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The Finger Lakes Environmental Film Festival from the interns' point of view
Monday, March 26, 2012
FLEFF Week 2012 has begun! Conversations about the microtopias installation have been bustling all over campus and the artists have made their way into Ithaca. As a matter of fact, I am in the Park auditorium right now at Art Jones' master class about remixing, new media, and the arts of collaboration.
A generous introduction by Patty Zimmerman starts the workshop about how Art Jones has found his niche in the artistic world and addresses the way his inventive style defined a new, live VJ remix aesthetic. Following this opening, we got a little more into the details about what he does and how he does it.
After commenting on how remixing was popularized by modern culture and the MTV network, he elaborated upon its use – a personal use – as an individualized methodology. Art Jones’ artistry germinated with the creation of experimental films and documentaries about hip-hop and he developed a passion to translate these strategies to another art form - music.
"But why go live?" Zimmerman asks. "What's wrong with media that is fixed and is start to finish?"
"Absolutely nothing!" Jones chuckles. "Except when I started doing it, I was just a few years out of film school…but became so inspired by music that could engage audiences. I waned to remove the boundary between so-called high culture [galleries, museums] and low culture. I grew up in the Bronx where hip-hop was assembled. Hip-hop was on the low end. It would be better to find a way to organically integrate things that inspired me like hip-hop and generally electronic music."
One of the most striking things that came up during this conversation was his perspective that there was a sense of chaos that can cohere with moments. In response, Art Jones adopted a music model rather than a cinema model. If we think about music, whether it’s hip-hop, a rock band or fantastic pianists, the ephemerality of a still image is enhanced by the power of a continuous audio track through digital mixing and music processing.
If you missed the opportunity to attend his class today, make sure you check out his digital and remixing mastery at The Concert for Microtopias tomorrow night at 8:15 PM in Hackett Recital Hall! And as for a sneak preview of what to expect? "A generative art process in sense of the imagery [and] organic, biological structure that can grow the microtopia...It's going to be challenging and totally new!"
And for more current updates, make sure you follow FLEFF_IC on Twitter!
Saturday, March 24, 2012
Geronymo is the pianist for this concert, which is embracing this year’s theme in a unique and exciting way. The repertoire greatly contrasts. The musicians are using the pieces to try to portray images of various utopias, all contrasting and connecting at the same time.
“I hope the audience will enjoy. It will be a trip through different worlds of music,” said Geronymo.
Geronymo has been playing the piano his entire life. Geronymo, originally from Brazil, said his mother’s family was very poor.
“So when people ask me how did I choose piano, I say I didn’t have a choice!”
However, after playing for nine years, he realized piano was an art he really enjoyed. He went to the United States to go to college and get his masters degree. After living in Seattle, he came to Ithaca College to teach for four years. Now Geronymo has been living in Berlin for four years. Yet, throughout his time at IC and in Berlin, he has been an engaged participant and performer in FLEFF—a festival he is intrigued with because of the mixture of having a multimedia experience on so many levels, with the music, the beautiful poems, the singers and of course with the images through film.
“It’s about the collaboration and creation of these works,” Geronymo said. “I think many times people think classical music can be elitist. I dare everybody who thinks that way to come to our concert because it will certainly be something very different, not what you expect.”
And that’s something he believes college students should embrace to get the full college experience—the different, the unexpected.
“People can just go to Ithaca College and go to classes and do nothing. But the college has so much more to offer. It’s a question of personal; it’s a personal choice. People can come here and do nothing or they can take part in something—like FLEFF. It’s a really unique experience to really open up your minds.”
So open your mind, and your ears, at the Concert for Microtopias. Click the link for more information!
Saturday, March 3, 2012
Blog posting written by Chloe Wilson, Television-Radio ’14, FLEFF Intern, Ashland, Massachusetts.
1. It’s interdisciplinary. FLEFF brings people of all mediums together. You can be an Environmental Studies major learning about new media, an electronic musician watching a silent film, or an aspiring novelist immersing him/herself in The Concert For Microtopias, Every FLEFF attendee brings something to the table.
