Week 10 blog update

As the sum of my work and research this past 10 weeks, Constant Flux is a 7 and a half minute long video that explores my identity as a human–a person, in a place–this place, our space. The subject is me, but it is not just about me, rather, it is simply about the coexistence of my physical embodiment with the embodiment of the universe. I am created…I am here as we are all here, and it is possible for me to continue the cycle of creation and make my own lifeworld. If I have the power to make my own life–draw my existence out, then I want to live a life of fluidity, of adaptability, or symbiosis with Dr. Little Bear’s notion of “my/our relations.” I recognize that there is some autonomy to my embodied self, but –ultimately–I am a being with everything, so there is a collective responsibility. I want to abolish the binaries established in our social, political and religious systems that stem from the binaries of our basic human nature (man/woman, human/nature). My video is really a story of self-awareness and self-transformation as a being as a Homo sapien as a posthuman as a phenomenal conscious. I am a posthuman because I am capable of change, of transformation, as everything is. The point of transformation is to evolve to adapt and from there we are able to see new perspectives… from there we become something more than a “human”.

Constant Flux is a video inspired from my experience as an Indigenous trans masc lesbian living in a predominantly white dominant, capitalistic heteropatriarchical society, as well as, from essays written by Donna Haraway, Katherine Hayles, Leslie Feinberg, Jack Halberstam, Dr. Leroy Little Bear, Richard Teleky, Rainer Maria Rilke, and Niklas Luhmann. Most of these essays were “posthuman” focused, but essays by Leslie Feinberg and Jack Halberstam were focused on “trans*” theory. I included some Indigenous scholarship and that came primarily from Blackfoot renown researcher Dr. Leroy Little Bear who describes clearly a “Native Paradigm” of a scientific, philosophical spirituality that is, unfortunately only, parallel to Western ideas such as quantum physics and theories of diffraction. Sebastian De Line describes Dr. Little Bear’s “Native Paradigm” as taking up “This purview in connecting the non-dualistic Indigenous paradigm of all my / our relations to diffraction as observed in the Western scientific field of quantum physics. Diffraction is seen in the two-slit experiment, in which energy waves (in light or water) pass through a barrier with two openings, creating single wave or diffraction patterns.

Energy, on a quantum level, can behave unpredictably producing contingent outcomes: electrons deviate while being monitored by a recording device during these experiments, forming irregularities in their behaviour. The irregular behaviour of quantum matter reopens a line of philosophical inquiry within phenomenology, questioning the animacy and agency of materiality. If water is made of quantum matter and therefore scientifically proven to be animate, what can be said of the rights of water and its own agency or well being? This line of inquiry is not new to Indigenous beliefs,” in his essay “All My / Our Relations Can Posthumanism Be Decolonized?” written in 2016. The research and personal inspirations culminated in the amalgam that is my final video. Donna Haraway sees the posthuman as an “amalgam” of bits and pieces working together as described in her monumental essay, “A Cyborg Manifesto” published in 1991. Ideally, this is really what I want to experience in my lifetime is some sort of middle ground we (as in all beings from every curve of the earth and from within ourselves (microbiome)) all recognize and from that point move forward together. Currently, there is only one pre-dominant desire in our human species and that is capitalism and that is the stem of what is known as the Anthropocene which should be better known as the Capitalocene as described by Donna Haraway in her essay “SYMBIOGENESIS, SYMPOIESIS, AND ART SCIENCE ACTIVISMS FOR STAYING WITH THE TROUBLE.”

The process of creating the final documentation video involved the use of multiple softwares and hardwares such as a computer, video camera, projector, microphone, zoom recorder, my cellular device, and an analog synthesizer. The softwares I relied on for image manipulation were Affinity Photo, Touchdesigner, and Final Cut ProX. It was not a linear process to get the visual and audio components of my final video; I had to get image content that would be my own and not downloaded from the Internet, and edit, then re-edit, and finally post-edit everything together.

