Art Matters

Obscura by LROD y Artistas

A short dance-film inspired by Frida Kahlo’s The Wounded Table. I am not only thinking about rituals, offrendas y mi Familia but also what is the camera’s (me essentially) relation to the people in the frame.  I wanted to produce vibrant color in juxtaposition with darkness or the feeling of darkness. Creating worlds where inter-generational populations are included as well in the dance canon. Adelante!

Made by LROD y Artistas
Music: “Death Bed” by Alex Somers (Liminal Remix)
(I do not own the rights)

Hero Project: GoPro + Community

Archive Date: April 30, 2018
Author:
lrodcollection0 Comments

“…everyone who loved sports and adventure wanted a GoPro, and from a niche brand, it moved to being a household name. With GoPro, anyone can be a star. In a context where everyone is self-obsessed and “selfie-obsessed” GoPro’s success was certain. Gopro BE A HERO. Their slogan, and their focus during their entire journey.” – Guilia Berardinetti

What does it mean to be a hero? Hero of what by definition? Why GoPros? What is a love ethic in regards to approach? What makes GoPros and community work important? What is humane about recording people in the community? In capturing care how do I ethically insert the technology and my presence? What is relevant? What is important?

I started out this semester in the deep pit of these questions. The questions were in surplus and I was unsure about how the work would unfold moving forward. I knew in the beginning that I wanted to work with a community and Champion Intergenerational Center, and the center was a great match to gain wide perspectives through the community of generations with the GoPro Technology. However, I was still missing the scholarly backing for this research for developing my approach and foundation. I felt a little lost and unsure at the beginning of this project.

and then…

Fred Rogers appeared 

While Mr. Rogers is most notoriously known for his popular TV show Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood, he was more quietly a revolutionary in the pioneering of humane technologies. In the video above we see a humble man make a clear argument for the well-being of children who are absorbing commercialized networking, violence, and inappropriate material through TV’s growing popularity. Mr. Rogers said, “Let’s not get so fascinated by what the technology can do that we forget what it can’t do.” With his argument, he is awarded 20 million for children’s programming that revolutionized young minds forever. The example that Mr. Rogers develops is that the technology can be used for the betterment of humanity and the social platform the TV uses to enhance a young person mind – is limitless. Suddenly I had a lineage to Humane Technology and a framework of care + wellbeing to support my research.

“It’s really easy to fall into the trap of believing that what we do is more
important than what we are. Of course, it’s the opposite that’s true: What
we ultimately determine what we do!” – Fred Rogers

Creative Knot Session

Taking the new information of Mr. Rogers I began to construct my Creative Knot Session for Research Studies. This knot is specifically for the workshop and gathers information that can help forward the research.

Who gets to be a hero was one of the first things I thought when looking through the GoPro webpage. Browse here. So what defines a hero? Merriam Webster records the definition of Hero by 4 main categories:

a: a mythological or legendary figure often of divine descent endowed with great strength or ability

b: an illustrious warrior

c: a person admired for achievements and noble qualities

d: one who shows great courage

(Definitions lifted from here)

I am fascinated by the roles that Hero takes on. We go from the extremes of Superman, Ironman, and Wonder Woman to the Doctor, Firefighter, and good samaritan. However, what about the unnoticed heroes that lurk outside of our traditional thinkings? I wanted to explore this in the Creative Knot and with Champion IG Center to recognize those who go unnoticed.

So, thinking ahead that I was going to be integrating myself into the Champion Intergenerational Center, I was thinking about how the guests would wear the technology and what perspectives were central to the end video compilation. Some questions that framed my Creative Knot:

What makes these people heroes compared to everyday heroes? 

What is relevant about filming the interactions of everyday heroes that exist daily vs. the radical interactions of athleticism?

What is it like to be a hero for a day and have your experience captured?

How do peacefulness and tenderness translate on film? What does tenderness look like in actions form?

Here is the first archive of footage (Research Studies peers featured) I gathered and framed by perspectives of movement I was cataloging:

When I think about this stage of research I am experiencing Bell Hooks All about Love reading where she says, “For example, revolutionary new technologies have led us all to accept computers. Our willingness to embrace this “unknown” shows that we are all capable of confronting fears of radical change, that we can cope.” Her words came with such power, I created a vivid response called a Love + Ethic Manifesto. I am drawn to the notion of change and the constant restructuring of how we operate as human beings through interactions and causes. I am searching for radical change step by step inside my own thinking structure and outside of my internal state.

