Monday, November 23, 2015

Post, the ninth -- je ne sais quoi

still from je ne sais quoi 

my final project for new media in art is a video called je ne sais quoi - translation: i don't know what.

it's about beauty.

it's about the beauty of human beings (all humus an beings, think Marshall McLuhan's "global village"); beauty that has nothing to do with the common standards but beauty that comes from the subtle little things that we all do; a nervous glance, a conversation about a passion, a smile, a stare.

in times like these, times when 129 people can be killed overnight for no apparent reason, it can be difficult to believe in or even remember the beauty in the world.

when i heard about the attacks in Paris, i really wanted to change my project, to make something that "mattered".

it wasn't until i finally calmed down a little and thought about it, though, that i realized that this project does matter.

it's so easy to feel hate and fear and despair when tragedy strikes, and that's exactly what they want you to feel.

this video is in loving memory of the 129 souls taken from us in Paris on the evening of the 13th of November, 2015, those taken before that, and those that will be taken in the future.

a lot of my Wednesday nights in Paris were spent at a Scottish pub called the Highlander, listening to strangers sing at open mic night.

the audio is from one of those nights.

a youngish man from Ireland was performing for his last time before going home after 2 years in Paris and his performance really struck me.

he was tall and lanky with an air of someone who doesn't quite know how to keep their limbs in line, but when he stood behind his guitar and the microphone, you knew he was supposed to be there; he is meant to make music.

i wanted to give to you this little piece of Paris, one of my favorite times.

my hope is that if you see this video, you will concentrate your energy on the beauty of the world; that you'll realize that even if you didn't know anyone who was killed, you shared things with them; that they were beautiful and that you're beautiful and that this beauty can and will get us through.

here's a link to je ne sais quoi.


Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Post, the eight -- Something happened

last week, my class got to exhibit our work in a gallery in our school's library.

we each printed 2, 11x14 inkjet prints and made/ordered a book of the images from our photo project inspired by Robert Frank and Bob Dylan.

it was fun to see everyone's work together and i think that books are a really effective way to display images and i hope that one day, my name will appear next to the likes of Robert Frank, Jack Kerouac and Walker Evans on more bookshelves than just my own.

my book, Appleton, WI.  In Living Color

our show was pretty successful, but now it's over and honestly, i'll probably never think about it again.

something else happened last week, though, that i can't stop thinking about.

i was informed of the attacks in Paris simultaneously by two people on friday night.

i turned on a live feed of what was happening on the streets and i cried; for hours.

i texted my host family, messaged my friends in Paris and talked to my friends that i spent last year with.

when 9/11 happened, i was only 7, i'd lived in Wisconsin my whole life and my family didn't know anyone in New York, so this is the first time that a disaster has had such a strong and disabling effect on me.

written and drawn reactions to the events of 13/11/15

since last friday, the 13th of november, i've felt like i've been in a daze or a haze or a stupor.

when i hear people talk about the attacks or see the news or photos, my head gets fuzzy and foggy and i shut down a little.

we talked in class today about The Medium is the Massage.

on page 154 it says "i -- i hardly know, sir, just at present -- at least i know who i was when i got up this morning, but i think i must have been changed several times since then."

i changed on friday when i learned about the attacks.

i changed on saturday as more and more details were coming out.

i changed on sunday when i realized that my friend and i had gone to a party at the Bataclan club.

i changed this morning at the start of class when i learned that one of my friend's friends had been killed in the attack; that's probably the case with more of my friends that just this one.

i guess i just don't really know what to do other than write this.

my friends are probably tired of me talking about it and it's probably difficult for them to understand where i'm coming from; it just doesn't feel the same if it didn't happen in a place you fell in love with, to people you admire and care for.

"love is stronger than hatred"

at the Place de la République, you can see this and other expressions from French people put there after the attacks on Charlie Hebdo in January, the deadliest terror attack on French soil before last week.

these people are brave and strong and i know that they will make it through this, i just wish they didn't have to.

