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The Finger Lakes Environmental Film Festival from the interns' point of view
Wednesday, April 3, 2013
Blog post written by Shawn Steiner, Film, Photography, and Visual Arts '13, FLEFF Intern, Elkridge, MD
FLEFF is in full swing! And right now Evan Meaney, assistant professor of transmedia design at the University of Tenessee, and Elizabeth Miller, are setting up in Park Center Business School room 111 for their Transmedia Workshop.
Everyone is looking good and just this second something has poppe up on the projector. Stay tuned for updates!
TRANSMEDIA WORKSHOP: EVAN MEANEY
"If you are a hammer than every problem starts looking like a nail."
What happened was people started dabbling "beyond and through" different medias in order to solve different problems in different ways.
Mainly, the key is that if you are one person, but secretly another person, you can be both!
And after "the brief history of Evan Meaney" we are delving into the meat of the workshop.
QUESTION: What is your definition of transmedia?
"In the pursuit of being pure, I think about voids."
Pure is not in the ordinary sense, but in being clear. A void.
What are voids? They are null_sets.
Which leads into his project "Null_Sets" where he and a partner worked to produce software that converts data into jpeg images. Converting this data into an image removes the context from the information.
It is basically like making anything a "jpeg sandwich." Anything from Moby Dick to tweets to the entire human genome.
"It is really ordered chaos."
Data vs. Information
Data is made up of all the core items that make up something. What that something is displayed as is an interpretation of data as information.
For example, if you buy groceries, turnips, onions, etc... That is the data. When you make the soup later on, the soup is the interpretation of the data as information. But, what kind of soup you make from those ingredient can change drastically depending on how you desire your food. The data can be interpreted in many ways to create innumerable interpretations.
"I'm a terrible artist. Science is where it is at."
Think about it, scientists came up with a way to display images from nothing. Meaney says that this is incredible. They are the "Olympic-level geniuses."
And right now, Null_Sets source code and tool kit has been posted to the website and is available to all because "[t]hings are better when they are free."
This is a project that includes high-level coding, gallery presentations, and a participatory website. It requires you to learn a plethora of disciplines in order to ask questions that are revolutionary.
QUESTION: What are you studying? And what else are you interested in? Show your many disciplines.
"Never turn down learning stuff."
Monday, February 25, 2013
Blog post written by Kristen Tomkowid, Journalism '15, FLEFF Blogger, Poughkeepsie, New York.
A few days ago, I had the privilege of talking with Ithaca College Associate TVR Professor and film maker John Scott. We talked about his involvement in FLEFF, both past and present.
Some background on John: He received his BFA in Film Production from Concordia University in 1990, his BA in Honors English from Dalhouse Universtiy in 1992 and his MFA in Film and Video Production from The University of Iowa in 1999. He has directed over a dozen independent documentary projects and one feature-length documentary called The Scouts Are Cancelled. Some of John's more recent work will be shown at the upcoming FLEFF Kick-Off on March 3rd. Below is a glimpse of our conversation together:
Kristen Tomkowid: How did you get involved with FLEFF?
John Scott: I had a feature length documentary shown in FLEFF in 2008 and a short film in Upstate Shorts last year, but I've been going to FLEFF for years.
KT: What are you showing at the FLEFF Preview this year?
JS: One is a repeat of the short shown last year, One Art, which is part of a series of shorts based on Elizabeth Bishop poems. The other screening is of Notes on Liberty, a full length film made with his wife, Karen Rodriguez, in 2009, about a boys trip to the Statue of Liberty and how that contrasts the current immigration issues. I was always ambivalent to the Statue due to problems with immigration. I decided to make the movie because, for my son's fifth birthday, he wanted to go the Statue and I was divided about the trip. It has toured all over the world.
KT: Have you looked at this year's line-up of films?
JS: I haven't really looked at it, yet, but I am going to try to see 5 Broken Cameras.
John's looking forward to see Emad Burnat's documentary. What are you looking forawrd to see at the festival?
Friday, February 8, 2013
Blog posting written by Kimberly Capehart, Documentary Studies and Production ’16, FLEFF Blogger, Cherry Hill, New Jersey
A series of controversial billboards recently caught the attention of passerbys in Syracuse, New York.
A part of FLEFF’s Distributed Microtopias Exhibition, Art is Atrocity is the latest project from upstate digital artist Samantha Raut. The project uses satire to focus on the issue of fine arts programs being cut from the Syracuse school system due to recent budget cuts.
Raut utilized billboards around the city to capture the attention of everyday people. Each bland, white billboard states “Art is Atrocity” in a standard serif font, followed by a link to the project’s website.
Upon visiting this website, users find themselves on a homepage that reminds me of the good ol’ Windows 97 days. Through exploration of the drab, archaic-looking site users can read all about director (and Samantha Raut's alias) Samuel Ruta's mission to inform the people of Syracuse about the need to remove fine art education from the local school system. Or at least it seems that way.
Guised by it’s satirical web design, the site actually provides a link to a page that reveals the truth behind the project. The aesthetics of the project, from the billboards to the website are purposely "horrendous" as Raut puts it, in order to "get people thinking about how valuable art and music is to us as a whole."