Next came…

Building on Care + Well-being + Ethics

During this course, I read three books that have forever changed my thinking structure: Matters of Care by Maria Puig De La Bellacasa, All about Love by Bell Hooks, and Art of Relevance by Nina Simon. What does care mean? How do we care? What are the staples of caring movement? How are we ethically caring? How do we perform well-being? When using a GoPro what actions of care am I capturing?

Where do I begin? Maria Puig De La Bellacasa’s Matters of Care: Speculative Ethics in More Than Human Worlds. Bellacasa says, “Care is a human trouble, but this does not make of care a human only matter” (Bellacasa 2017, 2).  Bellacasa uses Toronto’s definition, “care about” vs. “care for” as a means to situate the dimensions of care into effect for aligning with the ethical and political questions that arise per this poignant matter. I realized I was not going to be able to fulfill this project by dropping in and recording with my GoPros. There was much more of myself that I would have to offer in order to understand this approach and community. I wanted to absorb the community, be present, be still with my observations and trusted the work would develop.

Some keys developments:

Being fully present

Actively Listening

Touch (assist a child or elderly navigate space)

Eye Contact

Engaging in a complete conversation, before changing focus.

Smiles and laughing.

Important Quotes:

“I believe relevance unlocks new ways to build deep connections with people who don’t immediately self-identify with our work” (Simon 2016, 23).

“The sooner we start focusing on becoming relevant to the people we most care about “and “Relevance is relative, and people are busy”, not only approaches the word “care” we were just analyzing, but references something other than yourself or desire (Simon 41-42).

“When we see love as a combination of trust, commitment, care, respect, knowledge, and responsibility, we can work on developing these qualities or, if they are already a part of who we are, we can learn to extend them to ourselves” (Hooks 2001, 54).

Champion Intergenerational Center

This part of my journey hits will full force and I still am unable to move past how deeply I am affected by the human beings in this community. I find myself drawn to the energy and goodness that seeps into the foundation of this center. The community is full of bright lights, old and young, energized, thoughtful, and ready to share at any moment.

Here is where I needed to approach with the Love Ethic Hooks suggests, “A love ethic presupposes that everyone has the right to be free, to live fully and well.” (Hooks 2001). How was I going to approach the room and environments I entered? I started by visiting and be apart of the Sign Language Intergenerational class. I made myself available for interactions and conversations. I did not introduce technology into space for a couple visits. Then when I introduced technology I wore the GoPros and did not live film. Making sure I was available for any interactions and questions the community of elders and children might have.

“To live our lives based on the principles of a love ethic (showing care, respect, knowledge, integrity, and the will to cooperate), we have to be courageous” (Hooks 101).

Over my time there the visits, interactions, ways of filming, and containers for footage has shifted drastically. Eventually, many different ages were wearing and capturing footage, Elizabeth Speidel the director was wearing the GoPros and interacting with the community, and I am set up to teach my session with the IG community around GoPro’s, Care, and love rituals. Thinking about the love ethics and love rituals that are primary in this experience, and really reflect the care that happens in this community. We will also bring in our superhero movements to give energy to the room and spark creativity.

When I think about this work I am currently reflecting on my traces and the artist mantras that I created along the way to support the daily intake of information. These tiny mantras have provided me the support when I am too tired, or unsure of what is next.

Artist Mantra

Don’t lose hope.

Do the work.

There is much to be done.

With Love…

Radicalize the space.

Listen actively.

Love accepts.

Challenge to think collectively.

Think more equality and equity.

Who are the love ethic heroes?

We are not alone.

Being an artist keeps me sane.

There is more to be done.

I am constantly rebelling – it’s ok.

Be free to do the work.

Being an artist defies reality.

I have permission to make what I want to make.

I am constantly changing.

Next & Final Phase:

I still have a session to this Wednesday with IG to deepen the footage and love ritual perspectives, and will have a compiled video of edited material by the end of the week that culminates my time there. This last video should run at 6-8 minutes in reality but my end target is 10 minutes.

Editing will be done through my final artistic perspective on the work framed by the community at Champion Intergenerational Center to celebrate their daily heroics and environment of care they share.

