Saturday, March 26, 2011

Audio, interviews, and final shtuffs

Wow, a lot of material this time! I'm very excited about this part of the video project so far. I can't wait to start experimenting with adding audio to videos and what not. I also think interviewing people will be fun. Maybe I'll pretend to be a news anchor or something, talk about a dramatic story, have a potted plant in the background as I sit at least 5ft away from the person I'm interviewing with a very serious face. (too much TV) I'm still really skeptical about the video editing skills that I severely lack. If only all videos could be done with one take..

Anyways, final project plannings:

  1. Personal: Thinking about walking down La Rambla with my camera and maybe tallying up how many times I get harassed to eat somewhere, see a buskar, to buy things, etc. 
  2. Professional: Getting a lot of footage on different green spaces with water, so will probably talk about water in design
  3. Social/political: Interviewing people who have been pick-pocketed in Spain. And maybe have a little fun with "recreating scenarios" or something like that. 
How to do an interview seems pretty simple,  but there's so many factors that we have to take into account. Lighting? Position of the camera? Don't look into the camera? I feel like I'd get so overwhelmed by these technical things that I'd probably just do a horrible job making a serious interview! Crossing fingers, though.

But really, I can't wait to find really fun audio clips and use them for my videos! Maybe some dramatic music for the interview(s) will help enhance the whole experience?

Friday, March 25, 2011

Digital Medias!

Here is a video I took of an art installation in Berlin.

The reason for this video is the fact that a picture simply does not capture what this thing really is. In photo-form, it looks pretty boring and just weird, but being able to see the interaction of the shiny pieces with the wind allows us to understand what it really is. It serves no function, really, it's just cool.

Photo of the installation. See what I mean?

What's included? Mostly just the installation since it's the subject of the video.
What's exluded? More of the context, the highway near by (though you can hear it), people
Foreground, background? Foreground; the subject. Background; sounds from the highway and the facade on which the installation is located
How does it tell my story? Well, I hope that it shows the neat way the shiny flittering pieces interact with the wind and light to create a nice little pause; all of which can't be captured simply through a photo (as much as I wish it could be)

As for the video with Latifa Jbabdi, what struck me as very effective in the video are the scenes where she is sitting by herself in the seats of Parliament. I think it's very symbolic in the way that Latifa is the (first?, and) only female in Parliament, yet she looks comfortable sitting in the seats, showing that she is not intimidated by her position and is most likely a strong member. 
The bit in the beginning with maps and music help to put the video in context, as well as adding images of women from the area. By shooting more images of women than men in the video, Latifa's cause is easily shown and strengthened. 

Friday, March 11, 2011

Major Projects

Alright, so let's spit out some ideas for these final projects!


Personal- this won't be too bad, I think.

  • La Rambla/the beach - being bothered by people to buy things
  • Water- the fun Barcelona's designers seem to have with adding water into landscaping, plazas, parks, and even shows (at Montjuic)
  • I'm thinking about taking a random video for one day and see if I can pick out any more specifics relating to my experience in Barcelona

Professional- how architecture is practiced/approached in Barcelona

  • Importance of the Grid
  • Differences in architectural style/mindsets; maybe interview one my professors who had studied in Germany and worked in a Catalan firm, or one professor who studied/practiced in the Netherlands, teaches in Barcelona
  • Importance of Gaudi
  • Importance/influence of the need for public spaces
  • The difference in approach and process in architectural projects between Studio Barcelona and Studio Clemson

Public Issues- 

  • Pick-pocketing
  • Issue of homeless people v. public buildings
  • Issue of ownership in terms of property and housing

This is all I can think of right now. I'll keep jotting down notes when I can think of more things! The whole social/public issues thing is a bit difficult to tackle, since I'm not aware of many besides what I see living here. That's also difficult because sometimes I just accepted it as part of the culture (such as pick pocketing. Just thought it was part of the Barcelona way, but found out it's actually a big problem and heard that the police even give out rewards to citizens who attack pick pocketers?)

Some more research is needed, here.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Tropos in the morning

This statue is Der Morgen at the German Pavilion designed by Mies van der Rohe. The Pavilion itself is located at Montjuic in Barcelona. It's safe to say this is pretty much my favorite statue I've seen ever, so I decided it would be great to tropo-analyze it (tropalyze?)

So let's give her a bit more context!
Now we can see the statue isn't in some sort of museum, or inside some gallery for that matter. It's outside! And on top of water! Whaaaaaaat that is too crazy for a statue what is it doing there?? Let's break it down in terms of rhetoric: kairos, logos, pathos, and ethos.

