Friday, May 6, 2011

Social Video Revisted

Above is the link to my social video about Bon Pastor. This time the interview with my professor is included. I apologize for poor sound quality.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Social Video: Bon Pastor

Click this link to see my Social Video

Again, my file was too large to embed. This is my first version of the video. When I receive all of my files, I will make a second version which will include an interview.

Personal Experience Video: Barcelona and Beyond

Click this link to see the video.

I apologize for not embedding the video into my blog. Unfortunately, the file was too big to upload, no matter what.

I hope you enjoy this one as well. It is very different than my professional video, plus, you get to see my face (what could bring more joy?).

A few hours more, and we'll soon have my social issue up and loaded!

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Professional Video: Public Space

I hope you enjoyed or at least learned something about public space and it's importance to the city. Architects are currently starting to reintegrate the former values of Barcelona.

Stay tuned for more videos!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Maybe a little late, but maybe a little helpful.

Professor Randy Nichols suggested that I share with you my first iteration of storyboards, so here they are!

Numero Uno: Personal Experience in host country (Spain)

Numero Dos: Professional Video (pertaining to Architecture)

Numero Tres: Social Issue in host country

I basically worked with an outline, then added a few images and descriptions of how I want to move from each scene to the next. The style of each outline "graphics" is the feeling I aim to convey for each video. It's not to detailed because I want to leave some wiggle room for how I transition, which images will be included/excluded, etc...but they will still act as a guide for how I construct each of my works!

PS: I apologize if the images are small...I tried to make them appear larger than they actually are on the blog!

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Sound & Interview & my "Progress"

Well, let me begin by saying that my progress concerning the projects is limited to many, many minutes of B-roll video content, and a lot of thinking. I have been thinking a lot, and those thoughts are starting to form mental storyboard that will eventually make there way onto paper.

As I was thinking about the personal video, and I've limited my theme for the video to be about getting around the cities and internationally without a car. I will use the rule of thirds often to frame scenes around the cities, metro stops, airplane terminals, etc. If I include short interviews with friends about travel, I will use the advice from the videos in the lectures (for instance: diffuse glow lighting, nose room, watching out for hands, and not cutting off the chin). I am actually kind of excited to interview/feature people in my projects, just for the fun of frame composition. Hopefully I will not have to add too many sound effects and be able to use the ambient sounds of the city. I plan on having a montage of travel mediums, and in that case I'll have to do some searching for the right-paced song.

I have a lot of work to do, but it's going to be excited to finish!

Friday, March 25, 2011

Tropos of Videography

For this delayed assignment, I'll bestow a nugget of awesome videography upon thee. It's an action-packed Swiss Alps thrill ride! Enjoy.

*Credits to Freeplay Music, for the song titled "Turning Point".*

So, I might have lied a little bit. It's not action-packed, per say. It's got a few scraggily bits of adventure though. To make this composition of small shots convey the initial sense of waiting and boredom, and then the out-of-nowhere fun in the mountains, a lot of exclusion had to occur. While it was important to include everything awesome, like the landscape, helicopter, and my rented skis, this video would lose its effect if I had either cut the clips shorter or left them too long.

Let's bullet point the big Tropos questions:
What? It's a vacation in the Swiss Alps.
When? During a bright, sunny day--the best conditions for a day on the slopes.
Where? The expanse mountain landscape.
Why? To excite, entertain, and inspire!

Friday, March 11, 2011

My Journey to becoming a Famous Director

Let me start by saying that the video from Presentation Zen was truly interesting and informing about Walt Disney--and the fantastic movies that filled my childhood. Storyboarding seems fun, so I can't wait to fill my next sketchbook with frames for my upcoming videos. Here are my ideas for the assignments:

Personal Video
My time in the host culture of Spain has been a time of personal growth and increasing independence. Besides being caught in an entirely new infrastructure that is the big, foreign city of Barcelona, I have had to do more independent travels which have required a great deal of planning and preparation. I would like to include these different aspects of the new lifestyle (including the routinely used public transport, excessive walking, ignoring the plethora of cat-callers) and the experiences outside of the city which have brought me to the point that I am at in this moment.