I am looking forward to sharing this footage with them, and seeing their reactions when they see themselves on the TV. The celebration of their daily, caregiving, experience, and community witnessed. I am excited to keep working on projects with them and to see where the next process takes us.

Many thanks to all those involved in this project. This research is made possible by Norah Zuniga-Shaw, Humane Technologies Fellowship, Elizabeth Speidel and Champion Intergeneration Center Community, and Research Studies peers.

 

Citation Station:

Bellacasa, María Puig de la. 2017. Matters of Care: Speculative Ethics in More Than Human Worlds. Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota Press.

hooks, bell. 2001. All about love: new visions. New York: Harper Perennial.

Simon, Nina. 2016. The art of relevance. Santa Cruz, CA: Museum 2.0

MASK MAKING

I usually get asked this question a lot: Why the masks?

Well, I started wearing the masks back in early 2014, I didn’t have the context than to the why but I had the feelings. Knowing now that Mestiza or Latinx peoples often struggle with hidden or fractured identities has led me into a deeper investigation of mask and alter-ego studies. Reading many great Latina/o scholarship has enhanced my understanding of the masking culture that is alive an well today in Mexico and the Borderlands. This vein of studies also operates as a creative and productive outlet for my work as an artist.

Back in 2014, I was drawn to omitting my identity and obscure the image of the body onstage. The mask work has added a layer of surrealism that I am researching from a feminist perspective and admire works from Frida Kahlo, Remedios Varo, and Dorthea Tanning. Masks in these studies stem from Luchador culture which came out of the Tejas Borderlands and is now a pop-culture Mexican staple, however, the use of masks is relevant in Dia De Los Muertos and other traditions.

Starting this semester with a Costume Practicum with Lindsay Simon for 6 hours a week was such an outlet for creativity and production, and gave me time to really understand this process of making masks.

To get started, Lindsay asked I create a storyboard and gather materials. I created an inspiration board (Pinterest) to gather ideas for the Lucha Libre, Animal designs, and LROD masks I was interested in producing. Since I had only made these masks by hand I was ready to produce a pattern so that I could easily make more on a sewing machine rather than hand-stitch. The goal was to experiment with many fabrics and styles to gain experience making the masks and practicing my sewing machine abilities. For the animal heads, what was the next level of design besides making, shaping, and coloring them? I was excited to find out.

Here are some previous masks I have made for my work:

Innominate Performance – LROD + Artists Dance Artists: Sierra Hendrix, Levi Ryan, Kince De Vera, Scotty Flores, Hannah Cavallaro, Becca Blackwell, Molly Levy Lighting: Meg Fox Photo: Devin Munoz

Innominate Performance – LROD + Artists Dance Artists: Sierra Hendrix, Levi Ryan, Kince De Vera, Scotty Flores, Hannah Cavallaro, Becca Blackwell, Molly Levy Lighting: Meg Fox Photo: Devin Munoz

Now the hardest part was figuring out how to pattern the mask, seeing how I had the one I made by hand and the Lucha ones from a previous work. We decided to deconstruct one and go from there. Lindsay and I decided to use my head as the main pattern and build adjustments in as we went.

What was surprising about this process was that every material used needed a different pattern to account for stretch or no-stretch. By the mid-way point of the semester, we had finally gotten the hang of different materials and patterns. Now, we were ready to start adding more details.

In reflection now going through this process, I realize what fabrics I most like to work with for the masks: poly-rayon-spandex blend, lace-mesh w/stretch, spandex, lycra, cotton, sequin mesh, cosplay vinyl w/ stretch. For decor and lace-up low-industrial vinyl ended up being the most suitable. I also used 1in elastic to secure the bottom and string for the lace-up models.

THE WORK

mask-1.jpg

Mask 1: “Homegrown”

The basic learning.

Mask 2: “Borderlands”

More Structure.

death.jpg

Mask 3: “Los Muertos”

New Pattern.

red-lace-mask.jpg

Mask 4: “Rupture”

Full mask design.

double-layer-mask.jpg

Mask 5:“Pesadilla”

Double layer mask.

Mask 6: Demo “Puebla”

First run on this design

before surging.

Mask 7: “Puebla”

Final project.

