mind maps and such

Friday 10:53 am

there is a book sitting here by my side called ‘acting’ by richard boleslavsky. often times i think of finishing it though there are a handful of books here that i wouldn’t mind finishing…though maybe this one in particular stands out as i’ve had this ever increasing interest in performance art and charlie chaplin. perhaps it was a frivolous reason at first (we shared the same birthday) but i can see some connections, or inspirations at least, to the way i approach my presentations. though my video interactive approach was born from anxiety and fear…it seemed to work out. moving on…there is a passage in ‘computers as theatre’ i enjoyed today about planning and reality. i’ve noticed that much of life to me feels like a checklist and as soon as i finish something i can visit my iCalendar, mark it off, and move on to the next thing.  i don’t particularly like this. the following passage makes references to “the dynamic structure of everyday life” by philip agre and to “plans and situated actions: the problem of human-machine communication” by lucy suchman. here is the passage:

purposeful (or goal-oriented) behavior is best understood, not as the execution of plans, but rather as situated actions— actions taken in the context of particular, concrete circumstances. plans are fundamentally ineffective because the circumstances of our actions are never fully anticipated and are continuously changing around us…
plans are best viewed as a weak resource for what is primarily ad hoc activity.

mind map

some of the words  i used in describing some of my interests were psychogeography, narrative, performance, and walking. i can trace some of these interests back to my first days in new york. i was taking a writing course at the new school and discovered guy debord, the situationists and the dérive as psychogeographical ways not just to explore the city but as a way to collect poetic bits and pieces during a walk for inspiration. one assignment was to collect three poetic images and to write about them. i remember the first story i wrote was about seeing a foul pool of phlegm that someone had spit up on the stoop of my apartment building. i wonder where that story is. when i lived with ben in brooklyn he told me i should watch a movie per day if i was interested in screenwriting. i listened for nearly a year. netflix was good to me in those times. editing, cinematography and photography came soon after that. performance is a relatively recent interest though there were those days in new york when i acted in student films for some time. that was uncomfortable but rewarding. walking has been the thread. when i arrived to moscow for the first time in 2005 i nearly walked the entire city. new york had prepared me for experiencing cities this way and often times my friend matt and i would argue about who would make a better pushtun. walking had always provided me with inspiration for writing and photography and baudelaire’s description of the flâneur was an exciting prospect to live up to.

saturday 4:15

i’ve just cancelled my cell phone service after receiving utilities, cable/internet and cell phone bills. i feel lighter. i’m always sitting here in front of the computer anyway and skype and email are free. the last time i didn’t have a cell phone was probably my second or third year in university. at umass amherst i ended up studying linguistics mostly because of an interest in foreign languages. i was studying german at the time. i especially hated those classroom language learning environments. it wasn’t until yuri, the japanese girl in brooklyn i dated that i could see i had an above average talent at foreign languages. since that time i’ve studied thai, russian, khmer, vietnamese, french and spanish. my head is absolutely full of languages that i’ve only gotten to basic speaking levels in. in paris i first began studying french with a computer program called ‘tell me more.’ it had speech recognition, plenty of games for vocabulary and grammar learning, writing exercises etc.

sunday 11:20am

last night we cooked moroccan food: chicken tagine with pears, almond and raisin couscous and steamed carrots with anise and cilantro. i was feeling restless and had planned to go to DMI to feng shui the public space but without a key i had to settle on staying in for the night. i enjoy this idea of arranging space. i’m quite good at it. moving into this apartment was hellish and i had my doubts but now that i’ve arranged everything i hardly want to leave. that’s a problem on it’s own but a happy problem nonetheless. today we’ll celebrate the french holiday gâteau des rois. van anh will make a cake with a little figurine placed somewhere inside. whoever gets that piece becomes king for the day. i’ve just finished a mind map and had included a few others pieces i had forgotten to mention in seminar. foreign languages, travel and cooking have been themes in my life since i was young. we moved quite often after the age of nine. from new york, to new jersey to massachusetts back to new jersey and back again to massachusetts. as an undergraduate i transferred three or four times. i had a few different majors including english, business, culinary arts and finally linguistics with a concentration in german. after university i was even more nomadic. i lived on and off in new york for four years with constant trips through the US and then of course the next three years were spent abroad in southeast asia, europe and south america. one of the most exciting parts of travel besides studying the language and communicating with people is learning new cooking techniques. i remember in vietnam when i organized a home stay with a family in the mekong delta the preparation of the fish for dinner. the kitchen was mostly a concrete room with some large wet stones. i’m not sure where the running water was coming from. the fish was laid across the stone and a giant butcher knife scaled the fish and chopped it up right on the stone which lay on the concrete floor. it was a delightful experience and dinner. my vietnamese wasn’t so good so i sat in hammocks with the family watching soccer, eating lychee and smoking ‘555’ cigarettes.

sunday 9::14pm

lan anh sent me a link to her friends website. his name is leo verrier. most of his work is short animated films combining collage and illustrations in after effects. it reminded me of how much i had wanted to animate my poetry after having seen billy collins’ animated poem ‘the country.’ i’m still working through this ‘learning actionscript 3.0’ book but i should also return to my tutorials in after effects.

monday 11:34 pm

earlier today my group for ‘design for motion and sound’ met at dmi. we looked over some of my influences of stop animation. eatPES’ short films have an effect on me…i sometimes wish to be locked away to be forced to have such a commitment as any of his films require. even leo verrier’s films are incredibly detailed and time-consuming. he has built entire worlds from the imagination. yaoming and i talked about our desires to create such ‘little worlds.’ during david’s class we looked at ‘fallen angels,’ ‘american beauty,’ and ‘notebook on cities and clothes.’ our first assignment is to create a visual biography. i immediately thought of my reviews where i dressed up and interacted with some of my work from the semester. but this time i thought about mostly interacting with text in a charlie chaplin kind of way. i also thought about taking photos of everything i want to include in the film, printing them and cutting them out and using a collage form in a stop animation film.

wednesday 1:20 pm

i’m working on another stop motion video. this one includes influences from orsen welles, woody allen, charlie chaplin, bob dylan and lev manovich. i was feeling recently…well as always really, that i have a lot to live up to. borrowing some ideas seemed not only appropriate for where i am creatively but seemed especially appropriate given the data visualization assignment we have and the presentation given by kent on ‘sparks.’ i had the idea to do this video before the presentation last night and now it seems a rather strange coincidence that i should be creating in that fashion: borrowing ideas for influence, parody etc. etc.

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