Kairos: in a really shallow "pool" of water, in the open exterior of the German Pavilion
Logos: what purpose does the statue serve in this area of the Pavilion? It's an interactive statue, and by that I mean that the statue plays with light, where just at the right time (most likely sunrise, but clearly wasn't there for that) the light hits the statue in a way that the subject's expression makes sense: the sun is in her eyes.
Pathos: mostly evoked by the face of the sculpture of "Oh God, what is that in my face? Ugh."
Ethos: the nudity of the sculpture may offend some people (she doesn't have to be naked to have the sun in her eyes), but I say it reflects the minimalistic style in which the rest of the Pavilion is designed.

Now moving on to more-so tropos related topics!

The angle? Relatively at the same angle as being face-to-face with the sculpture because that's how people approach each other. The statue doesn't need to be at the same angle as, say a skyscraper, because, for one, it's not that tall and when humanoid subjects are given that same angle, it tends to give the subject a god-like feel.

The background? The walls behind it are kind of unavoidable but it gives the statue its vague context of the German Pavilion. Though it's relatively hard to tell the Pavilion from the way the statue is framed, that also serves its purpose to focus on the subject at hand and not necessarily where it is. 

The story? The sculpture itself tells a story, and this story is what was aimed to be captured. Again, the sculpture interacts with the sun in the lady's face as the sun rises, but this was unable to be fully captured in the photos. The picture was taken in hopes that the sculpture itself could tell its story as best as possible, but how without the actual sun in the lady's eyes?

Through her expression:

Friday, February 25, 2011

CLAM 8; digital photo

I need to eventually come up with more interesting blog titles. But I'm really bad at titles.
Anyways, some photofun with my little point-and-shoot I got for Christmas!

As an architecture major, taking pictures of buildings at angles is key. Especially for the photo above and the ones following this bit, as they're skyscrapers in Madrid's new business district. The one above is a skyscraper designed by Sir Norman Foster. It would pretty difficult to capture how tall the building is should the picture been taken horizontally (would probably have to merge multiple photos) and definitely wouldn't have fit in the frame if it was just front on. Even at an angle, the skyscraper still doesn't fit into the entire picture!

Above are the Europa Gates in Madrid. Again, horizontally, the true height of these structures is hard to capture. However:


When taking the picture of the two buildings closer and vertically, the true heights of the building can be seen. I also enjoy the fact that they lean.

 I break my back to take angled pictures.

Here are some of my favorite examples of the effect of light in similar pictures. The first image is of a statue in Madrid of their symbol (the bear and the tree) with the sun/light behind the subject. It creates a silhouette effect, which looks pretty cool, but it also hides the details in the sculpture. 

The same sculpture, this time the photo is taken where the sun/light is on the same side as me, taking the picture. The details of the sculpture can be seen and it looks nicer. Except all the scaffolding in the background, which was what I wanted to avoid in the first place. Can't win!

Here's an example of what Mr. Wright was speaking about keeping an image tight, with as little empty space as possible. Though I can't really change how much empty space is between the two buildings here, there's way too much. The empty space is too overwhelming and takes away from what is supposed to be the subject of the photo.

Here is an image of what I believe shows the rule of 1/3s. Finding photos with the rule of 1/3s in it is a bit difficult, I find, since us arch kids are usually taking pictures of structures that are hard to capture in just one part of an image area. Also architects hate it when people end up in images of a building :)

I find the 1/3 rule to be particularly interesting in terms of the types of pictures we take here as architecture majors (as in NOT people), just to see if it works with buildings and how that image would turn out. The use of light in images is also incredibly important and so are angles. All about those angles!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Media Analysis

Oh. McDonalds. I'm never even a customer there outside of getting the occasional chicken nuggets kids' meal back in Clemson. Seeing as how I do not understand Spanish or Catalan at all ever (and going to Google translate to figure out what everything says) will make understanding the rhetoric of the Spanish ads and McDonalds site a bit difficult. But I'm going to try it without really knowing what the words say, which might then make the other aspects of rhetoric (Kairos, Logos, Pathos, and Ethos) stand out a bit more?