Mask 8: “Puebla”

Final Project.

puebla-mask-teal.jpg

Mask 9: “Puebla”

Final Project.

bunny-2.jpg

Mask 10: “Stag for Days” Design and stud work on the animal head. Final Project.

Mask 11: “Bunny in Bloom” Design and Stud work on the animal head. Final Project.

Mask 12: “The Revolt” Design and Stud work on the animal head. Final Project.

 

I noticed as the process went on the use of brighter colors started to emerge. I am drawn making more masks with color and expanding the masks to include some other materials such as wire, flowers, studs, gas masks, and more. I am also looking forward to making some more costume pieces for LROD + Artists to work with. While I am eager to go more extravagant I have to remind myself that they also need to be danceable and breathable during performances.

These creative outlets provide my research with necessary fieldwork and experience that aid my MFA thesis and artistic practice while connecting the multidisciplinary vein of research I identify with as a choreographer.

 Until next time – LROD.

Creative Knot: GoPro: Hero Project

Creative Sandbox:

  • Opening: We will arrive together.

  • I will deliver a short content re-cap of the project, questions, and an overview of our time together.

  • We will move through some specific instruction (tasks, love rituals, experiments) in pairs and groups to establish some groundwork.

  • Then we will move into a more creative, play, open space for curiosity and input.

  • Sharing feedback and ideas around using the GoPro through interactions.

  • Closing Ritual.

“…everyone who loved sports and adventure wanted a GoPro, and from a niche brand, it moved to being a household name. With GoPro, anyone can be a star. In a context where everyone is self-obsessed and “selfie-obsessed” GoPro’s success was certain. Gopro BE A HERO. Their slogan, and their focus during their entire journey.”(Berardinetti 2015, 32)

When we think of the self during this time of recurring narcissism we begin to see how disconnected we are from the community. This, of course, is not new and has come in waves in the past like during the 70s when our society experienced what is known as the “me generation” and once again as the world wide web has embedded our way of life with the millennial generations oversaturation of technology. While my research is not grounded in psychological studies of this content it is apart of the research to our current situation in a state of “glorified self-personas.” Leading me to curiosity about GoPro’s mission to BE A HERO or BE A STAR when these captures are the majority of individual experiences.

What I find interesting, is the need to capture the extremes of one’s life and showcase these events in a digital public space. I see how this is beneficial for humans who will not have an opportunity or lack the skill to do what some of the professionals do on these films, but seems disconnected to the being a hero of only one. Now don’t get me wrong some of these captures are breathtaking and beautiful, but this leaves me questioning the purpose behind “be a hero” or “be a star” in context to individuality and “selfism” vs. community and “other”.

  • Here watch this and think about what clip grabs your attention the most?

  • Hang on to your answer for Tuesday.

GoPro is a billion dollar company and was specifically designed for the athlete and adventure seekers to capture their extreme experiences. GoPro has since expanded to include different genre to capture that include, music, animals, nature, short films, and so on. This product was the innovation of the video camera and re-centered the person’s perspective into the film, while also providing selfie stick, Karma, or Drone to include everyone back into the picture. However, I am most interested in using the GoPro Hero model to capture community interactions around qualities of care, tenderness, peacefulness, and ethics. Mostly thinking about these questions:

What makes these people heroes compared to everyday heroes? 

What is relevant about filming the interactions of everyday heroes that exist daily vs. the radical interactions of athleticism?

What is it like to be a hero for a day and have your experience captured?

How do peacefulness and tenderness translate on film? What does tenderness look like in actions form?

Redirecting back to Mr. Rogers, I find that his method for approaching his television mission for finding “peacefulness” on the television was in the way he delivered his programming. In reading an article by Buczinsky he says, “We have come through the initial rush of constant information, the euphoria of video screen magic, and the tingle of social media connectivity, and on the other side, we have found its hollowness”(Buczinsky 11). Finding the relevance of wanting to connect back to the community, to be seen face to face, or to engage in human interaction is a goal that I believe serves this research under Norah Zuniga-Shaw’s Humane Technology Research. This project also incorporates the use and approach with technology to include tenderness Mr. Rogers provided its viewers.