The images I used were taken from things I already own (projector, lights) and from a trip with my mother to New Mexico. I had to travel to New Mexico, to the place my mother was raised–outside of Gallup, NM which is a small town stop on the legendary Route 66 only a few miles outside of the Navajo (Diné) reservation. The only place to buy alcohol before entering the reservation from NM. I do not know my father and he was not directly an influence to my life. Since this is a story from my perspective, I decided that learning from my mother would be the way for me to learn more about myself; so, I talked to her about where she grew up. Also, this aligns with the matrilineal nature of Diné culture. This is why I have used the landscape that is shown in my video which is of dirt, tumbleweeds, low red plateaus, blue skies, and wispy clouds. It was captured at the watering hole very close to the location of my mother’s family home in Iyanbito, New Mexico. Iyanbito is a tiny community (christian-church-based) 17 miles south of Gallup, NM and “Iyanbito” means “buffalo’s spring” in my native Diné language. My mother says there used to be a large spring here and buffalo drank from the spring during her lifetime. Quickly though, the buffalo were non-existent and now, only the spring remains as a very small pond created by the never-ending, but dwindling flow of water spouting out from the natural spring–now through a water pump–which is polluted with algae, broken beer bottles, plastic trash, and more liquor bottles. I find it difficult to imagine my mother with her siblings playing and splashing around in this polluted little pond in the high desert of New Mexico, but that is something the local kids just did. 

The audio and words for my narration were other components that I wanted to be original and thoughtfully considered. I used a Roland JU-06 analog synthesizer to create the sounds in my video. These sounds were inspired by the high desert landscape of Iyanbito, NM and NM in general with its hot deserts and cold casinos. Due to NM being the home of many native tribes, there has been some sort of deal between the federal government and native tribes that only native tribes can have casinos in which people can gamble in NM. Casinos have become a part of the capitalism forced upon Indigenous people and thus have become a large part of NM culture. My mother has worked in the casino industry for nearly 30 years and has worked at many different casinos throughout NM including the largest casino known as Sandia Casino located in Albuquerque, NM. The words for my narration took the longest to form. It was not until the end of week 9 that I realized what exactly I wanted to say. I realize my final video is text heavy, but that is because all of my life I have felt silenced as a “woman” and as a brown person. I really wanted to be as vulnerable as possible because then maybe some truth would be revealed. The words I say are inspired from the quotes I read in my midpoint video prototype which is based on the essays I have read. 

The final documentation video is a lot darker than the video I used to project and that is because the video is completely a recording of the visual projections onto my wall and self. I had to find a balance of not using a high ISO and aperture and shutter. I did not want a lot of noise in the video recording so I tolerated the darker-ness. Also, it gives the feeling of an old TV which I did not mind without using digital aging effects.. I kind of regret not using the picture of my bro, myself, and our dad watching an old television which is an image I used in my midpoint prototype video. In future iterations, that image I am going to include again.    

The final video did vary from my initial design. My initial design was very ambitious because I wanted multiple angles and projection designs. This was impossible for me, who was working solo. If I had one more person to assist me, then I could have achieved this more ambitious vision of my final video. In my final video, there is only one camera view because I could only map and curate video for only one design… Doing anymore would have caused a massive panic attack of frustration and anxiety which I do not need more of. 

My most unexpected discovery was when I was mapping or drawing out my existence using the Kantan mapper in Touchdesigner and my Wacom tablet. The Wacom tablet proved not useful because of its finicky nature so I found out that when self projection mapping it is best to use a wireless mouse to set the points. But I fell in love with this idea that I am ultimately the creator of my life. I am a creation of life, but also I am a continuer of life somehow. I am capable of choosing or mapping out my own destiny and that is a revelation for someone whose culture and community has been extinguished and forced to assimilate and believe something other than we know as truth. This falls in line with my statement of praxis as well as the use of the projector, itself. Through my process, I realize I am capable of transformation and my final video is a story of a continuous self-transformation.