American McDonalds homepage:

Which in this "ad", boldness is key. It's mentioned in the link "seize the bold"; the food itself is described as "deliciously bold"; the word choice of "axiom" is also a bold move for the ad, as "axiom" means to be a truth, essentially. 
Kairos: American McDonalds site. 
Logos: All the colors chosen graphically on the page are all colors that are seen in the food, giving the words a direct association to the subject. 
Pathos: Hunger (mostly); attraction; BOLDNESS. Maybe a bit of homesickness? (unintentional)
Ethos: Addressing an assumed American/North American audience, trying to evoke hunger and appeal to the product by promising an unbelievable flavor experience of both BBQ and Chipotle. (sounds like too much to me)

Spanish McDonalds homepage:

Awww look at how friendly and light the Spanish page looks! Makes me want to try a "curry mango chicken wrap" while I'm at it!
This is quite a difference from the American McD's site as 1. they're advertising food that is probably healthier than the Bacon BBQ Chipotle Angus burger of meaty Boldness 2. the design of the website has a lighter feel through the use of transparencies, use of white, and adding in natural elements like branches. The link options of the site are also different; I'm not sure what all everything is, but one this is certain: the Spanish site has a link for nutritional information (which then has many sub-links) and the American one doesn't.
Kairos: Spanish McDonald's site.
Logos: The Spanish site shows multiple layers on the page. There are different layers of images through different opacities and the "slide show" images allow for more options on the page to flip through. The site seems to promote more options to the audience/potential customers.
Pathos: Hunger? Not quite sure about that Mango Curry chicken wrap (that probably costs 6euro, close to $8?)
Ethos: By giving the "ad" a lighter feel, the food seems almost healthy though it may be that of McDonalds. This shows, in comparison, the Spanish preference for fresh and healthy food, which in turn could reflect on their lifestyle. This also shows a difference in the preferred flavors in food.

And now for ads that I'm probably completely misunderstanding!

An ad for the new tops on the bottles of San Miguel, because, clearly, the traditional bottle tops are wayyy too complicated for everyone (as seen in the video).
Kairos: Anytime, anywhere that someone might want a cool, refreshing bottle of San Miguel (why would you want it it's so gross)
Logos: Relates to the Average Joe, or Jose maybe, that has the never-ending frustration of opening that darn bottle of San Miguel after a long, stressful day.
Pathos: First, the audience might relate to everyone in the ad with their frustration, but then a sense of refreshment, both in the sense of drinking the product and also from finally being able to open the top.
Ethos: The ad shows that not only men and women are frustrated with trying to get the top open, but even dogs, just cannot move on with life until they get their San Miguel. The target is everyone, and they mean everyone.

A little ad to promote tourism and attract people to Spain.
Kairos: Not sure what area/city of Spain, but most likely Valencia, hinted by the paella dish (originated in Valencia) that the family was enjoying and the fact that they were by a pretty beach, as Valencia is on one of Spain's many coasts.
Logos: The only sounds heard in the video (besides the narrator at the end) is giggling and the sound of the sea. This shows that the family is having the time of their life while enjoying the scenery and local food.
Pathos: Relaxation, happiness, enjoyment.
Ethos: Okay, all of Spain is nothing like this video. Being in Barcelona, it is NOTHING like what they're showing. Of course, because it's a video promoting tourism, they're only going to show the appealing and nice parts of Spain. I also have doubts that the beach they showed was even a Spanish one, but I suppose there's only one way to find out...

Friday, February 11, 2011

New Literacies; prompt 2

"our writing equipment takes part in the forming of our thoughts"

Nietzsche, good sir, I do concur.

I find myself often frustrated by the restrictions put upon myself when trying to go through a certain medium to communicate. For example, it's ridiculously hard, almost impossible, to convey sarcasm properly through texting when in comparison to oral or video communication. Then I find myself being accused of sounding "mean" or "angry" to some people when in reality, I'm really not. There's even a difference between text communications in terms of phone-texting and internet-text where italics and bold can be used to show emphases on certain words or syllables to mimic speech more effectively.

That being said, I would break down my most frequently used communication mediums that easily convey an intended message to those that allow more ambiguity as such: person-to-person; video; phone; internet text; phone-text. 
Maybe there's a study on it or something, but what I find from it is that there is a progressively less amount of "human" or "person" in the little break down I just did. When people communicate face to face, it's not just understanding what each other is saying that properly conveys one's message, but a combination of that and facial expressions, bodily gestures, voice intonations, flow of speech, etc. When it comes to pure texting from one phone to another, human communication is extremely simplified to just text and the occasional emoticon. People read texts differently from one another, therefore the same message to one person could mean something different to another person. Communication is less precise and allows more room for interpretation, good or bad.

