About this blog
The Finger Lakes Environmental Film Festival from the interns' point of view
Friday, April 5, 2013
Blog posting written by Shawn Steiner '13 & Andrew Ronald '15, Film, Photography, and Visual Arts, FLEFF Interns
New media and an experimental filmmaker? Be prepared for some very unique and inspired thoughts during this next hour of FLEFF Lab Friday. Make sure to stop by Park 220 sometime today as it will always have something exciting going on.
A very good start to the conversation. Everyone is introducing themselves and seeing the variety of interests in the room.
Evan Meaney talks about transmedia and how his method is to destroy everything. He takes apart files and then tries to create something new from the pieces.
QUESTION: What is it to live in a world where media is decaying?
Mansoor Behnam discusses his obsession with images and how the ideals of mystical Persian literature has led him to produce his experimental films. He is experiementing with the idea of god with the help of digital media and technology.
SCREENING: "When You Are Blind" (2001) Short Film By Mansoor Behnam (video embedded below)
"It's the burden of representation."
Mansoor believes that in order to experience the non-representational one must embrace the experimental format. It is necessary to represent the invisible and create mystical work through a lot of abstract effort and imagery.
One major goal of his projects are to bring "new and hidden truth to a body of knowledge."
Another point is that collaboration can bring out new heights and thoughts in each work.
The issues of suppression and public viewpoints are a serious consideration to talk about and unfortunately we need to give some time to Evan Meaney so find Mansoor and ask him questions!
"Art-math high five?"
Evan takes a stab at explaining Null_Sets. It basically is a way of converting text into images, similar to the method of a QR code. And theoretically if you have a camera with a high enough fidelity you could translate these images back into their original data.
QUESTION: "At what point does noise become useful data?"
Now, you can even download the Null_Sets toolkit right here.
QUESTION: How do these works connect?
Mansoor sees it in the images that come out of new media attributed to the presence of the infinity. Also, if anyone has seen Middle Eastern rugs, many people have seen a connection to telling stories through patterns in these carpets to the visuality of the Null_Sets jpegs.
Evan discusses compression and how if something becomes so compressed it becomes something unreadable and unreachable. We don't have access to it. "It becomes invisible." Which is what Mansoor attempts to describe in his work.
Fortunately, a lot of their work is available online. So go watch it, use it, download it and let us know what connections you find.
Wednesday, April 3, 2013
Blog post written by Shawn Steiner, Film, Photography, and Visual Arts '13, FLEFF Intern, Elkridge, MD
Elizabeth Miller has begun her presentation so there is still time to get here if you can! We are in The Park Center for Business room 111.
TRANSMEDIA WORKSHOP: ELIZABETH MILLER
"The beauty of transmedia is that both of us can present at the same workshop and show drastically different things."
"Stories are at the core of understanding people."
SCREENING: Mapping Memories
This is a participatory transmedia project Miller worked on in which youths of Montreal were able to tell their stories on their terms. It is important to understand that transmedia is more than a digital environment.
Miller does a lot of her work in a documentary setting, but that hasn't stopped these projects from evolving into multiple forms across mediums. And, after watching a couple clips from some projects I am getting more excited for On the Waterfront screening at Cinemapolis tomorrow night.
"People protect people from violence."
Transmedia projects and the idea of using media to bring information to the public is necessary to helping society. Educating the public is a way to change the world.
And, as a plus, this movement between and through medias is a "mobility."
Issues of Privacy and Protection
The key is working in a group with people with similar stories. A safe environment is where it starts. But, the purpose of these stories is to create a shift in thought.
Evan: You can't outrun it. Instead of fighting it you have to get right in front of it. Accept you don't have privacy and work in that realm.
Miller: The huge thing in transmedia is public vs. private.
Evan: "Facebook me is better than me." Facebook opens you up to the public sphere in a way in which you cannot recover from.
Elizabeth Miller is a huge supporter of web documentaries. It allows people to access the databases of information available and travel through it in their own way. And while it is still evolving we don't know what will happen next.
"We are still seeing such a large range. It is a question that is up to you to answer."
QUESTION: Where do you see transmedia evolving?
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."