2. It’s inter-generational. Whether you’re a student, a media professional, or an Ithaca resident, FLEFF has something for all ages. The welcoming environment and endless opportunities for FLEFFers to mingle leads to inter-generational conversation. Who knows what you’ll learn from another FLEFFer?
3. It’s intellectual. This is one of the many goals that FLEFF accomplishes each year. FLEFF inspires attendees to learn from media and its creators, as well as from other attendees. Everyone has a story and lesson to share, and FLEFF celebrates that by providing countless opportunities for FLEFFers to do so.
4. It’s a great opportunity for professionals and students. For students, there is no better professional opportunity. You learn directly from industry professionals about working with all forms of media. Students learn about media (as well as film festival protocol) through their experiences with the festival. And for professionals? They get to show and talk about their work to an incredibly eager audience! What could be better?
5. It is not static. FLEFF is always changing. While some professionals come back and give presentations year after year (like Robby Aceto), FLEFF always brings something new to the table. This is why FLEFF has themes: to allow each festival to explore new technologies and ideas, and this is what makes FLEFF so stellar.
It was hard to narrow the list down to five, but what do you think, FLEFFers? What do you think makes FLEFF unique?
Wednesday, February 22, 2012
Blog posting written by Isabel Galupo, Cinema and Photography '14, FLEFF Intern, Towson, MD
I am currently sitting in the Igor room of Ithaca College's Whalen School of Music with about 40 other FLEFF interns. We are listening to Dr. Brad Hougham, Assistant Professor of Performance Studies (Voice), and Dr. Debbie Martin, Associate Professor and Associate Chair of Performance Studies (Piano), present about "The Concert for Microtopias," which will be held on Tuesday, March 27.
"The Concert for Microtopias" will feature performances by both Dr. Hougham and Dr. Martin, as well as outside musicians such as pianist Jairo Geronymo, and Art Jones, a VJ from New York City.
Dr. Hougham's enthusiasm for FLEFF is extremely tangible from the get-go as he proclaims that FLEFF is his favorite event to participate in each school year.
He expresses the importance of FLEFF as a space of freedom for artists to pursue the pieces that they want to pursue. He touches on the interdisciplinary nature of FLEFF, expressing appreciation at how the festival forces him out of Whalen and gives him the opportunity to collaborate and brainstorm with professionals in other disciplines.
Dr. Martin explains that FLEFF allows both performers and audience members to feel feelings at the most extreme and raw levels. In order to demonstrate how crucial these raw feelings are, Dr. Martin asked us to stand up and clap out a rhythm as she played the piano in tandem.
We felt, in Dr. Martin words, "some of the fun of the music."
Both musicians share with us some pieces that they are planning on performing at the concert. They discuss the ways in which these pieces will interact with and contradict each other, creating musical conflicts leading to intellectual experiences and insights.
Often, Dr. Hougham and Dr. Martin stand back and let the music speak for itself.
Though I can often be seen walking around campus sporting ipod headphones, I do not consider myself a musical person by any means. Thus, I was excited to come to this presentation and really learn something about an unfamiliar field.
I thought that I would walk away with some tangible nugget of information about the ways in which music lends itself to film festivals. I expected to walk away with a handful of great soundbites from Dr. Hougham and Dr. Martin that succinctly explained the role of musical expression in FLEFF.
Instead, Dr. Hougham and Dr. Martin challenged us to engage with the music on our own. We were left to digest the collision of tones, rhythms, and melodies ourselves, through our own lenses, just as FLEFF audiences will be expected to do.
The result, for me at least, was a more visceral understanding of how two extremely different ideas can collide and create a completely new, third idea.
And this collision and creation of ideas is what exists at the very core of FLEFF!
Are you all as excited as I am to attend "The Concert for Microtopias" and hear the sound of ideas being created during FLEFF Week 2012?