LOVE, please

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Post, the seventh -- Lucy and Marshall in the Sky with Diamonds

this week, i presented a report on The Beatles and why Marshall McLuhan included them in his book The Medium is the Massage.

it turns out, The Beatles were pretty experimental in their day.

The Beatles courtesy Google image search

McLuhan mentions The Beatles three times in his book and said of them on a separate occasion, “The Beatles are…using some of the very oldest forms of Anglo-Saxon, and some of the very oldest forms of philosophy as a basis for their music.  One of the peculiarities of new forms, electric forms, of retrieval is that they reach back for many centuries to grab things that man had forgotten long ago”.

much of The Beatles success comes from the fact that they were around during the electric age.

for example, their American debut was made on the Ed Sullivan Show where they were introduced to some 70 million people overnight. 

they took advantage of this and other things like the magnetic tape recorder.

The Beatles liked trying new things and when they realized that their new work didn't translate on a live stage, decided to spend the rest of their time in the recording studio.

George Harrison explains, “that was the key—we’d had success.  Then it was “ oh, great.  Come in lads”  and as we got more and more success, we were able to try some far out ideas.  Then you’d have success with a far out idea, and people would say “wow, that’s great”!  We’d come back again and George Martin would be keen to try other ideas.  So, it became like a free house—whatever idea we wanted, we’d try it.”
even though they're pretty mainstream today and it's probably "cooler" not to like The Beatles now than to like them, they really did their own thing.

i think that's probably a big reason why they were so successful.

they were unapologetically themselves. 

The Beatles courtesy Google image search

all you need is...


Monday, October 26, 2015

Post, the sixth -- a day with my boy

a one minute soundscape.

sounds like it should be fairly simple; it's not.

sound is not my thing.

i can't play any instruments; i can't tell instruments apart in songs (i'm pretty sure there's no difference between drums and bass); i listen to lyrics because i don't understand the rest.

needless to say, i had no idea how to start this project.

i had no idea where to go with it after i started it.

i have no idea what to think of it now that it's finished.

so, i did the only thing that came to mind; i took my camera out to the stable over my weekend at home.

i set it up in Boomer's stall while i was grooming him and let it capture sounds that are very common and fun and comforting to me and i called it, a day with my boy.

in it you can hear breathing, brushing, chewing, walking.

horses are pretty magnificent creatures.

they're gentle.

they're caring.

they're kind.

it was difficult for me to put this together because i associate these sounds with images and emotions and i'm not sure how well i was able to separate the two in my mind to make a successful end product.

i guess that these are some of the sounds that help me get by on some days.

time i get to spend with Boomer is really special.

i treasure it, because let's be honest, i'm a little busier and have a few more responsibilities now than i did when i was 9.

i suppose that this is a kind of tribute, a thank you to him for all the help he's given me over the years.

i hope it makes you as happy as it makes me.

(hardest project so far, for sure)


Monday, October 12, 2015

Post, the fifth -- Miriam Beerman, Expressing the Chaos

last week i got to be introduced to an amazing artist, Miriam Beerman, via the film Miriam Beerman: Expressing the Chaos.

Miriam is a very passionate and, in my opinion, very brave woman.

the images that she portrays in her art are heavy and emotional and sometimes difficult to look at for an extended period of time.

in the film she said that she paints and expresses "the horror that people meet with in their lives and in their existences."

she really feels the pain of the world and uses canvases to try to relieve it or maybe to relieve the pressure it puts on herself.

entrance to Auschwitz-Birkenau, 1945.

much of her work has to do with pain and survival; she is heavily influenced by the Holocaust.

when speaking of painting she said that "you have to keep at it because you need it for your existence."

she says that "painting is a safe place where you can exercise [your] demons."

we're lucky enough to have some of Miriam's work in our gallery at Lawrence and i went to see it the day after watching the film.

her work is even more striking in person than it is in a movie with dramatic music and lighting.

i was in the gallery by myself and it was perfectly silent.