So through the different communications mediums that I use, I see what Nietzsche and his composer friend refer to, though through different means. To get on their level, hand writing vs. typing also show different levels of personal communication. When one writes, their handwriting can tell a bit about their state when they wrote whatever it may be. It's a lot easier to see if the message corresponds to how it is written (ex: "I love you"  scratched onto a piece of paper with a crayon just isn't as romantic as writing it in cursive in pencil.)  When the same thing is typed, one's state is a mystery, and the sense of personal context is lost. This reminds me of every crime/mystery show that deals with suicide notes, where it's always a big mystery as to whether the death was a suicide or homicide because no one knows if the person actually typed the suicide note or not.

Different mediums restrict our ability for expressions, which in turn restricts our ability to properly communicate to one another. By using simple mediums, our message is further simplified to the basics or essentials of a message (the words). Perhaps this is what happened to Nietzsche, as his writing went from pen and paper to typewriter and paper. Through the typewriter, his writing became, for lack of a better word, mechanic, as opposed to his own handwriting which would have allowed for more personal expression to his words. I wouldn't say our thought processes are changed through the medium, rather that how much of our thought is conveyed is completely changed; much like a filter or funnel, where there is a lot more input than output that is allowed. 

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Crossing Cultures

My people? Not exactly sure about that one, but I think I would define them as my friends that  I see most often and spend the most time with: Clemson friends, friends from back home, and my family. 

That being said, in reference to my last post, the first thing I would have to explain to them is my family, and how it's not the typical American household (since we live in a mix of American and Japanese traditions and what's considered "normal"). But what is an "American" household? Not sure, since I don't believe myself to live in a real one. This, I would also explain. Then I would move on to the "do's-and-don'ts" as well as most likely playing translator. We've had a few exchange students stay with us in the past, and first sharing about how my family is different is something I've gotten used to doing, not only with exchange students but with friends that come over as well. As for the exchange students, I usually let them chat with my dad about what a more-true "American" house is like.

Next would be an introduction to my close friends, all of whom contribute to define who I am so then they, after my family, would be a big part of my culture, right? So upon meeting my friends, I would tell the student a little about them, where they come from, what they're studying, how I know them, and any fun stories I have had with that friend. 

Depending on the student, they may be more interested in the lives of Americans or maybe the history of America instead, and upon figuring that out, would be how I would approach sharing with them this mess of a culture we call American. So let's try to break down some American things in terms of the ethnos, nomos, mythos, archon, and techne.

Ethnos-- our identity, in my opinion after being in Spain for a month, is our pride in the freedoms that our country offers to us. Granted, we're still working on our rights for certain things (insert healthcare for everyone here. oops, political can of worms opened?) but have we ever stopped to think about how awesome it is to be able to get free water at every restaurant? Never, because it's a God-given right to all Americans to never be thirsty while they're in the land of the plenty.

Nomos-- the names of important landmarks, etc. which I find to be closely tied to our language. Just like our "melting pot" culture/country, our language is a mix of multiple languages. American nomos also can be applied to people's last names, where this can tell about that family's history and where they came from and their deeply embedded culture. I find nomos to be the most interesting out of the 5 because it can tell so much.

Mythos-- our stories and legends. The only ones I can think of are the tall tales about Paul Bunyan or maybe American literature. I feel like we embrace the stories and legends of other cultures a bit more than the American ones (re: all stories that Disney movies originated from in the '90s. Oh, sweet childhood) because, honestly, I'm not really familiar with the American legends. Besides the ones that George Washington had wooden teeth and cut down a cherry tree for a reason I forgot. Either way, a lot of the morals of these stories coincide with each other, so what's wrong with spicing it up a bit with a little exotic European gore twists?

Archon-- display. Being an Architecture major, I can't really say there's been a a movement or style that was started in America, however, I believe pop-art started in America (of course, because I'm not a big fan of it). Nowadays, I find that our buildings embrace the modern or contemporary styles to match our capitalist nation's need for pure function and no time for elaborate aesthetics in design. To me, our buildings say a lot about what's important to the adult-world of America, though this may not be as evident to everyone else.

Techne-- how we make things. Haha, China?

And just as a side note, America's high Individualism index from Geert-Hofstede is quite interesting to think about while in Europe, more specifically Spain, where collectivism is a whole lot more important as the country is heavily influenced by communist ideals from the past. At least that's what I understand from class lectures and what not. I haven't seen the whole breadth of it, but I'm sure I'll notice a lot more of this the longer I stay in the country.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Cultural Literacy

Honestly, what is Clemson's obsession with forcing cultural anything onto us? (re: being "Culturious") I'm quite sick of it. You know who you're dealing with here, right? The half Japanese girl who speaks 3 languages and is learning a 4th, who is currently in Barcelona, Spain where none of these aforementioned languages help? I was born "Culturious".