As a photographer, as a videographer, as an artist, I am obsessed with light and the absence of light. With light we are and everything is. I am not light-biased though, I have a true and deep appreciation for darkness for it is the canvas, the surface, the support, for light. I really am in awe of the idea and phenomena of light being projected so I wanted to explore projection mapping onto myself with a standard home projector. This was the first time I had projection mapped onto myself and it was not easy, but it is something I want to continue to use as part of my medium. I want to make the projector a character in my video. I did not realize this until my professor gave the critical feedback of actually giving the projector a voice, somehow, as a spiritual guide and this is something I am going to edit into my video to make it more of dialogue between myself, a human, and this spiritual guide. Also, I am going to give my voice more of a  break and add silence to my video. Because I have an experience of being silenced, I might better be able to incorporate it, critically, into my video in future iterations. Phenomenally, I see the projector as I also see the technology of the camera. I have the ability to project into the future (projecting light photons onto..) and to remember the past (taking a picture with a camera). Mixing the past and future while in the present creates something unknown and this makes me happy and curious. These basic tools are what I have used to explore the human condition as they are tools made by humans but also serve as something phenomenal. I want to continue using the projector as a medium and as a philosophical point for furthering my art. I really value my time and work on this project because I know that remnants of my discoveries from this project will surface in my art throughout my life and career. 

blog update week 8

Week 8

Weekly Progress Update

This week I have hit some milestones in my project. Yay! There were some issues though and setting up the projection in my living has been rough, to say the least. But now I have the projection set up how I want and have set up a good positioning of the camera. Also, I have mapped out the Akai MidiMIX for max 8 and touchdesigner. This will make changing visual parameters a whole lot easier when I am actually recording my projections for the final video.

Reflection on Progress

This week, I accomplished one of the hardest parts and that was figuring out the projectors and how to control them with touchdesigner. I was happy to discover that I can control up to 4 projectors with my laptop. (one day, I’ll have to try this and hope that my laptop doesn’t explode) I only have two projectors at hand though, so that is what I have set up so that I can stand upright and be seen in full frame plus I am trying to get as much of the projection real estate as possible. Earlier in the week I set up one projector and was not satisfied with my framing… I am tall so the very top of my head was at the very top of the screen. When I am standing… I want a more head space that is why I needed to figure out how to use more than one projector with my laptop.

This weekend, I am going to write out a script for my narrative+record, set up my image mixer with mapped midi controls for color distortion that aligns with my general concept, and record my projections. This gives me less time to edit than I had hoped, but I kind of need that pressure to work under. Below are some picture of my progress this week.

with only one projector, I couldn’t stand up so I sat down to test
one projector for kantan mapper
sitting with a single projector
inspirational pic for visual effects in video
inspiration pic from Taos, NM
first go at trying 2 projectors
double kantan mapper in touchdesigner
touchdesigner interface that i find interesting to look at
test projections with 2 projectors
finally! how the projectors will be positioned for the video
this is framing that gets me but not as much of the projection real estate
this is the framing I am going to use so that I can get as much of me and as much of the projection real estate
max 8 interface for the mapping of midi controller
the presentation style of the akai midiMIX…very queer
mapped midi controller to touchdesigner

Inspiration, Ideas, Readings, Research

I have been watching many touchdesigner tutorials.

My research has not really changed since the last post. I am still influenced by Donna Haraway, Jack Halberstam, Katherine Hayles, and Dr. Leroy Little Bear. I recently watched a lecture by Ruha Benjamin https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xE8hTQKfJ6k. Benjamin’s discussion has helped me understand the intersectionality of race and technology as framed on the relationship between scientists vs. non-scientists.