one of the paintings said on the top vous vivez which is French for you (collectively or formally) live.

i paused, wondering if Miriam was telling us to live or if she was making a comment, almost saying that she paints so that we can live.

it's really difficult to describe and express feelings about her work if the person you're talking to hasn't seen them, so i encourage you to find her work and to spend time with it, even if it makes you feel uneasy.

images from Auschwitz-Birkenau, 2015.

some of her collages have sequins and sparkles so at first glance they look almost friendly and inviting, but once you orient yourself, you see gruesome and grotesque, writhing figures covering and covered by the glitz.

i had a physical response to Miriam's work; i felt a little light headed as i got to the last few works in the exhibit and was happy to sit to look at the last one.

i know that i wouldn't have appreciated Miriam's work as much if i hadn't seen the film, first.

everyone can take something from Miriam's paintings and collages, and i really think that everyone should.

this woman is special.

she expresses things that some people won't even think about.

one of her collages says "for beauty is nothing but the beginning of terror" and her work could easily be described as nothing less than terrifying, an equal indication of how lovely it is, too.

i think we can all learn from Miriam.

i think we can learn not to be afraid and especially not to be afraid to feel; not to be afraid to feel even if the people around and close to us don't know how to react to our feelings.

so think of Miriam.

think of Miriam and don't be afraid.


Sunday, October 11, 2015

Post, the fourth -- Appleton, WI. In Living Color.

"no parking"

our third project was inspired by Robert Frank and his book The Americans and a Bob Dylan lyric from Ballad of a Thin Man: "something is happening here and you don't know what it is, do you, Mister Jones".

my approach to this project was simple; i stood on the side of the street, set my camera up on a tripod, put in my ear buds, started a timer, and took a photo every 5 seconds for 3 minutes from 6 different viewpoints.

i ended up with 218 photos and from those, had to choose 20.

the images were pretty monotonous, so i basically ended up picking the ones with the cars i liked the best (and i don't really care about cars).

this is my commentary on  Appleton, WI.

call me Mister Jones, but i don't think very much happens here.

or maybe this is one of those places that people just move through.

maybe Appleton is just a place that people drive through on the way to their lives, or maybe it's a place where they walk their dogs.

maybe that's what's happening.

maybe Appleton is like adolescence and you just have to go through it to get to something better.

it's really not as bad as i'm probably making it sound; i've just been getting restless these past few years.

i used to live in a town like this, smaller than this actually, and i loved it, but that was a long 12 years ago.

this is home to some people.

this is comfortable to some people.

this is Appleton, WI.

this is what some people want.

just not me, not anymore.

you can click here to see the full Appleton, WI.  In Living Color.  album on flickr!


Saturday, October 3, 2015

Post, the third -- "You know a dream is like a river, ever changin' as it flows. And a dreamer's just a Vessel that must follow where it goes." -Garth Brooks

brain, courtesy google image search

this week i got the opportunity to hear from Dr. Ed Vessel, a research scientist from NYU who studies neuroaesthetics/why people respond the ways they do to various art forms and how their responses might relate to other behaviors.

as i was sitting in Dr. Vessel's lecture on wednesday night, i found it difficult to focus on what he was saying, not because it wasn't interesting or because he was a poor speaker, i just couldn't keep my mind from wandering.

i thought back to a few years ago when i was immersed in this science world, preparing myself to do the whole med school thing, and wondered if i would be understanding him any better if i'd remained there.

i've spent a  lot of time questioning my decision to pursue art and before that, i spent a long time making the actual decision.

for the last few years i've noticed that i can't make it through an entire concert, play, gallery opening, whatever, without feeling a bite of jealousy somewhere in the middle of it.

i've always admired doctors and what they do for people, but i've always envied artists.

i envy their courage to take a chance on themselves.

they really take a leap of faith but it seems like whenever it matters, i have a terrible fear of heights.

so i wonder, am i being selfish in my pursuit of art?

should i be pushing through chem and bio classes to get to med school?

at the risk of sounding too cliché, i feel full when i do art, any art; i just love the work.

my premed track made me feel scattered and uneasy, so shouldn't i be doing the thing that makes me glad, thankful, excited to be alive?

art brain, courtesy google image search

i question this choice every day.

why though?

why do we feel guilty for doing the things we love?

why should we ever feel like we're letting humanity down if we do something that makes us happy when it's really humanity that's letting us down if they do anything less than encourage our bliss.

isn't that our job? to make each other happy, to support each other and to make life worth all of the inevitable bumps and scrapes and bruises we get along the way?