That being said, since birth, I have always been exposed to at least 2 different kinds of cultures: the American one of my dad, and the Japanese one of my mom. Needless to say, I've always been ahead in the game of "who knows more languages" where I was raised to be fluent in both English and Japanese. 
Then middle and high school happened, where I was required to take on a 3rd language for school, so I decided to tackle French. Now it's safe to say I am also fluent in French.
Since last semester, I started studying German. I've always wanted to and my schedule allowed for it, so why not? 

To understand a culture, learning the language in class just isn't enough (though in terms of "Nomos", it's an excellent start). Everyone always says that to best understand a certain culture, one must immerse themselves into it. This, I completely agree with. I've been fortunate enough to have had opportunities in the past to explore different cultures by visiting other countries and even staying there for an extended amount of time to learn more about how the people of the region live. I've also made many friends in high school of different nationalities, which also definitely helps in understanding not only your friend better, but where they and their family come from, and in turn understanding that culture better.

This semester in Spain is a bit different. I had no previous idea about anything in Spain, nonetheless Barcelona (who wants to break off from Spain and become its own thing, essentially) so I definitely jumped into the big kids' pool this time with no floaties. It was very difficult and strange at first, but by now, I feel like I've gotten into the groove of things (it's been almost a month already!). 

I wish I could travel at my leisure and immerse myself in as many countries and cultures as I possibly could, but financial and time restrictions pretty much hold me back on that front. In terms of becoming more culturally literate in Barcelona, it will probably just take more time being here. Living here and being completely immersed is one thing, however, our professors also share with us the history and explanations of certain things while we're here, which is incredibly helpful.

At first, my goal here was just to survive, but now, I would say I'm trying to thrive :)

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Photo editing!

Here is an original-size picture of Messi's first goal from my first FCB game while in Spain. I feel it is quite deserving in its massive size. TAKE UP AS MUCH SPACE AS YOU WANT, MESSI. (Thanks for the hat trick!)

Here is me on a cat, at an appropriate size for this blog.

The first image would be easier to crop and edit, but that would defeat the whole purpose of what I just did. The second image might be able to be edited so that I am in outer space or something, but it's actually cropped (note: my missing right foot). Cropping is easy, but other methods of photo editing is pretty tedious and difficult, as I've learned from our renders for architecture projects. Hopefully I won't have to do anything THAT tedious for this blog?

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Online Communities

Okay, firstly, did I just get Rick Roll'd by our professor? I believe that just happened. It really did.

In terms of online communities, I've had a Blogger for a while, and of course I use Facebook. I got started using Blogger from a friend of mine who had gone to Germany and told me that I should start blogging too. This same friend had gotten me onto Facebook, as well, so I guess she's just keeping me in check with the latest ways of being in these online communities. 

The benefit of using a blogging site, such as Blogger, allows me to stay in touch with friends and family miles, states, oceans, and continents away, while also letting them see how I'm doing: what I'm doing while I'm gone, being able to share my adventures, and add a little personality pizazz as well to know it's actually me who is alive and posting. Friends and family usually tell me that they enjoy my blogs, so therefore I'm really encouraged to keep it going. After all, who likes blogging to an empty audience? (I surely hope I'm not doing that with this one.)
Needless to say, Blogger is really easy to use, and I'm lazy. Everything just works out.

So with this Barcelona trip being the longest trip without any family members, it's nice to have a blog and being able to not only tell them, but show them through pictures, that I am alive and well, and not to worry from whatever is probably on the news right now. (current events? what?) It's a more personal form of keeping in touch, and it's nice that you can just tell about your adventures once while multiple people can read it without having to share individually, like you would have to by snail mailing everyone like back in the day. Online communities are very useful, so far I have seen no downside of them, besides being badgered to update all the time.
You guys, I have a life, you know. :)

CLAM intro

Welp, I was kind of hoping that this CLAM course would just be a simple blog, which I'm used to keeping for my previous travels, but looks like there's going to be more interesting media and methods involved! I am looking forward to it, just to get to learn new ways of documenting my experiences as I travel. I just hope they're not too complicated (this whole technology thing? Not my thing). It seems like the tutorials provided on the CLAM (almost typed CLAN, oops) site will be really helpful, and our professor seems to have a sense of humor, so I'm pretty excited about that as well. 

Maybe one day I'll be able to make videos that are just as well done as the introductory ones that I've seen so far. But it'll be a matter of time, and I also kind of hate being in videos. Well, until then!