This video projection was meant to be a performance piece between me and the other guitarist in the video, Aiden. He played analog guitar effects through pedals while I played a clean acoustic guitar. The video images were appropriated from speeches, protests and riots and is meant to reflect the growing tension and anger among Americans on both sides of emerging social issues.
This sound walk took place near the river. It started across the street from Wingfield Park, went through the Lear Theater and wrapped around Bell St. before finally coming to a close across the street from Wingfield again. I decided to interview a homeless woman, named Wendy Howe, who gave me the tour by the river. She showed me art sculptures I haven’t seen before. I found it quaint, how someone down in her luck as Wendy, had more of an opportunity to explore her surroundings and it enriched my walk in addition to her social commentary on living on the streets.
The Yes Man are a group of organized protesters who are trying to improve the world by enacting hoax demonstrations and performances that raise awareness on serious social and environmental issues. In their latest film entitled, “The Yes Men are Revolting,” the two heads of the group, Mike and Andy, are portrayed coming to terms with the struggles of political activism. In a time where the cries of the silent majority seem louder than ever before, Mike and Andy are prepared to ride the wave and strike the hearts of politicians and business men alike.
The main targets of Mike and Andy in this 3rd documentary installment are Shell, the Chamber of Congress, and any lobbyists that are against climate change. In one of their demonstrations, The Yes Men impersonated Shell executives and held a conference at the Seattle Space Needle for the very real oil mechanism shell proposed for drilling in the arctic. Their presentation was very humorous and satirical. Some of the visual elements included a body builder with a Shell t-shirt on with the Slogan, “We’re Pumped,” written on it. Part of their presentation video included an animation of the oil driller with dollar signs spewing from the top. To top of their stunt, the Yes Men built a scaled model of the oil driller for the press conference that also serves as a water fountain for coffee. The Yes Men then invited an old lady up and the model wound up spewing coffee all over her. The incident was filmed and the hoax went viral.
One interesting thing about this film was that it showed the Yes Men’s failures as well as their successes. One such failure involved a sailing a fake caged polar bear and a fake Russian CEO of an oil company. The film also showed Mike’s family life progressing and his time being taken away from Yes Men while Andy sees a decline in his personal life due to his involvement in the Yes Men. They were questioning in this film the purpose of their existence if big businesses are just going to succeed anyway. This doubt is lifted though with the emergence of Occupy Wall Street. Mike and Andy would soon realize that it is their collection of demonstrations in correspondence with the Occupy Wall Street movement and other activist movements that help to inform the population and garner the support they need to make a positive change.
For my Diptych, I chose to use the same video twice but alter it so the final presentation makes up a completely different video when the two are played simultaneously together side by side. I overlaid the video on top of itself in premiere and used the motion effect to change the positioning of both videos so that it appears to be split in half and their sides are reversed. This way, in the projected showing, there will be one video clearly centered on the wall with sides that are split up. I also added a granular effect to my video. Every time my audio includes the sound of my off balance vinyl recording, I have a granular effect pop up on the screen. It is intentional that the granular effect and sounds in the video are beckoning to my dog, Benny, as he raises his head up every time the sound and effect appears.
For my sound composition, I decided to make an electronic folk song from my previous recordings from this class. I introduced the track with the section of my loop where I recorded the sound of the creek by my house. I also opened with my off balance recording of the “Learn Italian” vinyl. I added an echo effect to the sample to make it seem distant. I also included the section of my loop where I speak before opening with my homemade guitar. I finger pick a folk song that I came up with. The chords are G, D/F#, Em7, Am, then resolving with D. The lyrics I sing are as follows:
“And I’ll be gone, gone, gone.
I’ve waited for this moment set my eyes upon the sun.
And I’ll be gone, gone, gone.
Don’t wait for me my dear. Just know I’ve loved you all along.
But I’ll be gone, gone, gone
I’ve waitied for this moment.
I’ve been shedding for this moment.”
The song then trails off with the italian vinyl and water sounds before I add a snippet from my mash up vinyl of classical and jazz music to close my composition.
For my build your own instrument project, I decided to make a guitar. I constructed the guitar out of card stock and wood pieces i found from packing materials where I work at Macy’s Furniture Gallery. I made the body out of the card stock and drilled many small holes in the center with a power drill for sound to escape through. I first used wood glue to put the body together but resorted to cocking glue when it started falling apart. I then constructed the neck by layering more card stock pieces together and glued it to the body. I then used a wood piece for a headstock which had already resembled one. I drilled 4 holes in the headstock then drilled tuning mechanisms in with screws to the headstock. I then drilled 4 screws part way into the base to hold some Nylon strings that I purchased. I glued the headstock to the neck and strung the nylon strings through and found that my neck was bending inward. To fix this, I drilled a metal braked between the headstock and neck as well as a right able bracket to the bottom of the neck and body. The guitar did not bend after that. Then I fashioned 2 bridges with grooves out of another headstock piece to keep the strings in place. I will also not that I tried to make a circular saddle out of pallet wood to wrap my nylon strings around but it snapped, so I replaced it with the screws instead. The guitar functions when tuned correctly and the strings I used for it were low E, A, G, and B.
For my first vinyl mash up, I mixed up a classical vinyl with various pieces and a dixieland jazz vinyl. I cut the vinyl down the center then glued the two back together. The resulting sound is a half jazz/half classical record. I chose to use thse two genres because I consider them both to be top notch professional styles of music. Even though they vary completely in terms of rhythm and instruments, both put a lot of emphasis to the technicality of composition and music theory to create interesting pieces that contrast and compliment each other at the same.
My second vinyl mash up was of a learn Italian demo. I cut 2 different vinyl sections from the same demo and glued them together. The resulting sound is Italian that cuts off constantly. I chose to do this to reflect my view of the Italian language. It’s complicated and incomprehensible and I have made it more so by creating the mash up. I also used another italian learning vinyl and cut a whole off of the center to be played on. The result is Italian slowed and sped up, which also varies the pitch.