Professional Video
For this video, I would like to discuss the densification of the city and the loss of public space. Urban planning is an important factor to the history of Barcelona, ever since the destruction of the old medieval wall--which brought the rise to the utopian "Grid" by Cerdá.

Social Issue Video
For this particular assignment, I feel it could be important to shed light on issues of urban densification and its resulting displacement of populations--some of which may have lived in their respective homes for decades. The neighborhood of Bon Pastor, a residential area of Barcelona, is in the process of tearing down homes where the residents had lived there for over 20 years. The single floor homes, with their own yards and good community interaction, are systematically replaced by blocky high rises. The worst part is that the current residents have no idea where they are going to go.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Tropos of BCN: 4 Different Perspectives

I've learned thus far into my semester that there are more, even opposing, sides to this city than my first impression ever led me to believe. Honestly, first impression: dog dung in the streets, vendors yelling at you to eat their doner kebab, and the buskers begging for money on the metros. That is all that I saw for the first couple of weeks. However, after venturing out to different parts of town, I saw new beauties and things I could appreciate about the city and their culture. Hopefully my images capture and convey the meaning I saw in them:

The composition of this photo was intended to emphasize the natural grass and it's seemingly wild nature blowing the wind, and to minimize the impact of the city on the landscape. The city is Barcelona, albeit the very outskirts of the dense city. The photo was taken at a low angle, so that the grass takes up most of the frame. The contrast between what is expected to be seen of Barcelona, and what is actually in Barcelona is an interesting twist to the idea of how we normally perceive it. I believe this image tells a story of change and growth, a battle between the built and natural environment.

This image, again, was composed to focus on the natural elements of the city, with the striking verticality of the tree being the focal point (the image was taken using a wide frame option in order to emphasize this). This time it was taken within a public plaza. Public spaces are integral to the culture of Barcelona, as well as other European cities. The scope and range of the public spaces vary, but this particular one exuded peace and tranquility, which is something rarely found in one of the most dense cities of Europe. The photo tells a story of how the people appreciate shared spaces and natural flora.

This image was intended to show the change of the urban fabric over time, with the overlay of old factory facade and contemporary museum structure, with the strings of electric lights in the foreground. The picture was taken at dusk, which I believe is suiting to the theme. The shot was taken at an upward angle, in order to enhance the apparent height of the modern architectural elements. As one age of Barcelona ends (the industrial period), a new one awakens and gives rise to new articulations in terms of technology and architecture.

Finally, this last image was composed to focus on the heart of the city, where the density of people gives rise to tall buildings and bustling streets. It shows the many modes of transportation used throughout the city, including public bus transport, cars, mopeds, and walking. The roads seems infinitely long, giving the impression that the city may go on forever. However, we know this is not true based on my former images...

Friday, February 25, 2011

Photography Composition

Having taken a couple photography classes for school, and also being an architect student, the composition of images on a page has always been stressed. Luckily, it is something I actually enjoy doing! As I'm sure you'll notice...I prefer inanimate objects for the subjects of my pictures--people tend to get in the way.

Examples of different angles...upwards and downwards. (There is some experimentation with tight shots and negative space, as well)
Examples of framing subjects, either by the camera's limitations or other objects in the composition.

Examples of "The Rule of Thirds."

Example of the use of light.

Examples of different lens usage. This particular aspect of photography was particularly useful for me, because I had never realized that my "point and click" camera still had potential to create these sort of effects.

Telephoto lens effect. Images either in the foreground or background are blurred.

"Wide" lens effect, where the picture may span a longer distance...

From now on, I think I'll be more conscious of how I snap pictures everyday. There are a lot of different ways to consider placement and composition, in order to create really capturing images.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

McDonald's Restaurant, the infamous American corporation, drastically switches gears when transitioning between the website for the USA and for Spain. Let's break this down...