I am interested in capturing community through interactions that need attention to be showcased and held to equal standards of the GoPro mission. I am also still debating how I will edit the film, cinematic or video art style since this requires some thoughts on how the approach is delivered, and the material is being captured. We will experiment with the headgear and harness straps for the GoPro since each provides different perspectives. I am interested in making art with the community – co-authorship.

Here are two videos to browse from GoPro for a Cause category, there are some interesting aspects to the perspectives used to capture different movements, children, and emotion:

https://gopro.com/channel/gopro-for-a-cause/gopro-cause-building-homes-for-children-in-africa

https://gopro.com/channel/gopro-for-a-cause/a-blind-man-and-his-armless-friend-plant-a-forest-in-china

****These films are professionally from GoPro and have use of all GoPro products in order to create along with documentary filming/production.

With Care. See you soon.

Humane Technology: Fred Rogers

Archive Date: January 20, 2018
Author:
lrodcollection1 Comment

When I was a child I so much enjoyed watching Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood. I found this show to be unique in its approach to different topics that my parents or other adults would shy away from at the time. Mr. Rogers provided a model for courage, bravery, and an approach to tough topics that gave me a great sense of joy, inclusion, and understanding. I also received an example of connection and comfort that arose from the content of this show. I do also know I am about to connect yet another white male figure to the cannon of intermedia studies, however, this is relevant to the Hero Project I am working on with the Champion Intergenerational Center.

According to Hedda Sharapan, one of the main consultants for the Fred Rogers Communications philosophy recalls,

“Fred felt strongly that “screens” should not be used as a substitute for human communication. He originally named our production company Family Communications, because his goal was to create experiences that parents and children would watch together and talk about. He firmly believed the best technology connects children with others and the world around them in positive ways.”

In an age where Mr. Roger’s philosophy seems to fade away, I recall this episode from Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood examining technology, connection, and learning, please click here. There is currently no getting away from the fact that the digital space is impeding on the analog spaces, and any source for course correction has long past. Mr. Rogers said, “Let’s not get so fascinated by what the technology can do that we forget what it can’t do.” I think the fascination has overtaken our lives and we are slowly forgetting its limitations. This situation is the one I am consumed with at the moment. How can we not forget about love, empathy, joy, relevance, and human connection and interaction? It can be hard to recognize the work that is being done in the realms of technology, film, and TV that address these concerns.

While I connect with my own experience watching Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood I am also looking at my own children’s consumption and reliance on the screen. I am constantly struggling with the relationship my children have with screens. Noting that this applies to my own struggle I have with disconnecting. I feel like I am constantly trying to find time to enjoy communication and interact by installing no screens at dinnertime, timed interactions, reading a book time, and blackout weekends. However, with all these new provisions to safeguard a child’s learning, I still find a struggle as society becomes more and more embedded through the screen. Here are some recent stats on daily intake. Also see here. 

Is this how it is going to be? Is the humane approach now to find ways to disconnect from the screen and reconnect with the body, environment, and people around us? Or is the humane way to provide content that enhances the connections in the digital space? Maybe it is both at this point.

Considering how TV and screen time can be humane, I glance over at the film industry statistics, which currently claims globally 41.2 billion dollars in 2017. My Humane technology project under Norah Zuniga Shaw’s research is in film and animation, so the impact of the rising power of film interests me. Check out some of the film industries projected numbers here. These numbers raise concern that our relationship towards film is constantly growing in popularity, and the rise of Disney/Pixar and Dreamworks films’ continue to be powerhouses in children’s content. Does the content of the films allow us a moment to escape our lives by providing us with 2-3 hours of visual entertainment? Or the chance to engage in other worlds, human interactions, different experiences, and problem solve? Is this considered humane?

I guess it all comes down to the content provided. I recently reflect on watching the Pixar movie COCO, I consider this experience of witnessing my own culture and family dynamics represented with care, so powerfully on a screen – to be humane. To see for once on the big screen in animation a clear representation of what it means to be Latina/o had a profound impact on me – one I will not forget. Yes, this movie also spoke to my inner child and my obsession surrounding death culture. More on that later.

While these thoughts are just some of the sensibilities I am forming around my project -there is much more to consider. The Champion Intergenerational Center I will be working with provides the opportunity for older and younger people to interact around well-being together.  Some of my growing questions at the moment include: What content needs to be seen? What are the representations I can provide with care? How is my approach considering love and empathy through film?