Sunday, February 10, 2013
Blog posting written by Shea Lynch Documentary Studies and Production ’13, FLEFF Blogger, Glens Falls, New York
Co-curator of the Distributed Microtopias Exhibition, Professor Dale Hudson has been working extensively with FLEFF since 2007, translating each season’s theme into a cohesive body of work. Partnered with Sharon Lin Tay, the duo has worked with artists from all over the world.
“In some ways, this year's exhibit responds to the techno-utopianism or cyber-utopianism of the the mid-1990s that imagined the internet as a democratic space where information and knowledge could be distributed equitably to everyone without being utterly naive or indifferent to the built-in controls of these technologies and platforms,” said Hudson.
The Distributed Microtopias Exhibit is a learning and sharing experience for the artists and the curators. This season will be an unusual one as artist Rico Aditjondro selected Null_Sets, a collaborative piece with an Ithaca alum, Evan Meaney.
It is often challenging, said Hudson, tackling key concepts for each piece and presenting them in this “transcultural space.”
“Each piece in the exhibition can be experienced individually, but the exhibition works even better as a whole. Many of the pieces address similar concerns from different perspectives,” said Hudson.
Hudson also utilizes the Dérive app in exploring his own environmental spaces at the New York University of Abu Dhabi, where he teaches film and new media studies, and connecting it to the theme of FLEFF.
“Connected to FLEFF's theme, the Dérive app facilitates research into the mobilities of urban planning that shape our experience of everyday life. Many of the concepts behind the design of the city were derived from British colonial ideas of space transmitted through and refashioned by postcolonial Egyptian ideas of space,” said Hudson.
Thursday, February 7, 2013
Blog posting written by Erica Moriarty, Documentary Studies and Production '16, FLEFF Intern, Houston, Texas
Just by opening a laptop, we are presented data with the goal of processing that data into information. But what happens in between during that process?
More importantly, what gets lost?
Null_Sets looks at the gap between data and information. The data is represented in the computer, or the quantities. The information is the more human aspect – how we interpret data.
Alongside Evan Meaney, Amy Szczepanski took on a new project to explore this gap between data and information. As Shawn explained in the previous part, Null_Sets takes a text as data and turns it into a jpeg image file. The project is a new form of art that puts large-scale data through an aesthetic lens. However, computer coding is the backbone behind this project.
Essentially, the team takes the 0s and 1s that is data to computers and translates it as the image instead of the text. According to the project’s website, you can see Hamlet as a jpeg and find meaning with the literature’s computer code. One could say the pictures look at how we interpret what the computer does.
However, looking at the image does not solve the question Shawn posed. Instead, new questions arise. When the computer translates the data, does it become information? Or is information only valid when we interpret it?
What do you think? When does your data truly become information?
Wednesday, February 6, 2013
Blog posting written by Shawn Steiner, Film, Photography, and Visual Arts '13, FLEFF Intern, Elkridge, MD
Imagine that before you leave for work your roommate says that he/she is going to make soup for dinner. You get excited wondering what kind and mentally prepare yourself for the meal. But, when you arrive at home you find a series of bowls on the counter. One has broth, one has chicken, one has noodles, etc…
That’s not soup. That’s data.
Now, because you are starving you elect to just compile the ingredients yourself. Now you are looking at a nice, steaming bowl of chicken noodle soup. That’s information.
Evan Meaney and Amy Szczepanski with their project Null_Sets took on the idea of data versus information. What is what? And is it really?
So, if we look at this analogy of data and information and look at Null_Sets we can make some comparisons.
The project takes the text as data and converts it into a jpeg image file. Simple enough concept. The text must be data and the image is the information.
Wait. The original text is a book. Isn’t that information? It takes words and creates meaning with them. It seems to be both.
Now, the jpeg image must still be information, right?
But what if you could re-process the image and convert it back into the original text document? Wouldn’t that make it data?
It seems that data and information are very difficult terms to use properly. It also seems very situational.
But, another question is what is the original data?
Is it the 26 letters that make up the alphabet? So wouldn’t everything written be a derivative of that data. So everything isn’t quite as original as we thought.
Is everything a copy? Is everything data? Is everything information?
What do you think?