Kairos: The setting, or occasion for this advertisement, I assume, is for any time a person is hungry. The quote, "Seize the Bold," a take on Carpe Diem, may be a subconscious attempt at encouraging the viewer to buy one of their deliciously huge burgers TODAY. Sieze the day, and buy that burger you have always wanted.
Logos: The structure of this advertisement is using a simple picture of one of their perfectly crafted burgers, on top of a bold background (in a reddish tone; I'm no psychologist, but there's a rumor that the use of the color red is supposed to make you hungry), whilst glowing in a halo-esque fashion. The image exudes perfection and holiness. The short quote mentioned above provides motivation or a craving for what they are offering you. The advertisement also implies that you are courageous (an admirable quality) if you eat that particular product.
Pathos: The emotional quality that is evoked in myself is desire. I want that burger. I also haven't eaten in a few hours, so that may not be difficult to do. It also seems to evoke inspiration. I will seize that burger, yes I will.
Ethos: The relationship in this advertisement is from the head of the corporation the average individual. It does not exclude any person, instead it is made for the common person at a great price. They want to make money, but they make it affordable for the buyer.

Kairos: This aspect seems to be similar to that of the American McDonald' website. Its seems to be more refined, however, with the use of the cool colors and subtle imagery. The website seemed to be more geared toward parents of children, for many links dealt with happy meals or other perks for children. So the setting may be more specifically in the family household, during meal times.
Logos: The structure differences that lie between the two websites is mostly color and scale. The color tones are more cool, the majority being blue or grey. The size of the food is much smaller, and rather than having an quote to motivate you to eat the Capricho, they merely give you the name of the product--and that should be enough.
Pathos: The emotion evoked from this ad is curiosity, rather than lustful desire. The product looks tasty, but it does not impose upon me the way the burger from America did.
Ethos: The relationship, again, is from the head of the corporation to the individual buyer. However, it seems to be more mature, so the individual may more likely be a parent or an adult.

After realizing that I don't have a TV for to watch Spanish commercials with, and a lack of pictures with any sort of advertisement (my camera is filled with old architecture, however), I decided to scourge YouTube for "Spanish Commercials," and I found some entertaining results. It makes it easier that I don't understand every single world spoken in the ad; I can take the commercial at face value.

Coke Zero Commercial. This advertisement harkens back to the musical, "West Side Story," or perhaps even Michael Jackson's music video for "Beat It," but it also reminded me of the street buskers seen everyday along La Rambla and within Placa Catalunya.
Kairos: The setting is in the city, bright daytime, when it is bustling with life. Two groups of young adults, with opposing tastes in Coca Cola, happen to come across each other. Obviously, the occasion is a dance-off to see who is right!
Logos: The structure of the commercial makes an appeal to the younger generation, using people that we can relate to, or even desire to be like (in terms of fashion, interests, and talent). The colors of the dancers reflect the colors of the labels...Those in favor of regular Coca Cola where predominately red, while the Coke Zero fans wear black and white.
Pathos: The emotion evoked in this ad is excitement. The high energy and lively dancing encourage the viewers to get off their feet...and possibly buy their product in the process.
Ethos: The relationship is from the head of the corporation to the young buyer. It might be able to be more specifically geared towards those wanting to lose weight, since Coke Zero has no calories and the "same taste."

El Corte Ingles Commercial. The familiar face, Gisele (one of the most famous Victoria Secret models) reeks of sophistication and elegance in this commercial for one of the most popular department stores in Spain.
Kairos: The setting of this commercial is in a warm tropical paradise and resort, in the company of a beautiful woman. The occasion is summer time, as stated at the very end of the commercial.
Logos: The appeal is won over by apparent flawless beauty and fashion. The setting seems very relaxed and free of stress. Bright colors in the clothing and scenery are inviting. So much perfection in one place makes the viewer want to be in the same situation.
Pathos: The emotion evoked in this ad may be jealousy or desire (one in the same, essentially). You want to be in the model's place, but since you can't be there, you want to be able to at least look like her.
Ethos: The relationship is from the CEO of the department store to the potential buyers. However, this relationship is not that of equals. El Corte Ingles, thrives on appearing high class and not for the average buyer, thereby increasing its desirability through exclusivity.

