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Polyvocal Mixtape: Atlanta


On Sept 25 – 27th I traveled to Atlanta, GA to continue my year long project under the working title Polyvocal Mixtape. In Atlanta I conducted a series of interviews of four Black students of Emory University at the Law University Library. While I have called this an interview it is rather a roundtable discussion where all four people are interviewed at once. This ongoing discussion in this interview is asking the question what does Blackness mean in this current culture? As we delve into their stories we see the many layers of Blackness and the varying narratives and experiences unique to each individual. The images as part of this documentation are some of the people I interviewed.      

Polyvocal Mixtape: Painting


If for whatever reason you have kept up with my research entries on the Create Space website then you understand or at least know what I am engaging with. This is no different. For this part of the Polyvocal Mixtape Series (a title constantly changing but I think I’ve settled more or less) I am painting two people from a series of interviews I conducted exploring the contemporary context of Blackness. This interview took place summer of this year however I have not begun painting until two weeks ago. With the item I checked out at the Create Space, the projector, I projected my image onto a 70 x 70 in stretched canvas. The first image attached to this documentation is the drawing and the second is the first layer of paint I place onto the canvas after the drawing has been completed. This process is the most time efficient way I have developed thus far to create my paintings. Include the five W’s: Who, What, When, Where, & Why. You can enhance your message by including links and/or embeds of your research into this box from Youtube, Vimeo, Soundcloud, Facebook, or Twitter. Put any of these on their own line, with a space above & below. Note: Your submission will be reviewed for posterity’s sake, and if found insufficient, may have an impact on future resource access.    ...

Projections Design for Elbows Off the Table


The projections design for Ohio University Division of Theatre’s production Elbows off the Table (written/directed by Rebecca VerNooy) was an interesting challenge. The play is set up as a movement/devised style of piece, which meant that the projections had to follow the story in a different way. Where the projections were going was often more important than specifically what the projections were displaying. For example, this design often involved displaying moving color on the actors themselves while at the same time keeping the projection off any visible surface on the set—in essence, dynamic color toning of the actors themselves without interacting with the set. In other scenes, what was projecting on the stage floor was equally important to the defined images on the back wall. This is where the Create Space equipment came in handy. I needed two smaller projectors in addition to the division’s inventory to add geometric disco patterning to the floor to complement the “rave scene” video graphic animations on the back wall and on the actors. These projectors were rigged directly above the stage and pointed directly down at the floor. This angle also had the advantage of having minimal interaction with the actors while maintaining full coverage of the floor. Another resource utilized from the Create Space was a hd videocamera and the blue room which was used to capture the individual “faces in blackness” used during the show. The content for this show was generated mostly in Adobe After Effects and Photoshop. The projection output control and surface mapping was handled with Dataton’s WatchOut media server platform.    ...

The Hunted


Gender issues have always perplexed me. How what I was permitted or not permitted to do differed from my male peers frustrated me greatly while growing up. Then seeing that divide spread as an adult woman caused me to seek out an explanation, but the rational I was being given I found to be greatly unsatisfying. For years I tried to subvert the system and escape my female limitations in work and social structures, but that produced little result and threatened to alienate me in my various networks. Finally I stubbled upon what I was looking for in feminist literature. It validated my frustrations, help define what I was experiencing and gave me strategy for moving forward. So in my first film at the MFA program at Ohio University, I wanted to tell a story that symbolizes the horrific punishment that females face for deviating from expectations, and sometimes not even for deviating, the punishment females sometimes face for just existing. The Hunted is a short film that starts with the classic horror scenario of “killer chasing helpless female in the woods”, but by the end we find out that the female maybe wasn’t so helpless after all. By subverting the classic memes of the genre so dramatically in my first film at OU I feel I’m setting the groundwork for a reinterpretation of other genres, this time making the female in charge of her own voice and storytelling. We’re shooting on a Arri-S 16mm camera and hope to have the project completed before the end of 2015. Thank you.          ...

Moon Tunnel Installation #1


Sept 25th marked the first installation of Moon Tunnel, a new graduate-run literary series sponsored by the Ohio University English Department. The series was founded in fall of 2015 to foster community and to provide a low stakes environment for recognized graduate writers to practice sharing their creative work aloud. Readings are limited to 10 minutes, and are prefaced by a 1 minute unprofessional introduction. The first installation was held at 7:30pm in the basement of ArtsWest and featured Kirk Wisland (pictured in photo), Madeline ffitch and Claire Eder. Moon Tunnel events will be held throughout the year. The next event will take place on Friday, October 23rd. Additional installations are scheduled for Nov. 6th, and Feb 5th, with a final showcase of graduating PhDs in Creative Writing planned for March 25th.      