Wednesday, February 22, 2012
Television-Radio, Scriptwriting '12
It's an interesting experiment when you take a bunch of students unfamiliar with the music school, and have them try to find a room hidden in the corner. Although many of us FLEFF interns are out our element tonight here in Whalen, we're all here for a common purpose: A behind the scenes look into "The Concert for Microtopias"
I can't express how excited I am for FLEFF week.
Not only will the concert in Hockett Hall at Ithaca College the Tuesday (March 27th) of FLEFF be an amazing spectacle, but it will be an awe-inspiring event where great minds and performers have come together to combine many works of art from music to acting to on the fly image processing.
It's "The Concert for Microtopias", a concert thinking in ways of bringing people together over something joyful.
Dr. Zimmerman told the interns that many of the people involved with the performance are those "who push the envelope and go intellectually and emotionally farther than they have ever gone before."
I can't wait to see how all these elements come together.
Wednesday, February 22, 2012
Blog posting written by Andrew Ronald, Film, Photography & Visual Arts '15, FLEFF Intern, Mahopac, New York
"There are so many brilliant people on this campus. They are extraordinary musicians, fantastic friends, wonderful colleagues, and what I've learned from them is to have the guts to push the envelope and go artistically and emotionally where you never thought you would go."
7:12 PM - Musical decisions are announced! In order to promote the interdisciplinary culture behind FLEFF, synthesis of spiritual, ethnic and emotional music is declared.
7:14 PM - The audience rises! Clapping in rhythm, we get to preview the piano accompaniment, filling the room with energy and joy.
7:15 PM - Technical problems! Luckily us interns are technological people and know what to do!
7:19 PM - Beautiful opera music fills the room, lulling us into a daze as we hear Ice Habe Genug, meaning "I've had enough," addressing the state of human morality. As to why the selection was picked, Dr. Hougham comments: "I picked it because it's a piece that I love, love, love and wanted to sing." He continued to declare that it's heart-wrenching and I couldn't agree more.
7:25 PM - Dr. Martin blissfully plays gorgeous harmonies on the piano with a smile on her face. And yes, she's about as sweet and humble as her joyful music.
7:30 PM - Dr. Hougham just said the word "microtopia." All the interns just got so happy on the inside. I could tell.
7:33 PM - "You'll hear a lot of harp, you'll hear strings and there's woodwinds, but there's some really nice places for the harp," Dr. Martin says. Live blogging does not give justice to the fantastic music we are listening to right now.
7:35 PM - "Children wade, in the water. God's gonna trouble the water." The familiar tune to Wade In the Water ripples throughout the room, and even after hearing three different versions, the message still remains the same. Dr. Hougham struggles internally, however, by questioning "What business do I have singing this music? However, one of the things that occurred to me about microtopias is that they exist all over the campus." Upon hearing that an African American student said, "Honey, I sing gospel music, I gotta help that guy," the theme of microtopias becomes definitive. Students teaching teachers and teachers teaching students. Either way, it's a microtopia.
7:45 PM - Anytime by William Finn comes on. I've never heard it before, but trust me, it's good. What a voice.
7:49 PM - "When I go to a movie, I listen to the music. I notice if it's bad." As a film student, I'm loving this right now.
7:52 PM - "Personally I feel like FLEFF has opened my own creative parameters. This is Ithaca. It's a really tremendous place to try new things." I couldn't agree more, Dr. Hougham. I couldn't agree more...
7:54 PM - "When you try and describe music and creative art to someone, you never have enough ways because you never know what message will get through." Dr. Martin compares music to art, dance, and literature, and truly understands the fusion music plays in everyday life.
8:00 PM - "Why is it important to perform in a packed theater, and what does it mean to musicians? What does it feel like? Why does it matter?' Dr. Zimmerman makes the audience ponder the meaning of community and how often we can forget that the performer is actually aware of us. It reminds me a lot about the same question I asked myself when I wrote this blog post. We all come to the conclusion that the audience is really not that removed from the performance in the concert hall. It's more than mere entertainment. It's alive. It makes you feel different. After all, it's FLEFF: A Different Environment.