While the advertisements may seem a little bit quirky or different, they can still apply to me and those of my friends.

Friday, February 11, 2011

New Media Literacies...or is it Visualities?

Kevin Kelly's statement in his article Becoming Screen Literate claiming that our generation and more is in the midst of a second Gutenberg shift--that is the change from book fluency to screen fluency--could not be more true. Society is growing more heavily drawn to visual distribution of information, ideas, and entertainment. Information is ready to bombard us via the Screen nearly everywhere we go. Phones, televisions, in cars, planes or trains, airports, waiting rooms, along the city street, computers, and more dazzle our minds with a flash of color and noise.

Still, there are particular aspects of society that may never be replaced by the visual media, unless technological developments are made to make archiving, referencing, and citing of digital frames or media more easily done. Documentation of information for judicial reasons may never be replaced by video or photography, due to the great depth of information and the intricacy and precision of the written word. The word is objective, like the word of the law. Visual media is subjective and may convey a lot more subliminal information, rather than blatant factual data. Kelly's article stated these same ideas, saying that one cannot browse a film like a book, or have the ability to pinpoint a specific artifact within the film with the same amount of ease.

To reference Billout's article, Is Google Making us Stoopid, reading is not instinctive to human nature. It requires a great deal of training to understand the shapes and figures that form meaning and language. Visual distribution of data is readily understandable, and it is changing how we perceive information and how we deal with it. The author mentioned how this new form of technology has shaped the way he researches, and consequently, the way it has shortened his attention span for reading. I can relate to the author, because for me it takes a great deal of willpower to plow through a few seven-page articles and still absorb the information. I am apparently victim to this technological shaping of the mind, as well.

As an architecture student, I must learn to manipulate this visual form of media, may it be through strictly stagnant imagery or a video presentation, to convey my idea or convince the review board that my design is infallible. Here is a link to an example of a video presentation that expresses architectural process and design, by Bjork Ingels Group: click here.

As the rest of my generation embraces the rising of the Screen, I must too, maybe for differing reasons than they.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

The Way of the "South"?

The assignment for this week's blog requires me to identify myself with a group that is small and homogenous enough to be fully described in a reasonably-sized post ('reasonable' meaning a size that people would still take interest in reading). I do not believe that it is possible for me, and probably many others, to do such. Should I classify myself as simply American? Southern? Middle class? Female? "Southern" would make the most sense for this assignment, being that I could talk about manners and hospitality as a part of our day to day culture. However, with the extent of globalization, I do not feel comfortable defining myself in terms that restrict me to the stereotypical "south." Having parents born in Michigan, that have lived in all corners of the country, and also exposed me to travel in many regions of the world, I feel that my background and "culture" is not so easily definable.

Having realized that there are many layers to one's culture, the broadest sense is my national culture: American. For an outsider to understand American culture, they must know the most general facts. For one, we are an industrialist society and consequently live in a individualist, nuclear family lifestyle. This affects relations with extended family, putting more of an emphasis on growing up and moving out, rather than staying in the household to take care of the younger or older generations. If I consider anyone "my people," it would be the American population, for it is a melting pot, so endearingly coined. There is a plethora of diverse subcultures and origins that make up

For an outsider, (i.e. foreign exchange student) basic nationalistic culture can still be interepreted through ethnos, nomos, mythos, archon, and techne...

Ethnos, being identity, is readily established through pride in government and the ability to vote. Power of the individual is accentuated, which closely ties in with our individualism. We take pride in our rights, such as freedom of speech, and we like to capitalize on them.