In 1969 Mr. Rogers made claim and was awarded 20 million to provide a platform of care to children with a television show via the public access network. This show was revolutionary for its time and has been an inspiration for showing the way to deliver content with care. Watch Mr. Rogers give his testimony…

The video above continues to move and inspire me. Not only with Mr. Roger’s ability to provide a sound argument but with the care and approach to his material. Mr. Rogers was able to transform public television and strategically provide an alternative for growing young minds. I think there is much to learn from Mr. Roger’s in the delivery of care and well-being.

Mr. Rogers, you were a pioneer and innovator in the humane technology field.

The Internal | Connecting | Creative Process

Date: October 26, 2017

Two levels in Creative process v.210

Mapping out a creative process to connect two parts of my research resonating with Inside the room and Outside the room branches. Inside the room’s design is led by the Experiment thread, while Outside the room reflects the Research thread. I was compiling this information from a word bank created in Grad Composition class with Professor Susan Van Pelt Petry and peers. We then each took the word bank and made a visual map of our own individual creative process.

For my own challenge, I only used each word one time and practiced this assignment utilizing a present moment embodiment. Meaning, I only allowed myself one piece of paper with no option to have a do-over. Utilizing this assignment as a challenge I was aware of my devising boundaries. This project created a meditative space for me to sit with my pen to the paper, and process my process. Which usually feels meta, however, this project was calming while being informative. Most of my reflections have happened through a stream of consciousness or analytical essay, so it felt good to move towards a tangible medium to flush out information.

Further noting the attention and weight of each word resonating within my body and I continue to let these words reconfigure inside my body. A digital roadway on the frontier of inter-connectivity pulsing, sparking and transferring connections that re-wires and retracts information before surging it back out again.

The system is operating. 

I recognize these maps are abundant within my body, mind and are the containers to hold, organize, connect information used to make co-creative spaces. They are roadways of information. Living knowledge intrigues me as I delve into the internal self of producing art. Maybe the cyborg self is emerging underneath the surface below my skin and responds to the familiarity of the motherboard. While the image below relates to this emerging, I examine the depths and intricacies that are possible in overriding.

Cyborg Self Reflection | Awakening

In trying to navigate my own cyborg self-relationship I am drawn to this quote by Donna Haraway a professor, consciousness, and feminist scholar, “Cyborg writing is about the power to survive, not on the basis of original innocence, but on the basis of seizing the tools to mark the world that marked them as other” (Haraway 2016, 55). My journey over the past five years has sent me plunging into words, writing, and language – preparing me for my conversations, arguments, and discourse today. Sometimes my consciousness rejects my impulse to respond, and my unconsciousness delivers connectors to reconnect broken bridges of thought. Tracing the map above throughout my creative process enables me to redirect how I am thinking, feeling, and exploring the material.

Responding to a recent visit by Vida Midgelow who presented at the DSA inaugural Scholarly Conference and is a Professor in Dance and Choreographic Studies at Middlesex University London says, “Coming into language is a significant process through which experiential, material and emergent forms of knowledge can be foregrounded, processed and shared” (Midgelow 1994). Previously, I rarely spoke my stance or dared to share the perspectives that ran rampant in my mind.

The information comes to me as this digital space allows me to write about these developing curiosities that are awakening. Identifying as an “other,” I do claim the tools to unearth my potential as a choreographic researcher, scholar, and free-thinker to engage in practices that move humanity towards change. Structures, rules, and traditions can be broken and reconfigured to make manifest new ways of operating that enhance artistic ability, connect technology and humanity, and revolutionize the central core of art making.

Free Motherboard Vector Art

The above image is how I imagine the framework for my discourse of choreographic research operating. The motherboard vector art is part – object – abstract – micro-processing –  unit –  internet integrated – modern – binary that projects future technological advances – or human.

 

Works Cited

Haraway, Donna J. and Cary Wolfe. 2016. Manifestly Haraway. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press. https://muse.jhu.edu/ (accessed October 25, 2017).

Midgelow, Vida. and Jane Bacon. 2014. “Creative Articulation Practice (CAP).”                                      Forthcoming in Choreographic Practices. 5[2]                                                                                  https://www.academia.edu/9956868/Creative_Articulations_Process_CAP_  (accessed October 25, 2017)