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.