"the stars are so big, the earth is so small, stay as you are"; that's what Marshall McLuhan tells us.

so let's help each other love who we are and be confident in our imaginations; whether we think of brainwaves or stocks or weather patterns or paint.

i didn't really learn very much about the brain from Dr. Vessel, but i did learn a bit about mine and that i should stop questioning it.

i don't need a medical degree to be able help people, but i do need to be happy to be able to help people and happiness is contagious so that's already a start.

with that i say ACHOO!

catch the happiness.

do something great.

do something that you love.

be and be happy.

brains, courtesy google image search


Sunday, September 27, 2015

Post, the second -- H2O

the guidelines for this project were to make an experimental video approximately 1 minute long.

i've never made a video before, so whether it was a guideline or not, this was going to be an experiment.

the inspiration for this video comes from my never-ending annoyance when i walk into the shower or bathroom and water is dripping because someone couldn't turn the faucet all the way to the right.

it's called "H2O".

it's about technology.

it's about water.

it's about being a conscientious world citizen.

it's about the forgotten idea that water was once considered "high tech".

water is and has been used to make paper and steel, in hydroelectric power, in thermoelectricity, to power machinery at mills, not to mention, it nourishes us and the food that we eat.

my concern is that in our obsession with new technology, we waste, we exploit, and we ignore our natural resources.

i worry that this will continue until there is nothing left (no clean water, no clean air) and our new gadgets won't be able to save us.

Marshall McLuhan said in his book The Medium is the Massage, "our new environment compels commitment and participation.  we have become irrevocably involved with, and responsible for, each other".

i believe that this is truer now than ever.

in our infatuation with new technology we have deserted too many precious resources and we are henceforth accountable for making this planet habitable for each other and the generations to come.

no one will do it if we don't.

it's easy to be a responsible human.

please try.


Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Post, the first


my name's Molly and i'm from Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

i'm studying French.

i spent last year in Paris learning the language and culture, exploring the boulevards with Neil Young, and eating as many pastries as i could get my hands on.
i saw famous art; i saw how the class system works; i saw a group of people 4,000 miles away from home who aren't so different from you and me.
Le Sacré Cœur de Montmartre from le Parc des Buttes-Chaumont

i've been horseback riding since i was 9 years old and i've had my horse, Boomer, for about 12 years.



i've been interested in photography for as long as i can remember.

i feel most comfortable and at peace when i'm in nature.

i'm not the best at drawing or painting, but i like to do it anyway; i've always been encouraged to express myself creatively.

a few years ago, i thought that i was going to be a doctor or a vet so i shadowed a large animal veterinarian for about 4 summers.

autumn is my favorite season; i love the cool nights, the football games, and the sweaters.

i'm emotional.

in my opinion, there's almost nothing more calming than driving around in the summertime listening to country music.

i'm a member of Kappa Alpha Theta.

i'm a realistic optimist .

i played 15 seasons of volleyball.

my favorite book is "Little Women".

my favorite song is "I Love You Always Forever" by Donna Lewis.


and...that's me

Carry le Rouet, south of France

these are the things that shape and make my art because they're the things that shape and make me.

art is my greatest and sometimes only form of self expression.

when i'm working on a project, that project is my life.

art is my words.

through my work i hope to gain a greater understanding of myself and to create something that people can relate to or learn from.

i hope to spread kindness.

i hope to promote thought.

i hope to add something positive to this world.