Artist/Creator/Project Profiles

Sin Sol / No Sun

micha cárdenas wrote and directed “Sin Sol / No Sun” which is an augmented reality game based on the experience of climate change in order to better understand how climate change is effecting greater the populations of immigrants, trans and disabled people. I am very interested in all of the game and hopefully can make something like this for my BFA capstone. For this current project, I am inspired by the poetry throughout the game and how it is spoken in narrative way.

blog update week 6

Week 6:

I have created a basic prototype video of my narrative voice over some digitally manipulated images. In my video, I read an assortment of quotes from Dr. Leroy Little Bear, Niklas Luhmann, Laboria Cuboniks, Rainer Maria Rilke, Richard Teleky, Leslie Feinberg, Jack Halberstam, Navajo Nation President Peterson Zah, Queen, Jordy Rosenberg, and some of my own words. This prototype is used as a way for me to gain some direction in how I want to set up my projection mapping, what images I should use in the projected visuals, what images I can edit in, what sort of movements for the images I can use, and what story I want to narrate. In my final video, I will not be reading other people’s quotes, instead, it will be my own words synthesized by their influence.

basic prototype narration and video: https://vimeo.com/513110885 

look at max/msp 8 syphoning into touchdesigner where I am using kantan
edits for the prototype video made in final cut pro

Video: At this time, there aren’t any videos I have that capture interaction–my physical presence affecting the visuals through the zig sim sensor with my phone. I can include some videos showing the interaction next blog update. 

Contexts: 

https://vimeo.com/10278043  (start 0:38)

Miwa Matreyek: Miwa Matreyek is an animator, director, designer, and performer based in Los Angeles. She has been making installations where she interacts with her projected animations since 2010. I am interested that she is using her physical self to interact with digital projections in a space she created. She is a silhouette in her videos, but I want to show my 3D self but have an extra layer of dimension because something will be projected onto me.

https://refikanadol.com/works/infinity-room/  (start at 1:07) 

Refik Anadol: Refik Anadol is a media artist and a “spatial thinker” (installation artist). He combines machine learning with immersive installation. I am interested in the immersive installation part which is done mostly with projectors. I really like how he plays with illusion and creates that infinite world feeling one experiences using VR. I want to have the space I am performing in be transformed into a hybrid space of real and virtual/interactive space that immerses me.

https://tonyoursler.com/the-dark-side-rome

Tony Oursler: Tony Oursler is an American installation artist. He projects onto objects that are sculpted, grown (trees), textiles, mundane, really anything except people. I like that he breaks up a room with space to walk around the objects. I want to include some large abstract sculptures/objects that I can interact with and that will show projected videos.

https://www.krzysztofwodiczko.com/public-projections#/new-gallery-63/

Krzysztof Wodiczko: I am inspired by Krzysztof Wodiczko’s (b. 1943 in Warsaw, Poland) many projected videos on facades of buildings, monuments, and sculptures. I am interested in the social context of his videos in relation to what they are being projected on. For example, the picture I have shown above has profound social meaning because of the colonialist images portraying a handcuffed fruit picker holding a basket of fruit and serving it to the large white hands holding a fork and knife ready to eat the prepared fruit. But the intensity is real and present with these colonialist images being projected onto The San Diego Museum of Man building (1915-16)which looks like a cathedral or a fancy church. This projection occurred in 1988.

http://josephinestarrs.com/lx/?page_id=89 

Josephine Starrs and Leon Cmielewski: “and the earth sighed” (2016) is by Josephine Starrs and Leon Cmielewski– Australian artists who make media art installations “situated at the juncture of cinema, information visualisation and sublime landscape.”I am intrigued by how they vertically projection map onto the floor that can then be interacted with differently then with it being projected horizontally onto a wall. This is something I might want to explore.

My narration for the video with focus on these questions: I am?; What am I?; Where am I?; Is there we?; I am a human?; What is human?; What if I don’t fit the ‘nature’ of human? I don’t intend for my video to come up with any answers, I only hope it inspires others to consider their lived experience a little more. 

timeline

Week 1: think of project

Week 2: think of storyline, outlining scenes, order sensors, acquire additional materials, get heavyM license, test projection mapping in apartment space, start learning touch designer, techcheck things?