I'm a big fan of Raut's ironic usage of crude aesthetics in the project, and I think it serves well as an attention grabber and a conversation starter. Judging by the "responses" page of the website, the project has definitely sparked many responses from both angry art education-supporters who misunderstood the project as well as praise from those who understood and appreciated Raut's unique approach to presenting the issue.
Check back soon for coverage of my interview with the artist herself! Have you or anyone you know seen any of the project's billboards?
Friday, February 8, 2013
Blog post written by Kristen Tomkowid, Journalism '15, FLEFF Intern, Poughkeepsie, NY.
Arab Spring was big news the past two years, but we have been hearing less and less about it recently. I interviewed artist Ali Kadhum about his work on the subject for the Distributed Microtopias exhibit
Kadhum created the video Under the Microscope as a response to the suppression and inhibitions the Arab world went through and is still going through. As an Iraqi citizen, Kadhum was a part of this world and because of this he saw the reason behind the uprising.
Kristen Tomkowid: Are you happy with the result of Under the Microscope?
Ali Kadhum: I am very satisfied with the result.
KT: Do you think you will do more to further the project? Like creating a series?
AK: Yes, there is a lot of work about this theme in my exhibition that includes a seven part series of video art and experimental works that have been produced by an organization. Now, it depends on whether there are other organizations which can fund the project.
KT: Are you working on anything new?
AK: Right now there is an experimental film about the American invasion of Iraq. It is a series of work which includes Iraq after war.
"As human beings we are trapped in a grid, drawn by political and social events."-Kadhum's webpage
What are your thoughts on Arab Spring and our invasion of Iraq? Leave a comment with your thoughts!
Tuesday, January 29, 2013
Blog posting written by Dorothea Hinman, Cinema and Photography, '15, FLEFF Intern, Rochester, New York.
Art, in all its forms, is movement. I dare you to come up with one form of art that does not encompass movement.
A hand needs to drag the paintbrush across the canvas. A singer needs her vocal cords to vibrate in order to create a melody. A movie needs a projector to crank the 35mm film fast enough to transform still images to a "moving" picture. A ballet dancer needs all his muscles to engage in tandem in order to soar gracefully through the air.
Art is movement.
It may never be clear what exactly I will do in my life. What I am moving toward. But one thing was always certain: art would be involved. Whether this be through FLEFF, which has given me a step forward in my professional path; whether it be the world wide influences such as the Fulbright scholars from Africa and Sarah Dupont with Amazon Gold that will be present at this year's festival, or whether it be the conversations I will hopefully be lucky enough to engage in with people like Kevin Lee from dGenerate films, movement will always continue be a part of my life. Just as art will always continue to be a part of my life.
What art form of movement do you engage in?
Wednesday, February 22, 2012
Blog posting written by Chloe Wilson, Television-Radio ’14, FLEFF Intern, Ashland, Massachusetts.
So I'm going to liveblog a FLEFF session that is for the interns, but I figured all you interested FLEFFers will get a kick out of this info too. This session is focused on The Concert for Microtopias and is hosted by two of the musicians performing in the concert.
6:58 PM- Patty Zimmerman (FLEFF Festival Coordinator and Ithaca College professor) is introducing "The Concert for Microtopias" and it sounds fantastic! Turns out we're using the Whelan School of Music for a concert location.
6:59 PM- Ann and Phil get a shout-out from Patty! #Awesome
7:01 PM- The actresses involved in the performance are loving the microtopia theme! The concert has been commissioned by FLEFF and is free!
7:07 PM- Brad has the floor! (He loves FLEFF because he gets to pick what he sings.)
7:09 PM- Debbie says that she loves working with dead people (musicians, I hope/am pretty sure of). Debbie shares a story about a man and his fabric collection (and Brad bought the guy's house and it's full of fabric) and his fabric room.
7:11 PM- Debbie: "We thought we'd start off my choosing some of our favorite things to play. Different things that make you happy or inspired or feeling feelings at the most extreme levels. That's what you'll find here. You'll find everything from different countries to different takes on spiritual things to ethnic things. Old, old-old music, new music, it's really a lot of different things."
7:14 PM- Debbie made us stand up and clap/dance along to music! It was hard to liveblog...
7:15 PM- Brad is playing us a German song with lyrics from a sacred text. As somebody who has sung in German, it's really hard! Gotta give the singer props.
7:16 PM- Recording isn't working... bummer.
7:17 PM- FLEFF Team Leader springs into action! She saves the day!
7:18 PM- Discovering a love for German opera right now.
7:20 PM- The title of the song (when translated) is "I Have Enough," as it "I have enough knowing that I'll go to heaven." What a great aria! (Guess my older brother's interest in Gilbert and Sullivan is rubbing off on me! Even though this particular opera is from Bach...)
7:21 PM- Brad gets to sing this piece? He mus be so excited! (He is. He also just said so.)
7:24 PM- Debbie is playing the piano for us. It's such a soft melody. Makes me wish I was that talented...