Nomos, naming, varies from region to region. For governmental establishments, names either refer back to important people or places in history--often the Founding Fathers. George Washington, being the first American president, is one of the most important figures that represents that values of our country. The country capital is referred to as "Washington D.C." If a person claims, as one of our lecture videos pointed out, "Washington has issued a statement," the population understands that he or she is referring to the government as a collective whole, or perhaps the White House, meaning the President. In regions with strong Native American History, naming of places will most likely have ties back to prevalent tribes or people of the history of that region.

Mythos, story-telling, is found mainly in digital media in current times. Stories are told through graphics, advertising, movies, blogs, etc. Many cultural values are projected onto the movie screen, whether is it subconscious or purposeful, and can tell a lot about the values of American culture. A recent movie, Money Never Sleeps (2010), gives a blatant critique of American corporatism and how it starts to devalue the humanity of people.

Archon, display of culture, is something easily recognizable for American culture. First and most important may be the American Flag. Any combination of red, white, and blue rings true in the American heart. The colors may be worn in tacky fashion on Independence Day, or seen flying outside schools, homes, and cars. The flag was a common sight in the months after 9/11, representing our union as a whole country. The event was tragic, but it was an inspirational sight to see everyone come together.

Lastly, techne concerns itself with how things are made. Simple: mass production and outsourcing. Anything hand-made in America is "overpriced," but may be considered high quality. Women's fashion boutique stores are a great example of this, based off of personal experience... American society focuses more on production of services, rather than goods.

Again, "my people" is not something I feel comfortable defining, because I consider myself a part of many different cultures and places. My own heritage and experiences are a melting pot which, perhaps, is the factor that makes me truly American.

**NOTE: All photos that are relevant to this post are on a computer in the United States. I am in Spain. I will attempt to have my mother send me photos. I apologize for this lengthy post with no pretty photos to look at.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Cultural Literacy

The materials for this week's section concerning cultural literacy were mostly interesting. A lot of the information was not news to me, since anthropology 201 emphasizes practically every cultural aspect there is to know, as well as the importance of having a culturally relativist attitude rather than an ethnocentric one. Knowing all of this, I believe that Hirsch's take on American cultural literacy is too binding, and cannot possibly encompass all aspects of American society. Our melting pot of a country has a plethora of subcultures that he probably could not understand himself, being the ethnocentric white-collar scholar that he is.

That being said, the more generalized take on cultural literacy, with the expanded view of incorporating multimedia forms of communication, is a better way to try and understand a culture. In my own culture, especially my generation, references are drawn from many aspects of society, including movies, internet webcomics, popular blogs, famous works of architecture (this may be limited to architecture majors, I don't know), or perhaps literature from school or personal enjoyment. Learning to be culturally literate in my host country of Spain will be a challenge for the next four months. Not only because it is apparently the opposite of America (according to Geert Hofstede's "Cultural Dimensions"), but because the city of Barcelona may as well be its own independent country.

Hofstede's cultural dimensions showed great differences between America's and Spain's Individualism and Uncertainty Avoidance Index. It comes as no surprise to myself that America has the highest value for individualism than any other country in the world. From birth, we are raised to be able to take care of ourselves one day, without being dependent upon anybody else. What is more interesting to me is that Spain has a very high Uncertainty Avoidance Index, meaning that they are more likely to be "emotional, and motivated by inner nervous energy," and will most likely have strict laws and rules. In a religious sense, the majority will believe in an absolute truth--in Spain's case, that must be Catholicism. Over 76% of the country claims to be Catholic, while only 2.1% claim to be another faith, and the rest of the population do not claim a religion or are atheist. An overwhelming majority of the population are followers of a single religion.

The video lectures concerning cultural literacy repeatedly emphasized five points defining culture: Nomos, ethnos, techne, mythos, and archon. Barcelona's defiant culture is most easily recognized through ethnos and archon.

