I felt that design in general is something that we do as a way to meet the needs and desires of a user. Art to me is expressing the needs and the desires of the artist themselves versus others. I’ve never really thought that art can be used to express for others. Now that I think back to all of my designs and I look at them as an artist, I do see the underlying messages that I unconsciously embedded in them to express a point or a need that must be fulfilled.

Well, congrats Jeff! Your class poisoned me to have a better view of art! I hope you’re proud of yourself. Now I got to get back to reading this paper before class.

Contrary to what the title alludes to, the title is about an actor. Jeff made a comment today in class that made me recall a reaction I had recently while watching a movie called Trouble in Mind.

If anyone has ever really gotten me to talk about movies I have seen, and trust me there are not many, I am obsessed with the work of John Waters.  My favorites include an actor whose stage name is Divine.  Divine was part of a group known as the Dreamlanders, a group of friends and actors who are featured in Waters’s films.  I knew Divine had acted in a few films without Waters directing and later in his career, he was wanting to take more serious roles (which is why he declined being part of a Pink Flamingos sequel), one of which is Trouble in Mind.  

Jeff mentioned today in class that when you see Bruce Willis is in a film, you usually know what type of film it is going to be.  I can think of this with a few other actors, but that is aside the point.  I knew this movie was going to be different from what I had seen Divine in before, but I almost found it jarring how different it was.  John Waters’s films are known to be somewhat obscene and gross and Divine has been a part of it along the way, even as far as eating dog feces in the final scene of one movie.  Trouble in Mind was the complete opposite of that.  He still plays a somewhat kooky character, and, for the first time, played a role that included no scenes in which he was in drag.  I had a hard time getting past that.

However though, maybe this film is what Divine needed.  His character not had a personality and a character that could fit inside of a Waters film, but also a character that could be more related to at the same time.  He broke out of  what he was known for and confused the audience that knew him for his past work.  However, Trouble in Mind was created to be the opposite of a Waters film.  It was designed to be accessible and seen by the masses instead of a film that is only shown during a midnight showing.  If that is really what Divine was going for, he succeeded.

http://home.comcast.net/~flickhead/MidnightMovies.html. Accessed 4 March 2014. Used here under Educational Fair Use Only.

http://home.comcast.net/~flickhead/MidnightMovies.html. Accessed 4 March 2014. Used here under Educational Fair Use Only.

http://divineofficial.com/post/25641044268/kris-kristofferson-as-hawk-and-divine-as-hilly. Accessed 4. March 2014. Used here under Educational Fair Use only.

http://divineofficial.com/post/25641044268/kris-kristofferson-as-hawk-and-divine-as-hilly. Accessed 4. March 2014. Used here under Educational Fair Use only.

So Jeff, I gotta give you brownie points for catching me off guard with the Type Reviews paper. Me being brutally honest, I was lost for the longest and did not know exactly how to react to it. I was a nice short read, but it confused me since we’ve done so many readings about critical design so I expected it to be another piece about it. Then too, I must thank you also because I am able to look out of the Brillo box and see that criticism doesn’t have to only engulf critical design and film, but a whole array of things. I honestly did like this reading, but it sounded more like an advertisement than an actual in-depth critique compared to the other readings that we have done in the past. But I will have to disagree with what he says about the ‘Emmy’ font. To me, it looks sophisticated and neat; as if someone wanted to take their precious time and make sure every stroke placed down had a certain meaning and form about it. Something like “Sweetheart Script” is too glitzy and too (for the lack of a better word and wanting to steal one of Jeff’s words) foofy. It’s too many loops and hurts my head every time I glance at it, like someone was trying to hard to hit that ‘graceful’ goal. But as I always say, this is just my personal belief.

As for the Tears, Time, and Love critique–um, yeah…more confused than ever. Maybe it is perhaps since I’m reading a movie versus listening to someone tell me about it, I cannot grasp all of the great points that was listed. A movie is something that I have to see rather than hear about and honestly, I’m not into romance movies. Too gushy and no bloodshed, but putting my personal feelings to the side, I will state that what had me confused the most is when the author was listing many examples of how the director used time over the course of the movie. To me, there seemed to be TOO many instances and if I were to watch the movie, I probably wouldn’t catch it all. I understand that as a critic you must look deep into the work and not just focus on the top layer. But me personally, an artwork, movie, or design is something that I first have to experience before chipping away at the underlying meaning. To give proper critique you must first look at it as a user. For this movie, I would first watch it then give my critique, but seeing all of these symbolisms and hidden messages, it would turn me off, especially if I have keep in mind about many of them I spot out. Also, I agree with Brunette about the hidden motif when he said,

“…his specific political microreadings of the various relationships and characters seem, as usual, rather strained and unconvincing.”

The argument about having a political subtext withing this movie does not seem to stand out much. There doesn’t have to be a big neon sign saying ‘THIS IS WHAT WE’RE TRYING TO DO’. Something as simple as the characters doing or saying certain things that spoke of the political standpoint that the director had could get the point out. People are too focused in finding all these symbols with time that perhaps they cannot focus on the stance.

Weird articles, but at least I was entertained!!