Dogwood Bloom Nest Reading


On Friday September 18th I delivered a multimedia literary reading of a lyric, visual essay entitled “Nest.” The text of the essay I read was contained in a set of ten parentheses–a nested essay, if you will. During the reading I used a large set of Russian nesting dolls to demonstrate the motion of associative moves that the reader was asked to consider while listening to each of ten sections in succession. The reading was held at Galbraith chapel and facilitate by the use of a microphone, combination amp and speaker, and the use of a music stand.      

Advanced Cinema Camera Demonstration


As a TA of MDIA 4904: Lighting for Film and Video, I was asked by Professor Brian Plow to put a lecture together on cameras. In this class, we teach students the ins and outs of lighting a scene – how to use lighting not only technically but as an emotional tool. While a large part of our job is to set up lighting situations, we also need to understand how that light is being recorded and what is happening to it. That’s why it is imperative for us to understand cameras in a very in-depth sense. The class gathered in RTV’s Studio C, where I asked the students to set up a portrait situation with three lights and one subject sitting in a chair. In front of them sat 3 different cameras: a Canon Rebel t3i, a Blackmagic Cinema Camera and a Blackmagic Pocket Camera. Most students shoot on a Canon t* series DSLR. They’re affordable, extremely versatile and a good investment for people of our age group. However, with the rise in popularity of the DSLR, I thought it was necessary to explain, in technical terms, what makes it and a cinema camera different. 1. A cinema camera won’t produce pretty colors in-camera, you have to make that happen later. You typically don’t want the camera to film a saturated, heavily colored image. The images that the Blackmagic series cameras record are very flat – that is, they appear gray. There aren’t many whites or blacks, and color is very desaturated. The purpose behind this is to allow you to grade it later. Grading is the process of coloring an image in post production. 2. Understand what ISO, aperture and shutter speed really are. When dealing with cameras, these three things affect the brightness of your image. We’re taught, as media students, how to use these to expose an image that isn’t too bright or too dark, but not where they came from or what they are truly doing. I told the students tidbits of information about each: ISO: This is how sensitive the camera is to light. When you increase the ISO, you are making it more sensitive, and you are going to make the image more noisy. Some cameras work best at a certain ISO, the BMCC, for example, has a “native” ISO of 800, whereas a Sony FS7 is closer to 3200. Also, ISO used to be called ASA in the days of film. Aperture: (Iris) This is determined by your lens, and, in my opinion, every lens has a personality all it’s own. When you see a blurred background in a film, it was probably shot at a low f/stop. The shape of this blurriness, called “bokeh”, is determined by how many blades there are in the aperture of the lens. Shutter speed: Formally known as the shutter angle in film cameras, this determines how many times per second an image is sampled. A shutter speed of 1/60th means you are taking 60 samples every second. This determines how blurry movement is within your frame. I also explained to the class how the old “shutter angle” mechanism worked in older cameras. (Note: This is not the frames per second the camera is recording at) 3. Know your camera. Like a lens, a camera is not easily quantified by the sum of it’s parts. You can look at each specification – the sensor size, the output format – all the technical things – but at the end of the day, each camera will produce an image of a different caliber and flavor. During our class time, I used the two Zeiss lenses from Create Space to demonstrate how they are better than a standard DSLR lens. They are sharper and sturdier than DSLR lenses, and have a much nicer focus ring for pulling focus. We also looked at lenses from Canon, Rokinon, Lens Baby and a few vintage ones. Additionally, I took out a small camera called a Lytro. This was used to demonstrate that there are many weird, different sorts of cameras on the market, to get them thinking about a world outside of DSLRs. The Lytro is a special camera, as it takes a picture whose focus can be changed later. Normally, a picture taken with a regular camera has the focus “baked in” – it is permanently set at the time of creation. The students really enjoyed taking pictures with it and thought it was a great little novelty. To finish our class, we took out the BMCC equipped with a Rokinon 50mm lens as well as the Canon t3i equipped with the Zeiss 50mm. The students used both cameras to film the same subjects on College Green, so that we can compare the footage in later classes. The class enjoyed being able to try out new and different equipment, and hopefully left thinking about how they can change up their next project by choosing a different camera or lens. These are things I wish professors would have taught me early on, so I wanted to pass on what I have learned in my studies as a cinematography student.    ...

Banned Book Project


Banned Books Week is an annual celebration of books that have been banned from libraries in the US. This year the focus is on young adult books. For this project, I chose “To Kill A Mockingbird” from the list of banned books and recreated a cover image for it. The idea behind the image is both literal and abstract. In the book, Dolphus Raymond is known as the town drunk, but in reality he’s only drinking coke from the brown paper bag. The idea that things aren’t always as they seem is a reoccurring theme throughout the book so i felt like it was the perfect image to convey that message.      

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