Week 3: learn touchdesigner, test projection mapping in apartment space, figure out interactivity and appropriate sensor, go to Taos and Gallup to take pics/video, think of storyline, synthesize sounds

Week 4: take pics/video of denver downtown, start editing photos and footage, synthesize sounds

Week 5: : setup projection mapping, record scenes, synthesize sounds, record narrative

Week 6: projection mapping, record scenes, record sounds, synthesize sounds, record narrative

Week 7: projection mapping, record scenes, record sounds, edit scenes into video, record sounds, synthesize sounds

Week 8: edit audio for video, share next prototype which will demo my full frame projection, send out an invite?

Week 9: any final edits for video, final edits for sound, send out an invite?

Week 10: share video on vimeo, and on website

blog update week 5

WEEK 5

Weekly Progress Update

For week four, my timeline says: “Week 4: take pics/video of denver downtown, start editing photos and footage, synthesize sounds”

This week, I did not take pics/videos of Denver downtown because I have been more focused on looking at the pics I got from Gallup and Taos and trying to form some thoughts based on those pictures. I have been synthesizing sounds with the Roland Ju-06 which is going well. I like the different sounds I am able to create. I have not recorded any sounds from the JU-06 or in general, but I will do that this week. I received my white coverall in the mail this week to wear for my projections.

Reflection on Progress

This mid-point in my project timeline somehow feels alright. Although it may seem that I haven’t done much physical work, many thoughts and feelings about this project have been percolating in my brain during the day and in my dreams during the night. I have been meditating on a narrative. I have bits and phrases that I will string together this week and record it. These bits and phrases have been mostly influenced by my readings this quarter. Overall, I feel really good and I am going to give many hours to this project this week. 

For Week 5, my timeline goal is : “setup projection mapping, record scenes, synthesize sounds, record narrative.”

Inspiration, Ideas, Readings, Research

I have been reading essays about posthuman in my digital personas class. I have been reading about queer and trans theory from gws class. There have been authors in which these fields intersect.  Some major players in my research are Donna Haraway, Katherine Hayles, and Rosi Braidotti. 

Artist/Creator/Project Profiles

https://www.krzysztofwodiczko.com/public-projections#/new-gallery-63/

I am inspired by Krzysztof Wodiczko’s (b. 1943 in Warsaw, Poland) many projected videos on facades of buildings, monuments, and sculptures. I am interested in the social context of his videos in relation to what they are being projected on. For example, the picture I have shown above has profound social meaning because of the colonialist images portraying a handcuffed fruit picker holding a basket of fruit and serving it to the large white hands holding a fork and knife ready to eat the prepared fruit. But the intensity is real and present with these colonialist images being projected onto The San Diego Museum of Man building (1915-16)which looks like a cathedral or a fancy church.  This projection occurred in 1988.

With my videos I am not projecting onto a building but rather a wall and with me in front of the wall. The landscape projected behind me is not urban but rather desert with  red mountains.  This landscape is significant to my identity.  Much like how the buildings Wodiczko projects onto relate to the identities of those being portrayed. Wodiczko’s videos are kind of static here, but sometimes there is a large face projected onto the building like in his Tijuana Projection (2001). I am interested in what my video might create if there is a live projection interaction with my body and the projected landscape around me. 

https://www.krzysztofwodiczko.com/public-projections#/new-gallery-79/

work on prototype 1 (w4)

This week I was able to travel to Taos and Gallup NM. It was a very brief trip so there are many things I could not take pictures of or even video of because of time constraints. I did capture a few images that are striking, conceptually.

In Iyanbito (outside of Gallup, NM)

I really like how there is this empty environment and then somehow in the next image, there is me.

Albuquerque, NM