Stay tuned for Part 2, written by fellow blogger Erica Moriarty.
Tuesday, February 5, 2013
Blog posting written by Shawn Steiner, Film, Photography, and Visual Arts ’13, FLEFF Intern, Elkridge, MD
I’m not the only person coming back to FLEFF this year!
Evan Meaney is a professor of transmedia design at the University of Tennessee. And, he is both an Ithaca College graduate and FLEFF alum. He will be returning this year due to his involvement with Null_Sets, winner of the Distributed Microtopias jury prize.
First, what is transmedia?
Meaney described transmedia as the communication of ideas through different forms. It has a lot to do with everything. It includes the science behind the work, the math in the program, and anything else that may be involved.
An interesting definition. Now, what is the big deal with Null_Sets?
He said that people are obsessed with ordered sets. Which makes sense, we like being able to understand information. But, this takes that data and converts it over to a new form (this time a jpeg image file). Now, we can look at and compare two things in a new way. Or we can simply look at the image created by a text file of Moby Dick and be intrigued with how pink is turned out.
And being familiar with the idea of FLEFF themes, Meaney has his own take on Mobilities.
Meaney was immediately reminded that there are so many systems in place to keep people from moving.
What immobilities can you think of?
Update: Profile: Amy Szczepanski written by Erica Moriarty. Stay tuned for a joint post on Null_Sets.
Wednesday, February 23, 2011
Blog posting written by Matthew Reis, Cinema and Photography, '13, FLEFF Intern
Hello FLEFF sponsors, participants and guests. My name is Matthew R. Reis. I want to welcome you to the “Intern Voices” blog.
So, a little bit about me: I am a sophomore Cinema & Photography major with a minor in Art History. I write for “The Ithacan,” Ithaca College’s award winning newspaper. I specialize in reviewing films, art installations, and previewing upcoming plays. I also am involved with Ithaca College Television and the Art History Society here on campus. When I am not working with groups on campus, I enjoy promoting media literacy, following current events, reading, and playing video games on campus.
Getting off campus is even better.
There are some things I really enjoy doing in town. I love going to the movies. Ithaca has a large amount of movie theaters existing in a relatively small area. Cinemapolis the home of FLEFF, Cornell Cinema and Regal Cinemas are all great places to go and enjoy film.
Here are a few more things I like about Ithaca: its acceptance of alternative lifestyles, the wealth of community owned businesses, and an vibrant, engaging art scene.
So why did I want to work with FLEFF?
I find that all forms of media have the potential to be more than just commodities a person rents or buys. Media is transformative and can bring small issues to the forefront of today’s complex world.
So the simple answer is this: I became an intern to prove that media can change lives. Additionally, being a part of FLEFF is an exciting experience. So many people from all walks of life, in places all around the world, are effected by what takes place at FLEFF.
I am honored and proud to be a small part of this festival's continued growth and success.
When I applied to be a FLEFF intern, I had two goals: to learn more about the nuts-and-bolts of the film industry and to network.
I met both of these goals in just over a month--and discovered new goals to strive for.
The vast array of networking opportunities available to interns is another substantial perk of FLEFF. So far, I have met and talked to a variety of artists, including documentary filmmaker Albert Maysles and emerging media artist/college professor Evan Meaney, a 2007 IC graduate.
Plus: I enjoy collaborating with my fellow interns and working together towards a much better future.
Ithaca and the greater Central New York region are lucky to have a plethora of artists, activists, and hard working people contributing FLEFF. Without these people, FLEFF would have a decidedly weaker foundation. And, my college experience would be much less fulfilling.
Along with fellow interns, I have already helped with FLEFF’s ad campaign. On February 6, 2011, also known as Super Bowl Sunday, we held our first event. We managed to sell out a screening of Gimme Shelter. Mr. Maysles, one of the directors of the film, was on hand to answer any questions the audience had about his 41-year-old classic. Hopefully, this strong start will carry over into FLEFF week.
It only takes one person to go to a festival and come away with a variety of new ideas, opinions, and stories to share.
So why not come out to Ithaca, New York in April and experience FLEEF, a different environment for yourself?
Just be sure to dress warmly.