Barcelona seems rather separated from its own country. The city has it's own ethnos, identity, which sets it apart from the rest of Spain. The city prefers to identify itself with the community of Catalonia. They speak their own language, Catalan, and in some cases citizens refuse to speak Spanish at all. I have experienced this personally, which makes it difficult to communicate when I do not know a lick of Catalan. Rumor has it that the people of Barcelona did not celebrate when Spain won the 2010 World Cup because FC Barcelona was not the winning team; however, this is just a rumor. Barcelona's identification with Catalonia sets back 2000 years ago. There is a lot of history there to explore in order to have a better understanding of the current culture.

The cultural element archon is explosive when it comes to sports. Fútbol is especially important in Catalan society. The display of team spirit (for FC Barcelona, at least) is intoxicating beginning from the time you enter the metro, walk to the stadium, experience the game, and finally, somehow, make it back home through the overwhelming crowd. The display of FC Barcelona's colors (red, yellow, and blue), is seen everywhere--whether it is in clothing, flags, or souvenirs. There are competing theories about the history of the team colors, all of them harkens back to different influential people's association with another sporting team. There are chants and gestures showered throughout the game, and it is really difficult to not get excited, even if its the first time you've ever watched fútbol...

As the semester progresses, I will be more attentive to the nomos, techne, and mythos of Barcelona. All of these factors will help me become more "literate" in this culture, and help me appreciate the defiance this city has against the rest of Spain.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Image Posting and Revising

As part of our class assigment, we are required to post an image at it's original scale:

And then we were told to scale it down:

This image is an example of commemoration of Barcelona's industrial history. Rather than completely demolishing an entire unused industrial block, they will leave the chimneys of warehouses and the like as a remembrance of the city's past.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Online Communities

The internet and the rise of online communications media has effectively revolutionized the way in which people interact on all scales, whether its within a school, town, state, country, or international. On a personal level, I know that online communities dictate how I contact or keep in touch with teachers, my parents, and friends from the past and present.

For example, Blackboard is a way to contact my teachers, and a way for teachers to share documents and information with me. There are many tools that we are able to use to have discussions and ask questions with the larger class, as well. My studio professor from last semester was often unavailable to drive to Clemson, so we used "virtual crits" (usually done through Skype) instead. We would prepare electronic presentations and discuss our projects virtually. It was efficient and a still-beneficial process for the class.

To keep in touch with friends and family, facebook and blogger have been essential. These two communities allow me to have conversations, share photos, and upload videos with nearly anyone I want. These two websites are extremely public, however, so Skype is a nice alternative to communicate in a more private sense. It allows all of the options concerning file sharing and conversation, as well. It has already been a convenient way to speak with my parents this first week in Spain--for free.

Without the readily available sources for online communication, it would be much more difficult and inconvenient to keep tabs on those who are important to me--even more so to complete an online course such as this. While the drawbacks of some communities such as Facebook include the increasing lack of privacy, the benefits of these media allow a plethora of options that were formerly not available.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Nice to meet you, Clammers.

As a collective whole, we are entering new territories past political boundaries, over oceans, and becoming immersed in vastly different cultures. I can hardly wait to share this experience with others, and the "Clam" community seems to be a perfect outlet for expressing such.

After reading the course materials and watching the introduction videos, I feel prepared to begin documenting and engaging in the culture that I will be living in for the next four months. It will be an interesting challenge to use digital media in ways that I am not formerly used to. As an architecture student, using programs such as photoshop will come easily to me...However, cinema is a completely different can of worms. Hopefully, with the upcoming projects I will be able to strengthen my skills, and perhaps find a new passion? Maybe I'm the next James Cameron, who knows...

Back to reality: Here in Barcelona, we've already started our second week of classes and I've learned a lot about the Catalonian culture. It's intimidating to leave our home country and try to understand the stories and practices of another. However, it will be a great adventure and I cannot wait to share it with the rest of you. Nice to meet you, Clammers. I am Liz :)