7:27 PM- Brad is playing a recording of the piece that Debbie just played. The soprano is amazing and its such a soft lullaby!
7:30 PM- This soft opera lullaby is going to be followed up by Maurice Ravel's "Pavane pour une infante defunte." I recognize this! (I used to study at the New England Conservatory. It was all music all the time!)
7:34 PM- Debbie says that the challenge will be to take these orchestral pieces and adapt them fully to piano. It's going to be hard to adapt harp for two pianos!
7:35 PM- Next on the program?! "Wade in the Water!!!!" I'm so excited! I performed to this in high school and am obsessed with this song.
7:36 PM- Listening to Big Mama Thornton's cover!
7:38 PM- I always get chills listening to this song! This cover is by the African American Choral Ensemble. Loving the alto line in this!
7:40 PM- Brad says that microtopias occur all over the IC campus... when professors teach in their classroom, in organizations, etc.
7:42 PM- From Debbie: The word "tarantella" comes from "tarantula." Ew...
7:43 PM- Listening to "Anytime" by William Finn.
7:45 PM- Somebody is asking a great question about how to collaborate over long distances! Brad is saying that they owe a lot to Patty and that she helps bring everyone together.
7:47 PM- Debbie is going to Berlin to practice with her fellow pianist! I'm jealous, it's such a beautiful city and there's so much history.
7:50 PM- Debbie: "If you really sit and think about it... these small moments of every aspect of who we are and what we are and it's fragmented and yet it can come together... That's what we're aiming for. This should be a new experience! Something that you don't do all the time."
7:51 PM- Brad: "I feel that FLEFF has opened my boundaries greatly... Just knowing that this is Ithaca, it's a really tremendous and wonderful safe place where you can expand yourself as an artist."
7:52 PM- Brad: "I love music and I love pushing the limit. I love having the music speak to people."
7:55 PM- Art Jones is the VJ for the concert! According to Patty, he has never worked with classical musicians. This will be a cool experience for everyone!
8:00 PM- Brad: "It's interesting to wonder what brings people to the concert. I think it's great that people are there because of music and their appreciation and love of music. I think that having a response is also really important. Not applause at the end, it's about the sense of something being given and something being received."
8:03 PM- And that's a wrap! Brava! Thank you! Encore! Many other words to express the thanks of the FLEFF interns.
What music would you want to hear at a FLEFF concert? What if it could be anything (Britney Spears, Sutton Foster, Jarhand... literally, anyone!)? Sound off below!
Thursday, February 16, 2012
Blog posting written by Chloe Wilson, Television-Radio ’14, FLEFF Intern, Ashland, Massachusetts.
What's up, FLEFFers?
FLEFF 2012 is still a ways away, but last Sunday (unofficially) kicked things off with a screening of OKA!. We had a full house and a great talkback with the director, Lavinia Currier. Not only was it awesome to hear about the true story behind the film, but learning about the global issues the film shows was a great experience.
Us interns, meanwhile, have been busy learning about and planning FLEFF events! I caught up with Gautam Singhani, Team Leader, and asked him about his FLEFF experiences and why he chose to work at FLEFF 2012.
Chloe Wilson: So you were a FLEFF 2011 intern. Why did you choose to be a FLEFF 2012 Team Leader?
Gautam Singhani: Last year, I had a suberb time helping organize the film festival and publicizing events as a FLEFF intern. I felt that there was much more that could be done to enrich the film festival experience, which is what drove me to apply as a Team Leader. I have many ideas on how to promote FLEFF, and I hope to implement them in order to help the festival grow.
CW: What was one of your more memorable experiences from FLEFF 2011?
GS: Meeting with the directors of some of the films last year was really valuable. I was able to interact, ask questions, and hold very intellectual conversations with them. I learned a lot about film making, but I was also able to network by simply holding conversations and listening to [the directors'] ideas and opinions.
CW: Do you have any cool stories from FLEFF 2011?
GS: Last year, I worked mainly as a projectionist. While striking equipment and packing up gear after an event, I got to interact with some of the performers and directors. I always found what they had to say about their own performances or films interesting. But what I really enjoyed was being asked to escort the directors and performers to nightclubs after their performances. There's no better sight than to see directors rocking it out on the dance floor!
CW: Are there any new changes that are coming to FLEFF 2012 that FLEFFers should look out for?
GS: FLEFF interns will be creating a huge recyclable art installation* on the Ithaca College campus to publicize FLEFF's theme this year- microtopias. We have also modified our advertising strategy to attract a larger audience and set ourselves apart from other film festivals.
CW: Any advice for 2012 FLEFFers?
GS: Get involved with ALL of the events that take place and actively participate in discussions after panels and screenings. Everyone can gain valuable information by interacting with directors and by asking questions during the event. (I also highly recommend interns to stay after events and observe, if not help the directors and performers after events. That interaction can help develop something further.)
And that's one of this year's FLEFF team leaders! Do you have anybody you want to hear from, FLEFFers? Sound off below!
*Our art installation won't look like these pieces... but seriously how cool are these?! It's amazing what you can do with recyclable materials!