Here are a couple screenshots taken from my upcoming piece, ODI et AMO, a music video/karaoke performance piece I am working on as the final project for my Visual Music and Animals class. JC Cassis will be doing some vocals for the piece, and she’ll be coming over later today to rehearse and record her parts.
I will be presenting the piece for my Animals class next Tuesday, and then to the general public at Issue Project Room on April 28, at 8 pm.
You will take your “Animal Object” character, and flip the script by investigating the subjective point of view of the animal you chose.
What is it like being inside this animal? What is its view point? How does it see– or experience –its environment? What – or how – is he/she reacting to the events surrounding him/her? How do those events appear, in terms of scale, form, size, sharpness, color, time?
Drawing on the writings of Üexkull (the idea of umwelt), and the readings on research into animal minds, and / or projected first-person narration (Haskell’s short story, Coe’s “Pitt’s Letter”), you may chose to be anthropomorphic, or you may NOT be, as you see fit.
The purpose of this assignment, coupled with the last one, is to explore how character is made from different points of view, and how your crafting of that character expresses your point of view.
During our in-class crit, some people thought that the piece was two opaque, that I needed to move the titles to the front of the video, or in someway make it more explicit that the piece is about an elephant. I’m still not sure how I feel about that. I would definitely consider moving the “Ruby’s Song” titles to the beginning of the video, but I would also have to restructure the audio portion so everything still synchs up correctly. My goal was to really get into Ruby’s head and create something based on established elephantine means of expression. Even if wild elephants don’t paint and make music, they are ways in which elephants in captivity can “express themselves,” whatever that means, I still don’t know, so I’ll leave it up to interpretation.
Update: After getting some critique in class today, I remixed the audio to make the improve the balance in levels between the narration and musical elements and to bring out some important keywords in the narration. The MP3 player and download links below now feature the new, improved version of my experimental audio documentary.
The original post below:
For my audio portrait of Ruby the Elephant, I sought to “paint” a portrait through sound in the same way Ruby painted her paintings with a brush and paint–using bold brushstrokes and vivid colors; abstract, yet struggling to communicate something deeper that cannot be easily expressed. I cut up the narrative structure of Ruby’s backstory, interspersed it the Ruby Baby track, along with my interpretation of what it would have sounded like when Ruby played the xylophone. Thus, cutting, pasting, and rearranging are my parallel techniques to Ruby’s paint splatters. I wanted to honor Ruby by making my portrait of her to sound like how her paintings look.